Clark faculty composer is honored by Academy of Arts and Letters

John Aylward, assistant professor of music composition and theory at Clark University, is one of 15 composers selected for an award by The American Academy of Arts and Letters.  His award will be presented at the Academy's annual Ceremonial in May.  

Aylward, a professor, composer, and pianist, will receive one of only two Goddard Lieberson Fellowships, in the amount of $15,000. (The other Fellowship will be awarded to Lansing McLoskey of the University of Miami Frost School of Music).  According to the Academy’s web site, “The fellowship was endowed in 1978 by the CBS Foundation and is presented annually to two young composers of exceptional gifts.”

Aylward submitted two works for review upon being nominated, “Stillness and Change,” and “Images of Departure.” Both works are featured on his debut album, “Stillness and Change,” which will be released by Albany Records this spring.

Aylward’s music has been praised for its “youthful energy and precision.”  It has been performed within the U.S. and abroad by numerous ensembles including the New York New Music Ensemble and the Bard Symphony Orchestra. Aylward has received grants, fellowships, and awards from the MacDowell Colony, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, ISCM, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, the Aspen Festival, and Tanglewood. 

Aylward began a group for contemporary music: the East Coast Contemporary Ensemble in 2005.  In 2009, the group became a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation dedicated to presenting the most adventuresome new music worldwide.  One of Aylward’s first initiatives for the group was to establish an international music festival.  The Etchings Festival, now in its 3rd season, has attracted professional and student musicians from across the U.S. and abroad and has already premiered numerous new works of contemporary music.  The festival, held in Auvillar, France, has also attracted acclaim for its masterclasses and lessons, taught by guest composers such as David Rakowski, Fabien Levy and Louis Karchin.

Aylward teaches Music Composition and Theory at Clark.  He lives in Boston; and is originally from Tucson, Arizona.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters is an honor society of 250 architects, composers, artists, and writers. Members of the Academy are elected for life and pay no dues. The honor of election is considered the highest formal recognition of artistic merit in the United States.

Since its founding in 1887, Clark University in Worcester, Mass., has a history of challenging convention. As an innovative liberal arts college and research university, Clark’s world-class faculty lead a community of creative thinkers and passionate doers and offer a range of expertise, particularly in the areas of psychology, geography, urban education, Holocaust and genocide studies, environmental studies, and international development and social change. Clark’s students, faculty and alumni embody the Clark motto: Challenge convention. Change our world.