The American Academy in Rome has announced that Lisa Bielawa and Don Byron are recipients of the 2009 Rome Prize in Musical Composition. Bielawa and Byron will travel to Rome in September for yearlong fellowships, where they will join 27 other artists and scholars, all selected through a national competition. While in Rome, Byron will compose a chamber opera based on the novel and film Gentleman’s Agreement. Bielawa, whose music is often inspired by literary sources and close artistic collaborations, will compose an extended work for the Brooklyn Rider string quartet with herself as vocalist; the work’s modular structure will allow it to be performed at different lengths and in different venues and contexts. Byron, a jazz clarinetist and saxophonist who composes music in a wide variety of styles, is Visiting Associate Professor, Department of Music, University at Albany, State University of New York. Bielawa, who holds a B.A. in Literature from Yale University, co-founded the MATA Festival in Brooklyn, New York and has served as composer-in-residence of the Boston Modern Orchestra Project for the past three years. Established in 1894, the American Academy in Rome sustains independent artistic pursuits and humanistic studies; prizes are awarded annually in Ancient Studies, Architecture, Design, Historic Preservation and Conservation, Landscape Architecture, Literature, Medieval Studies, Musical Composition, Renaissance and Early Modern Studies, and Visual Arts. 

Posted April 17, 2009