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.
The winners of the Arts and Letters Awards were selected by a committee of Academy members including Civitellians Martin Bresnick (CRF 2011), George Lewis (CRF 1998), and David Rakowski (CRF 2008). 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.
Civitellian Alexandre Lunsqui (CRF 2014) and Andreia Pinto Correia (CRF 2015) received $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 to record their work and will also have their music presented in a concert at the Academy in the spring of 2021.
Soon-to-be Civitellian Matthew Ricketts (CRF 2020) received the Charles Ives Fellowship of $15,000. 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.