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2019 Music Award Winners

Contact: Ardith Holmgrain

[email protected]

(212) 368-5900

New York, February 22, 2019—The American Academy of Arts and Letters announced today the sixteen recipients of this year’s awards in music, which total $195,000. The winners were selected by a committee of Academy members: Samuel Adler (chairman), Robert Beaser, Martin Bresnick, Sebastian Currier, David Rakowski, Melinda Wagner, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. The awards will be presented at the Academy’s annual Ceremonial in May. Candidates for music awards are nominated by the 250 members of the Academy

Arts and Letters Awards in Music

Four composers will receive $10,000 Arts and Letters Awards in Music, which honor outstanding artistic achievement and acknowledge composers who have arrived at their own voice. They will each receive an additional $10,000 toward the recording of one work and have their music presented in a concert at the Academy in the spring of 2020.

Walter Hinrichsen Award in Music

This award was established by the C. F. Peters Corporation, music publishers, in 1984, and is given for the publication of a work by a gifted composer.

Andrew Imbrie Award in Music

The Andrew Imbrie Award of $10,000 is given to a composer of demonstrated artistic merit in mid-career.

Charles Ives Awards in Music

Charles Ives Fellowships

Charles Ives Scholarships

Harmony Ives, the widow of Charles Ives, bequeathed to the Academy the royalties of Charles Ives’s music, which has enabled the Academy to give awards in composition since 1970. Two Charles Ives Fellowships of $15,000 each and six Charles Ives Scholarships of $7500 each will be awarded.

Goddard Lieberson Fellowships in Music

Two Goddard Lieberson Fellowships of $15,000 each, endowed in 1978 by the CBS Foundation, are given to mid-career composers of exceptional gifts.


The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 as an honor society of the country’s leading architects, artists, composers, and writers. Early members include William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Julia Ward Howe, Henry James, Edward MacDowell, Theodore Roosevelt, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, John Singer Sargent, Mark Twain, and Edith Wharton. The Academy’s 250 members are elected for life and pay no dues.

In addition to electing new members as vacancies occur, the Academy seeks to foster and sustain an interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts by administering over 70 awards and prizes, exhibiting art and manuscripts, funding performances of new works of musical theater, and purchasing artwork for donation to museums across the country.


Travis Alford (b. 1983) is a composer, trumpeter, improviser, educator, amateur woodworker, dog owner, husband, and father. He is an Assistant Professor of Music Composition and Theory at East Carolina University, where he also performs with the Faculty Brass Ensemble. He is a recipient of the American Prize (2015), the Sandra Shea Fisher Prize (2014), the League of Composers/ISCM Composers’ Prize (2012), an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award (2010), and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and the Composers Conference at Wellesley College. He holds degrees from Brandeis University (PhD), the New England Conservatory (MM), and East Carolina University (BM). Travis and his wife, Lauren, live in Clayton, NC with their son, Owen, and their dog, Toby.

Christopher Cerrone
(b. 1984) is internationally acclaimed for compositions characterized by a subtle handling of timbre and resonance, a deep literary fluency, and a flair for multimedia collaborations. Recent works include commissions for the LA Phil; a co-commission for the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, the Britt Festival, and Third Coast Percussion; a new violin concerto for Jennifer Koh and the Detroit Symphony; a Miller Theatre Composer Portrait; Will There Be Singing, for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra for Jeffrey Kahane’s final concert as LACO Music Director; and an opera, Invisible Cities, based on Italo Calvino’s novel, directed by Yuval Sharon in a production by The Industry. Christopher Cerrone is published by Schott NY and Project Schott New York, and joins the composition faculty of the Peabody Conservatory for 2019–2020.
Photo credit: Jacob Blickenstaff

Winner of the Guggenheim Fellowship and Koussevitzky Award, David Fulmer has garnered numerous international accolades for his bold compositional aesthetic combined with his thrilling performances. A surge of recent and upcoming commissions include new works for the New York Philharmonic, Ensemble Intercontemporain, Scharoun Ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, Alte Oper Frankfurt, BMI Foundation, Concert Artists Guild, Washington Performing Arts, Kennedy Center, Fromm Music Foundation, Koussevitzky Foundation, and Tanglewood. As conductor, Fulmer recently led the Ensemble Intercontemporain, NFM Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra, ASKO|Schönberg Ensemble, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Mannes American Composers Ensemble, Elision Ensemble, with appearances at the New York Philharmonic Biennial, Tanglewood Music Festival, and Lucerne Festival, while also assisting concerts and projects with the New York Philharmonic. He is a graduate of The Juilliard School.

