The American Academy in Rome was founded in 1894 by Charles Follen McKim (architect of the Boston Public Library) and other artists, most with Boston connections. An initial focus on allowing American artists to conduct research and share ideas amid the cultural wonders of Rome expanded to include other disciplines, including Musical Composition, in which two annual Rome Prizes are currently awarded. Rome Prizes are awarded for periods of from six months to two years. The Academy also invites visiting artists for residencies of two to four months.
Rome Prize winners with NEC affiliations
Except where noted, the Rome Prize was awarded in musical composition.
Lei Liang '96, '98 M.M.
In addition to his degrees from NEC, Liang holds a doctorate from Harvard and currently teaches at University of California, San Diego. He plans to work on a sextet and chamber concerto.
Don Byron '84
Byron plans to work on a chamber opera based on the novel and film Gentleman's Agreement. The April 16, 2009 announcement of Byron as recipient of the Samuel Barber Rome Prize for 2009/2010 came days before the news that he was one of the finalists for the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in music.
Jefferson Friedman '92 Prep
Friedman used his Rome residency to work on his String Quartet No. 3. His String Quartet No. 2 is published in G. Schirmer's "New American Voices" series and has been recorded by the Corigliano Quartet for Naxos. A "Composer Portrait" concert of Friedman's work took place in 2009 at New York's Miller Theatre.
David Sanford '89 M.M.
Pittsburgh native David Sanford opened the 2008/2009 season of his home town's River City Brass Band with the world premiere of Monongahela 1971, which was commissioned to celebrate the city's 250th birthday.
John Curtis Franklin '88
(FAAR '02, classical studies and archaeology)
With a Ph.D. in Classics from University College London, Franklin is continuing to pursue publishable research from his dissertation topic, Terpander: The Invention of Music in the Orientalizing Period, and has a book contract with Oxford. During his Rome fellowship, he made a documentary film about Romanian and Romanian gypsy migrant street musicians in Rome.
Wendy Heller '78, '86 M.M.
(FAAR '01, post-classical humanistic/modern Italian studies)
Heller, who completed degrees in voice and musicology at NEC, used her Rome fellowship to continue her research on representation of the ancient world in Italian opera of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Her book Emblems of Eloquence: Opera and Women's Voices in Seventeenth Century Venice (University of California) was published in 2003.
Andrew Rindfleisch '90 M.M.
Rindfleisch is head of composition studies at Cleveland State University, where he is also music director of the Cleveland Contemporary Players. While still in Boston, he founded Phantom Arts new music ensemble.
Donald Berman '88 M.M.
Berman Visiting Artist Fellowship led to performances of out-of-print and forgotten works by important American composers, including a series of concerts at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall in 2002, and the 2008 release of a 4-CD set documenting these concerts. The project encompasses American legends like Samuel Barber and Elliott Carter, and both composers and performers from the NEC family.
David Rakowski '80
Rakowski is Walter W. Naumburg Professor of Composition at Brandeis, where he has taught since 1995. His works have twice been finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Music.
Lee Hyla '75
Hyla taught at New England Conservatory from 1992 through 2007, and was cochair or chair of the composition department for most of that time. Since fall 2007 he has been the Harry N. and Ruth F. Wyatt Chair of Music Composition at Northwestern University.
Thomas Oboe Lee '74 M.M.
Lee is on the music faculty at Boston College. Watch a video of Pilobolus dancers performing Symbiosis, choreographed to music that includes Lee's Morango … Almost a Tango.
Larry Thomas Bell
Bell chairs the theory department at NEC's Preparatory School. Watch a video of organist Richard Bunbury '80 M.M. performing the Toccata from Bell's Liturgical Suite.
Todd Brief '76
Pianist Christopher O'Riley '81 A.D. has recorded Brief's Nightsong.
Billy Jim Layton '48
In 1966 Layton (1924–2004) became the first chairman of the music department at State University of New York at Stony Brook, and is credited with having established a program that is "small but vital" (New York Times). A jazz saxophonist and clarinetist before WWII, Layton entered the classical composition field starting with his NEC studies after the war.
FAAR: Fellow, American Academy in Rome
RAAR: Resident, American Academy in Rome
VAF: Visiting Artist Fellowship