Composer and pianist Courtney Bryan, Ph.D., has been awarded a fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. She was awarded the esteemed Rome Prize for music composition in April. Bryan teaches in the School of Liberal Arts’ Newcomb Department of Music at Tulane University in New Orleans. She recently completed a two-year residency with the Jacksonville Symphony in Florida, where she was the Mary Carr Patton Composer in Residence. Her work incorporates jazz, experimental music, gospel, classical, and R&B to bridge “the line between the sacred and the secular,” she said.
Bryan explores historical themes and political issues in her art.
While in Rome, she will be working on an opera, musicals, and a special melodrama titled “Caracalla: Inner Monologue of an Emperor”. Out of 982 applications nationwide, independent juries selected 30 American and six Italian artists and scholars–including Bryan– as this year’s winners, each of which receives a stipend, workspace, and room and board on the Academy’s campus in Rome. Last year, she won the 2018 Herb Alpert award which is given annually to five risk-taking mid-career artists.
According to Tulane University, one judge of the Herb Alpert award wrote, “We value your breadth, the ways you gather and create communities, and your creation of a new kind of cosmopolitan classical music imbued with fierce urgency of the moment and a real story to tell. We appreciate your concern for and commitment to spirit, social justice, and shifting power dynamics and we celebrate your profound connection to the human voice. We perceive that you are on a powerful journey and as listeners, we’re lucky enough to be on it with you.”
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