Dr. Stacy Garrop’s music is centered on dramatic and lyrical storytelling. She has been commissioned by Kronos Quartet, Chanticleer, and the Albany, Detroit, Grant Park Music Festival, and Minnesota Orchestras. Theodore Presser Company publishes her works. She is a recording artist with Cedille Records. Her works are also commercially available on ten additional labels. Dr. Garrop is the inaugural Emerging Opera Composer for Chicago Opera Theater’s Vanguard Initiative. She is also finishing a 3-year Composer-in-Residence position with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra, funded by New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras. Dr. Garrop formerly taught composition full-time at Roosevelt University (2000–2016) before launching a freelance career. For more information:

Ryan Lindveit (b.1994) is an American composer who finds inspiration in literature, art, science, poetry, and personal experience in order to craft colorful and emotionally vivid musical journeys. He received a Bachelor of Music in Composition degree from the University of Southern California where he was named the outstanding graduate of the Thornton School of Music and salutatorian of his graduating class. Lindveit is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Composition at the Yale School of Music. Lindveit’s teachers include Aaron Jay Kernis, David Lang, Martin Bresnick, Chris Theofanidis, Andrew Norman, Ted Hearne, Frank Ticheli, and Donald Crockett. His works have been commissioned or performed by the New York Youth Symphony, the United States Marine Band, and the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, among many others, and have received recognition from BMI and ASCAP.

Wynton Marsalis, a New Orleans native, is an internationally acclaimed musician, composer, bandleader, educator and a leading advocate of American culture. He has recorded more than 80 jazz and classical recordings, which have won him nine GRAMMY® awards and sold over 7 million copies worldwide. Marsalis made history in 1997, when he became the first jazz musician ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for his oratorio Blood on the Fields. His lifetime commitment to inspiring and uplifting people though artistic excellence in jazz has had an unparalleled impact both in the United States and around the world. Wynton Marsalis serves as the Managing and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Director of Jazz Studies at The Juilliard School in New York City.
Photo credit: Joe Martinez for Jazz at Lincoln Center

Born in Chitose, Japan, Sato Matsui is a New York-based composer and collaborator whose musical language draws influence from traditional Japanese sonorities as well as her training as a classical violinist. Her current projects include a commission from flutist Carol Wincenc for her 50th Anniversary Commissioning Project, a concerto for flutist Stephanie Kwak, and a scoring of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, which will be produced by director Ian Belknap at the McClelland Drama Theater in May. Matsui is a C.V. Starr Doctoral Fellow at The Juilliard School, where she also earned her master’s degree while studying with Robert Beaser. She received her BA from Williams College, where she studied composition with Ileana Perez-Velazquez, violin with Joana Genova, and conducting with Ronald Feldman.

Paul Mortilla
seeks to write engaging music that challenges many of the norms of new music. This is achieved through juxtaposing many different styles as a sort of collage. Paul draws influence from many genres within and outside classical music, from church music to electronic dance music. Paul began composition at the Frost School of Music in Miami, and went on to do a Bachelors of Music at Indiana University. He is currently a graduate student at Yale. Paul received a BMI student composer award in 2016. In 2017, Paul attended Tanglewood Music Festival as a composition fellow. Paul has composed orchestral works, opera, chamber music and electronic music. Paul has also served as a librettist and visual artist for multimedia collaborations.

Reinaldo Moya is Composer-in-Residence at the Schubert Club. He was awarded the McKnight Composers Fellowship, Meet the Composers’s Van Lier Fellowship, and the Aaron Copland Award from Copland House. He earned Masters and Doctorate degrees from The Juilliard School, studying with Samuel Adler and Robert Beaser. His opera, Memory Boy, was commissioned by the Minnesota Opera, with a libretto by Mark Campbell. His works have been performed at Symphony Space and Carnegie Hall and by the New Jersey Symphony, the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, The Juilliard Orchestra, and the Simón Bolívar Orchestra of Venezuela. He is Assistant Professor of Music at Augsburg University in Minneapolis.

John Musto is that all too rare exemplar, the classical composer whose work is both critically acclaimed and widely performed, who has also distinguished himself as an instrumental soloist and chamber musician. His activities encompass virtually every genre: orchestral, operatic, solo, chamber, vocal, concerti, and music for film and television. Musto was a 1997 Pulitzer Prize finalist, a recipient of two Emmy awards, two CINE Awards, a Rockefeller Fellowship at Bellagio, an American Academy of Arts and Letters award, and a Distinguished Alumnus award from the Manhattan School of Music. He is Coordinator of the D.M.A. Program in Music Performance at the CUNY Graduate Center and also serves on the piano faculty.
Photo credit: Christian Steiner

