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Music and Musical Composition at the American Academy in Rome

Music and Musical Composition at the American Academy in Rome

Edited by Martin Brody
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 380
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  • Book Info
    Music and Musical Composition at the American Academy in Rome
    Book Description:

    The American Academy in Rome launched its Rome Prize in Musical Composition in 1921, a time in the United States of rapidly changing ideas about national identity, musical values, and the significance of international artistic exchange. Music and Musical Composition at the American Academy in Rome tells the story of this prestigious fellowship. Combining cultural analysis with historical and personal accounts of a century of musical life at the American Academy in Rome, the book offers new perspectives on a wide range of critical topics: patronage and urban culture, institutions and professional networks, musical aesthetics, American cultural diplomacy, and the maturation of a concert music repertory in the United States during the twentieth century. Contributors: Martin Brody, Elliott Carter, John Harbison, Christina Huemer, Carol Oja, Andrew Olmstead, Vivian Perlis, Judith Tick, Richard Trythall Martin Brody is the Catherine Mills Davis Professor of Music at Wellesley College, and served as the Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome from 2007 to 2010.

    eISBN: 978-1-58046-866-4
    Subjects: Music, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)
    Martin Brody

    The United States came late to the game. The French founded a national academy in Rome 110 years before the American Revolution; it took as many years again for the United States to produce a counterpart. Long thereafter, the Americans tended to look over their shoulders at the Académie de France à Rome, if from the high ground of the Janiculum. The French Académie set the stage and established a formidable paradigm for all the ensuing foreign academies that would appear in the Eternal City. The elements were clear: aspiring artists, strong patrons, consecrated antiquities, breathtaking real estate, national glory,...

  5. Part One: A History of the Rome Prize

    • Chapter One The Rome Prize from Leo Sowerby to David Diamond
      (pp. 13-41)
      Andrea Olmstead

      Fascination with Americans living in post–World War I Europe remains tremendous. Much has been written about American expatriate musicians in Paris: Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson, Roy Harris, and others studied privately with Nadia Boulanger. Less appears in print about the European experience of equally important composers, such as Howard Hanson, Randall Thompson, Roger Sessions, and Samuel Barber, who won the Rome Prize during the interwar period.¹ There, too, an important composition teacher, Ottorino Respighi, influenced Americans. These composers were being assimilated into the European experience while paradoxically creating an American musical identity.

      Rome Prize winners have been competitively selected...

    • Chapter Two A History of the Rome Prize in Music Composition, 1947–2006
      (pp. 42-124)
      Richard Trythall

      I have been closely associated with the American Academy in Rome since I arrived there in September 1964 as that year’s Rome Prize Fellow in Music Composition. Following a three-year fellowship, I remained in Rome as a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and, after winning the 1969Kranichsteiner Musikpreisin piano, I settled in Rome as a freelance composer-pianist. In the fall of 1970 I was composer-in-residence at the Academy and began assisting with the Academy’s music program on a regular basis. I have continued to do so—first as an adviser to the composers-in-residence and subsequently as the music...

  6. Part Two: Origins, Ideology, Patronage

    • Chapter Three The Classicist Origins of the Rome Prize in Musical Composition, 1890–1920
      (pp. 127-158)
      Judith Tick

      In 1893 the music critic William Apthorp titled a long essay on “Two Modern Classicists in Music,” explicitly inviting readers of theAtlantic Monthlyto contemplate the challenge in his title—what he wished to mean and not mean by the word “classicist”:

      That which we call a word is but the shadow of our thought; it may mean this to us, but that to another … how many different meanings in as many minds has not this one word “classicism”!Classic, classicism, classicist,have grown to be very vague terms. To those who look for the meaning of a...

    • Chapter Four “Picked Young Men,” Facilitating Women, and Emerging Composers: Establishing an American Prix de Rome
      (pp. 159-192)
      Carol J. Oja

      In 1921, the American Academy in Rome (AAR), which had been established amidst the affluence and philanthropy of the Gilded Age, entered the postwar era when it initiated a long-desired fellowship program for composers. The product of a major internationalizing impulse in the United States after World War I, the composer fellowships appeared in a very different moment from that when AAR had been conceived. The notion of the “Europeanized American” gave way to that of a transnationally recognized artist who frequently—even proudly—asserted an American identity through composition. This postwar period brought its own version of affluence, albeit...

