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Courtney Bryan

2018 Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Orchestral Commission Recipient

Courtney Bryan’s work Rejoice was premiered by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and music director Carlos Miguel Prieto on November 21, 22, and 23, 2019.

Courtney Bryan, a native of New Orleans, LA, is “a pianist and composer of panoramic interests” (New York Times). Her music is in conversation with various musical genres, including jazz and other types of experimental music, as well as traditional gospel, spirituals, and hymns. Focusing on bridging the sacred and the secular, Bryan’s compositions explore human emotions through sound, confronting the challenge of notating the feeling of improvisation. Bryan has academic degrees from Oberlin Conservatory (BM), Rutgers University (MM), and Columbia University (DMA) with advisor George Lewis, and completed an appointment as Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. Bryan is currently an Assistant Professor of Music in the Newcomb Department of Music at Tulane University, the composer-in-residence with the Jacksonville Symphony, and serves as a board member of the Musical Arts Society of New Orleans (MASNO), Composers Now, and New Music USA. She was the 2018 music recipient of the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts.

Bryan’s work has been presented in a wide range of venues, including Lincoln Center, Miller Theatre, The Stone, Roulette Intermedium, La MaMa Experimental Theatre, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, Blue Note Jazz Club, Bethany and Abyssinian Baptist Churches, Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and Ojai Music Festival. Upcoming commissions include compositions for the Jacksonville Symphony, Quince Ensemble, and Jennifer Koh. She has two recordings, “Quest for Freedom” (2007) and “This Little Light of Mine” (2010).

More from Courtney


Photo Credit: Arielle Pentes

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