Tanner Porter is a composer-performer (voice and cello), songwriter and visual artist from California. In her “original art songs that are by turns seductive and confessional” (Steve Smith, The New Yorker), Tanner’s passion for storytelling manifests in her setting of original poetry; her love for the cross-mingling of art forms often brings Tanner to incorporate her own artwork and animations into scores and performances. Tanner received a Bachelors in Music Composition from the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance, and is currently pursuing a Masters in Music Composition from the Yale School of Music. Tanner is pleased to be attending the Djerassi Resident Artists Program and Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music this season. Her most recent album, “The Summer Sinks,” was recorded with LA-based studio Oak House Recording and can be heard on all streaming platforms.
Photo credit: Alexis Crouse Photography

Composer Elizabeth Ogonek strives to create music that is energetic, dramatic, vivid, and colorful. Often inspired by text, her work explores the transference of words and poetic imagery to music. Born in 1989 in Anoka, Minnesota, and raised in New York City, Ogonek began studying music in the Preparatory Division at Manhattan School of Music. She holds degrees from Indiana University, Jacobs School of Music, and the University of Southern California, Thornton School of Music. In 2015, she completed doctoral studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. Recent and upcoming commissions include works for the London Symphony Orchestra and François-Xavier Roth, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Riccardo Muti, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and Fulcrum Point New Music Project for the Ear Taxi Festival in Chicago. Ogonek is a Mead Composer in Residence at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in addition to her role at Oberlin.

Marco-Adrián Ramos (b. 1995) is a Mexican-American composer. Programs he has attended include the European-American Musical Alliance, the Bowdoin International Music Festival, and the Next Festival of Emerging Artists; composers with whom he has had the pleasure of working include Christopher Lacy, Christopher Rouse, Derek Bermel, Aaron Jay Kernis, Gabriela Lena Frank, and Arturo Márquez. He is the recipient of a 2016 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, and in 2018 was awarded an artist grant from the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures in conjunction with composer-mentor Gabriela Lena Frank. He was also awarded the Arthur Friedman Prize in 2018 “for an outstanding orchestral work”; the piece Toys in a Field was premiered under the baton of Jeffrey Milarsky with The Juilliard Orchestra in Alice Tully Hall. Marco-Adrián studies at The Juilliard School, where he is currently in the studio of faculty member Robert Beaser.

Hailed by the New York Times as “ravishing and engulfing,” Gity Razaz’s music ranges from concert solo pieces to opera and large symphonic works. With intense melodies and inventive harmonic languages, Gity’s compositions are often dramatically charged. Razaz’s music has been commissioned and performed by Washington National Opera, National Sawdust, National Ballet School of Canada, Chautauqua Opera Company, Ballet Moscow, Seattle Symphony, Albany Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, La Jolla Symphony & Chorus, American Composers Orchestra, Juilliard Symphony Orchestra, New York Choreographic Institute, and Amsterdam Cello Biennale, among others. Razaz is a composition teacher and mentor for Luna Composition Lab. Razaz attended The Juilliard School on full scholarship, and received her Bachelor and Master of Music in Composition under the tutelage of John Corigliano, Samuel Adler, and Robert Beaser.

Daniel Bernard Roumain’s acclaimed work as a composer, performer, educator, and activist spans more than two decades, and he has been commissioned by venerable artists and institutions worldwide. “About as omnivorous as a contemporary artist gets” (New York Times), Roumain is perhaps the only composer whose collaborations span Philip Glass, Bill T. Jones, Savion Glover and Lady Gaga. Known for his signature violin sounds infused with myriad electronic and urban music influences, Roumain takes his genre-bending music beyond the proscenium. He has won an EMMY for Outstanding Musical Composition for his work with ESPN; featured as keynote performer at technology conferences; and written large scale, site-specific music for public spaces. Roumain earned his Doctorate in Music Composition from the University of Michigan, is currently Institute Professor and Professor of Practice at Arizona State University, and is creating the musical score for The Just and The Blind, a collaboration with BAMUTHI commissioned by Carnegie Hall.

Composer and pianist Miles Walter’s music is born of kaleidoscopic imagination and kinesthetic experience. Born and raised in NH, he had formative musical experiences at Apple Hill’s Playing for Peace program. Miles is equally at home playing neo-soul, cabaret, and standard rep, alongside new music of many strands. Recent honors include a BMI Young Composer Award (2018); recent festival credits include Bowdoin, Ostrava Days, Norfolk, and Pianofest in the Hamptons. A graduate of Yale College, Miles is now pursuing an M.M. in Composition at the Yale School of Music, where he studies with Aaron Jay Kernis and Christopher Theofanidis. This season brings new works for the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, the Yale Percussion Group, the Yale Philharmonia, and cellist Edvard Pogossian.

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