  7. Part Three: Two Case Studies in Internationalism

    • Chapter Five Forging an International Alliance: Leo Sowerby, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, and the Impact of a Rome Prize
      (pp. 195-221)
      Carol J. Oja

      Educated in Chicago, the composer Leo Sowerby became the first composer fellow at the American Academy in Rome in 1921 at the age of twenty-six. His solid supporter as he traveled from the shores of Lake Michigan to the Janiculum Hill was the Chicago patron Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. Zooming in on the professional relationship of this composer and patron reveals much about the networks of financial assistance, aesthetic affinity, and geographic origin that launched the music program at AAR, offering details about how that support affected one particular artistic career. Sowerby’s story dominates, but Coolidge repeatedly enters the narrative, initially...

    • Chapter Six Class of ’54: Friendship and Ideology at the American Academy in Rome
      (pp. 222-254)
      Martin Brody

      The story of music composition at the American Academy in Rome might be told as a series ofBildungsromanewith each Rome Prize winner taking a turn as protagonist. This, in effect, was the method prescribed by the elders. The narrative was already intact when William Rutherford Mead, second president of the Academy, announced the new prize for composers. His statement was covered by theNew York Timeson July 9, 1921, two weeks to the day after theTimeshad reported on the opening ceremonies of a new “French-American” music school at Fontainebleau. Mead drew a sharp distinction: “The...

  8. Part Four: Primary Sources

    • Chapter Seven What They Said: American Composers on Rome
      (pp. 257-266)
      Vivian Perlis

      I arrived at the American Academy in Rome for a stay of several weeks during the summer of 2003. The city was in the midst of an extreme heat wave. Romans were leaving early for the customary August vacations at the seashore or mountains, while those who reluctantly stayed in Rome tended to move and speak as if in slow motion. At the Academy, fans and ice were the most valued possessions, and both were in short supply. Residents gradually replaced professional attire with shorts and T-shirts that became barer and shorter as the heat wave continued. Meals were taken...

    • Chapter Eight The New Music Scene in Rome and the American Presence since World War II: Excerpts from a Roundtable, Moderated by Richard Trythall
      (pp. 267-275)

      For those of us who were students then, the postwar years meant a rediscovery of freedom, the departure of a regime that had kept cultural frontiers closed for a long time. The censorship had been severe: no poetry, no music from abroad. In 1950 we were still students, although we were pretty advanced, and we craved to know what was going on in Europe and America. To this end, a group of young composers studying at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory, myself included, decided to do something to create systematic opportunites to increase our awareness, beyond what our individual contacts would...

    • Chapter Nine For the Academy
      (pp. 276-278)
      Elliott Carter

      Great gratitude to the American Academy—without its generosity I would not have been able to complete many of my larger compositions, and without it I could not have grown to know so much of Italy and made so many Italian friends.

      Over the years I was also able to visit a vast number of important sites so meaningful to me: Greece, Crete, Sicily—Siracusa, Agrigento, Segesta, Florence, Siena, Perugia, and many others.

      In 1953 my wife, young son, and I arrived in Italy on a steamship bringing us from New York to Naples. I myself had come to Rome...

    • Chapter Ten Two Visits in 1981
      (pp. 279-284)
      John Harbison

      In the spring of 1981 I served as resident in music at the American Academy in Rome. As with so many others who have been fortunate enough to spend some time there, the experience was indelible. As the following brief reminiscences suggest, the association with the Academy opened some doors, and made possible some connections otherwise unlikely. But the thing that is most difficult to convey is the impact of the city. Once it is absorbed, even superficially, it never departs. For generations American scholars and artists have walked down the Gianicolo from the Academy, found themselves in places unlike...

    • Chapter Eleven Music Resources at the American Academy in Rome
      (pp. 285-288)
      Christina Huemer

      Several articles in this volume have shed light on the early history of the music program at the Academy. How much of that history is documented at the Academy itself? What can a new fellow in musical composition learn about the work of his illustrious predecessors? How can we ensure that his or her own work here is preserved for the future? As librarian, I have taken a special interest in our music resources since my arrival. These are a well-kept secret, unfortunately: we have some treasures, but on the whole I would characterize our resources as incomplete, dispersed, not...

  9. Appendix: Composers at the American Academy in Rome, 1921–40
    (pp. 289-300)
  10. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 301-306)
  11. List of Contributors
    (pp. 307-310)
  12. Index
    (pp. 311-339)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 340-340)