Courtney Bryan Wins a MacArthur Fellowship

Color photograph of a dark skinned woman standing in front of a brick chapel; she wears a black dress, crosses her arms, and smiles at the camera
Courtney Bryan, our 2020 Samuel Barber Rome Prize Fellow (photograph provided by the MacArthur Foundation)

Please join us in congratulating the pianist, composer, and 2020 Rome Prize Fellow Courtney Bryan, who has just won a 2023 fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. She is one of twenty people this year who was awarded the $800,000 prize, widely known as the “genius grant.”

As the 2020 Samuel Barber Rome Prize Fellow in musical composition, Bryan was in residence at the Academy in 2019–20, part of the class whose time was curtailed by the pandemic. She returned to Rome this fall to complete her fellowship.

Bryan’s work draws from and transcends established genres such as classical, jazz, and sacred music while raising the experiences and traditions of Black Americans. As the MacArthur Foundation noted, “Many of Bryan’s compositions reverberate with pressing social and political issues of our time.” Performed by solo musicians, chamber music ensembles, and orchestras, Bryan’s work has been heard in Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center as well as the Ojai Music Festival and New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Bryan told the New York Times that she will use part of her award to help New Orleans musicians: “I’m thinking about what to build that is a creative hub and that will give more opportunities for artists to take risks and be paid for it, too.”

Bryan has earned multiple degrees in music: a BM from Oberlin Conservatory in 2004, an MM at Rutgers University in 2007, and an MA (2009) and DMA (2014), both from Columbia University. Currently she is the Albert and Linda Mintz Professor of Music at Tulane University and composer in residence at Opera Philadelphia.

Watch the Video

The music in the above video is Courtney Bryan’s “Eternal Rest” from the album This Little Light of Mine (2010).

Press inquiries

Andrew Mitchell

Director of Communications

212-751-7200, ext. 342

a.mitchell [at] (a[dot]mitchell[at]aarome[dot]org)

Maddalena Bonicelli

Rome Press Officer

+39 335 6857707

m.bonicelli.ext [at] (m[dot]bonicelli[dot]ext[at]aarome[dot]org)