Hands on a piano keyboard

Clark composer to receive honor from Academy of Arts and Letters

May 4, 2018

The American Academy of Arts and Letters will recognize Clark University Associate Professor John Aylward with its annual Walter Hinrichsen Award in Music, given for the publication of a work by a mid-career American composer. Professor Aylward will receive the award at the Academy’s annual ceremonies next month.

This is the second time the Academy has honored Aylward; in 2011, he received a Goddard Lieberson Fellowship, which is given annually to young composers of extraordinary gifts. 

Head shot of John Aylward
Professor John Aylward

Professor Aylward is a composer, and conductor and performer of piano who draws inspiration from a range of philosophical and poetic sources. His music comprises solo works, chamber music, orchestral work, and music for film. He is Artistic Director of the contemporary music ensemble Ecce, and Founder and Director of the Etchings Festival for Contemporary Music in Auvillar, France. At Clark, he is Director of the Music Program in the Visual and Performing Arts Department and teaches music composition and theory.

“It’s an incredible honor to be counted among so many brilliant composers,” Professor Aylward said of the Hinrichsen Award. “I’m humbled and hope to make the award count toward more good music making ahead.”

In 2017, Professor Aylward received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a commission from the Fromm Music Foundation; he has current assignments from members of Klangforum Wien, Nina Guo, Samuel Solomon and Keiko Murakami.

Among his growing list of honors, Professor Aylward has received a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship from Harvard University, a Koussevitzky Commission from the Library of Congress, a Fulbright Grant to Germany and First Prize from the International Society for Contemporary Music. He has also held fellowships at the MacDowell Colony, Tanglewood, Aspen Music School, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

Professor Aylward received his Bachelor of Arts, with honors, in piano performance from the University of Arizona, and earned his Master of Fine Arts and Ph.D in composition and theory from Brandeis University.

The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 as an honor society of the country’s 250 leading architects, artists, composers, and writers. The winners of this year’s awards in music were nominated and selected by Academy members.