12-awards.jpg

Yuri Yunakov, a Bulgarian saxophonist from Bloomfield, New Jersey, accepts his 2011 NEA National Heritage Fellowship award from Rep. Bill Pascrell.

Yuri Yunakov, a Bulgarian saxophonist from Bloomfield, New Jersey, accepts his 2011 NEA National Heritage Fellowship award from Rep. Bill Pascrell. At the ceremony, Rocco Landesman said, "A master of a complex and energetic musical style associated with Bulgarian weddings and family celebrations, Yuri Yunakov is a Roma performer who in his youth learned to play on a shepherds' flute and eventually became famous throughout the Balkan region as the most renowned player of the saxophone. Yunakov is a musical innovator, who continues to play for immigrant communities in the New York-New Jersey region." Photo by Tom Pich