Grazie Mille Martin Brody!

Grazie Mille Martin Brody!
Martin Brody (photograph by Nick Barberio)
Grazie Mille Martin Brody!
Photograph: Jason Moralee Russell Maret, Lisa Bielawa and Martin Brody in the Chiaraviglio gardenn

Lisa Bielawa is the 2010 Frederic A. Juilliard/Walter Damrosch Rome Prize winner and the author of this tribute celebrating Martin Brody’s contributions to the American Academy in Rome:

It is a special honor to write a few words about Martin Brody, who finishes his tenure this month as the American Academy in Rome’s Andrew Heiskell Arts Director to return to his role as composer, scholar and educator at Wellesley College. Here at the Academy Marty’s absence is keenly felt, since he was integral to every aspect of Academy life. His idealism about the synergy between art-making, scholarship and community was evident in everything he accomplished here: in the eclectic and imaginative conferences he organized in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute (“Performing Voices: Between Embodiment and Mediation” and “Freud’s Rome, Phobia and Phantasy”); in ongoing partnerships like the one he established with the Scharoun Ensemble of Berlin, which offers Music Composition fellows performances of their work at the American Academies in both Rome and Berlin by members of the Berlin Philharmonic; in his one-on-one intellectual engagement with the Fellows, revealing both deep humanity and brilliant polymathy; in his vocal appreciation for the talents and hard work of the programming staff; in the social gatherings he hosted on the Chiaraviglio lawn, joyfully opening up the AAR community to include a wider family of Americans living in Rome.

This synergy in Marty’s thinking was perhaps never more evident to this year’s Fellows than in his own presentation to the Fellows. The way he candidly explored not only his own compositional process but also the polemical shifts he has experienced during different stages of his creative life stimulated a new level of searching discussion among the Fellows – artists and scholars alike – for weeks thereafter. The music itself spoke just as clearly, encouraging listeners to reach across disciplines to describe what they felt and heard. His vision of the Academy is of a place where individuals working at the highest level, in disparate disciplines, offer active support to each other in the vulnerable, uncertain terrain opened up by truly ambitious thinking. His presence at the Academy exhorted us to share this vision. In the words of Yotam Haber, FAAR'08, “Marty's inexhaustible enthusiasm and curiosity opened our minds to new places, experiences, and fresh ideas that I will never forget. His is a deeply humane, extraordinarily thoughtful, generous soul, and he helped make my time at the Academy so much more fulfilling.”

Thank you, Marty! May we all carry your vision of the Academy community with us into our lives beyond Rome.


Credit: Nick Barberio

Russell Maret, Lisa Bielawa and Martin Brody in the Chiaraviglio garden. Credit: Jason Moralee

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