Twenty-four people working in fields ranging from music to computer science have been selected as MacArthur fellows and will receive so-called "genius" grants of $625,000 to spend any way they wish.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced the fellows Wednesday.
The Chicago-based foundation has awarded the fellowships annually since 1981 to people who show "exceptional creativity in their work and the prospect for still more in the future." There is no application process, and those selected learn they've been chosen shortly before the awards are announced.
Opera director and producer Yuval Sharon says being chosen is an enormous shock and honor. The 37-year-old produces operas in nontraditional spaces and formats. One production transported audience members and performers to locations around Los Angeles.