March 3, 2009

Doctoral Student Carolyn O'Brien Receives Charles Ives Scholarship from American Academy of Arts and Letters

EVANSTON—The American Academy of Arts and Letters today announced sixteen recipients of this year’s awards in music, which total $170,000.  Carolyn O’Brien, a doctoral student in composition, has been named a winner of the $5,000 Charles Ives Scholarship, given to composition students of great promise.  The award will be presented at the Academy's annual ceremony in May.  O’Brien is a student of Lee Hyla, Harry and Ruth Wyatt Professor of Theory and Composition.

Candidates for the music awards are nominated by the 250 members of the Academy.  The winners were selected by a committee of Academy members, including Robert Beaser (chairman), Martin Bresnick, John Corigliano, Mario Davidovsky, and Shulamit Ran.O’Brien.

O’Brien earned a Master of Arts degree in composition from the University of California at Davis and a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Pittsburg State University, Kansas.  Her music has been performed by Bent Frequency, Empyrean Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble, Left Coast Ensemble, New York New Music Ensemble, and Trio Phonos, directed by Harry Sparnaay.  She was a Fellow at the 2007 Wellesley Composers Conference, was awarded Second Prize in the SCI/ASCAP Student Composition Competition, and received the Libby Larsen Prize, given by the International Alliance for Women in Music.   She also received a commission and position as composer in residence at the San Francisco Community Music Center through the American Composers Forum for the 21st Century Music for The People project.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 to "foster, assist, and sustain an interest in literature, music, and the fine arts."  Each year, the Academy honors over 50 composers, artists, architects, and writers with cash awards ranging from $2500 to $75,000.  Other activities of the Academy are exhibitions of art, architecture, and manuscripts; publications on the Academy's history and events; publications on the Academy’s history and readings and performances of new musicals.  The Academy is located in three landmark buildings designed by McKim, Mead & White, Cass Gilbert, and Charles Pratt Huntington on Audubon Terrace at 155th Street and Broadway.