In fall 2019, professor Courtney Bryan will begin a year-long fellowship at the American Academy in Rome. Bryan, a composer and pianist who teaches in the School of Liberal Arts’ Newcomb Department of Music, was awarded the esteemed Rome Prize for music composition in April.
Bryan has traveled extensively in the U.S. for her work, but sees this particular opportunity as a way to branch out. “I’m excited about all of the unknown and all of the people I’ll meet, and what that will inspire for me creatively,” Bryan said. While she will be spending a large amount of time on the American Academy’s campus in Rome, Bryan also looks forward to exploring the city’s jazz clubs and contemporary music scene, meeting and perhaps performing with local musicians.
This fellowship at the American Academy in Rome follows Bryan’s two-year residency with the Jacksonville Symphony in Florida. A 2018 Herb Alpert award recipient, Bryan will be working on a number of projects during her fellowship in Rome including an opera and musical, as well as a special project titled Caracalla: Inner Monologue of an Emperor, a melodrama. Similar to her work in Jacksonville, her new Caracalla project will respond to the city itself and it is currently taking shape as a composition for a solo male voice accompanied by a string quartet. The new drama is focused on the life of Caracalla, a Roman emperor that was in power from 198 to 217 AD and known for his ruthlessness. While Bryan’s recent works have focused on police brutality, this new work will explore state violence from the perspective of the ruler, imagining the inner mind of Caracalla as well as the lasting contributions he made to the city, such as the Baths of Caracalla.
The Rome Prize recognizes outstanding practitioners and scholars in eleven disciplines including literature, music composition, visual arts, architecture, landscape architecture, design, historic preservation and conservation, ancient studies, medieval studies, Renaissance and early modern studies, and modern Italian studies. Out of 982 applications nationwide, independent juries of distinguished artists and scholars selected thirty American and six Italian artists and scholars as this year’s winners, each of which receive a stipend, workspace, and room and board for a period of five to eleven months on the Academy’s campus in Rome.