Composer Igor Santos, PhD 2018, Receives 2021-22 Rome Prize

Igor Santos photo


The Department is thrilled to share that composer Igor Santos (PhD 2018) is the recipient of the Samuel Barber Rome Prize, as recently announced by the American Academy in Rome. These highly competitive fellowships support advanced independent work and research in the arts and humanities. This year, the gift of “time and space to think and work” was awarded to thirty-five American and five Italian artists and scholars. They will each receive a stipend, workspace, and room and board at the Academy’s eleven-acre campus in Rome, starting in September 2021.

Two annual Rome Prize Fellowships in musical composition are offered—the Frederic A. Juilliard/Walter Damrosch Rome Prize and the Samuel Barber Rome Prize—and an annual residency (the Paul Fromm Composer in Residence). Composers also participate in the Visiting Artists and Scholars Program.

For his main project at the American Academy in Rome, Igor will compose a work that captures and memorializes the sound world of ancient aqueducts in Rome. Following his recent works—“anima” (2019), and “portrait IO” (2020)—this project continues his exploration of mimetic practices in music, the use of collective memories as material for composition, and research on electro-acoustic meta-instruments. Directly inspired by Bill Fontana’s sound sculpture “Sonic Mappings” (2014), Igor's aqueducts project also pays homage to the tradition of water-themed piano music found in the canonical and recent piano repertoire.

“Igor has an exceptional ear for detail and nuance. The precision of his listening, allied to his vivid and flexible imagination, results in music that is elegant, colorful, inspiring, and centered," said University Professor Augusta Read Thomas. “Being Igor’s PhD advisor was pure joy. I looked forward to every lesson with him and the hours together would fly by with discussions on all kinds of subjects including refined craft, timbre, pacing, form, and aesthetics.”

Rome Prize winners are selected annually by independent juries of distinguished artists and scholars through a national competition. The eleven disciplines supported by the Academy include ancient studies, architecture, design, historic preservation and conservation, landscape architecture, literature, medieval studies, modern Italian studies, music composition, Renaissance and early modern studies, and visual arts.

For a complete list of Rome Prize winners, visit the American Academy in Rome website.