Martin Brody
1949 -   Class of 2008  Performing Arts
Martin Brody has literally done it all.  As a composer, teacher, musicologist, critic and scholar, the Elgin native has touched thousands with his gift of music.  Martin has a distinguished multi-faceted musical career that has now spanned more than 25 years and received national and international recognition. Born in Chicago in 1949 and raised in Elgin, he is a graduate of Elgin High School, where he played cello and piano.  Influenced by his father, the young musician played in the Elgin Symphony Orchestra while in high school.  

After receiving his B.A. summa cum laude at Amherst College, Massachusetts, Martin attended Yale University where he earned two Master’s degrees (Music in 1976 and Musical Arts in 1976) followed by a DMA in 1981.

After winning his first composition prize in 1972 at Amherst, Martin has since accumulated an impressive list of honors and awards, among which are a Composer Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1983, followed by a commission in 1991 and grant in 1992.  He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2000.

As a composer, Martin has produced award-winning concert music, musical theatre, and film and television music.  As a musicologist and critic, he has written for major music journals and reference publications.  As an advocate of contemporary music, Martin Brody has served on the boards of many organizations and undertaken a number of important new initiatives, such as his work for the International Research and Exchanges Board, which led in 1987 to the first extensive composers exchange between Russia and the U.S. in more than 25 years.
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Martin Brody has been the Catherine Mills Davis Professor of Music for nearly 30 years at Wellesley College, winning the Pinanski Prize for Excellence in Teaching in 2000. He also has taught at Bowdoin College, Mount Holyoke College, Brandeis University, and M.I.T. Martin’s diverse achievements recently won him the coveted position of new Andrew Heiskill Arts Director of the American Academy in Rome (2007-2010), an institution in existence since 1894 where he was earlier the Paul Fromm Composer-in-Residence.

Martin’s numerous compositions, dating from 1975, are for varied combinations of instruments and voices. In 1985, the Elgin Symphony Orchestra commissioned his composition for piano and orchestra, “Ritornelli,” to perform on its concert series. Just as prolific is his prose, with many articles published in the Boston Review, Perspectives of New Music, and the Computer Music Journal.

Martin Brody’s music has received various honors, including the Academy-Institute Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1986 and commissions and residences from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, the Artists Foundation, and the Massachusetts Arts and Humanities Council, among others.

His first chamber opera, “Heart of a Dog,” was commissioned by the Boston Musica Viva and the National Endowment for the Arts.  A second chamber opera, “Earth Studies,” was commissioned by the CORE Ensemble and the Duncan Theatre, with funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.  Other recent projects include chamber works for Collage New Music, TripleHelix, the Crossroads Festival in Southern Alaska, and the Bank of America Celebrity Series.

In addition to his stint at the American Academy in Rome, Martin has been composer-in-residence at the Bogliasco Mortella, and the Portland Chamber Music Festival.  His music has been recorded on New World Records and Composers Recordings Incorporated and has been published by Margun Music and the Association for the Promotion of New Music.  
He has lectured at symposiums and institutes held in Berlin, London, Rome, and New York, and also for professional organizations and institutions such as Northwestern University, Columbia University, and Princeton University.

Listed among Martin Brody’s additional professional activities is Contributing Editor for The Open Space Magazine, and Co-founder, Seminar on Music and Culture, Harvard Center for Literary and Cultural Studies. Since 1986, he has served on the Board of Directors of the Composers Conference and Chamber Music Center, and he is currently president of the Stefan Wolpe Society.  Other current board positions include Boston Musica Viva and Art of the States for WGBH Radio.  
He is a dissertation advisor and reader for Brandeis and a manuscript reviewer for Harvard University Press, Oxford University Press, Northeastern University Press, and Musical Quarterly.

Martin Brody has ignited young and old musicians alike with his passion, and he has never forgotten his roots. “I can’t imagine a career outside of the arts now, even though it didn’t seem entirely possible to me when I was growing up,” Brody said.  “For me, personally, I can’t imagine anything more rewarding than the study of music, which brings the head and the heart together in such a uniquely human way.”

And now, Martin has yet another accomplishment to add to his constantly growing list. The young boy who grew up playing in Elgin, and consequently played around the world, was inducted into the Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame in 2008. “To be honored like this is very special to me,” he said. “I have often felt a little sorry that my music has taken me far away from home, but this honor brings my home town and my artistic career so much closer together.”
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 Awarded John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship  Ame
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