This 2023 MacArthur Genius Grant Recipient Has Ties to Philadelphia

Courtney Bryan, composer and pianist.
Image via Courtney Bryan.
Courtney Bryan, Opera Philadelphia composer-in-resident and 2023 MacArthur Genius Grant recipient.

The 2023 MacArthur Genius Grant recipients were recently announced and Philadelphia has some representation, writes Rosa Cartagena for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

In addition to Philadelphian Carolyn Lazard, Courtney Bryan was named as one of this year’s 20 Genius Grant recipients.

“I am still taking in this awesome and life-changing news,” wrote Bryan in an Instagram post.

A composer and pianist based in her hometown of New Orleans, she more recently has developed some ties to Philadelphia.

Over the last year, Bryan has come to Philadelphia for multiple projects as she is currently partaking in Opera Philadelphia’s composer-in-resident program.

In 2021, Bryan composed a digital commission for Opera Philadelphia called, “Blessed,” written as a response to protests against police killings of Black people in 2020.

Her compositions span various genres, from jazz to gospels and spirituals.

“As I get older, I realize how much my original ideas are variations on the work of my parents (and on the work of my family for generations) and so I give thanks and honor,” said Bryan.

She hopes the new grant will help her expand the ways she can use her creativity.

Read more about the two Philadelphians selected as 2023 MacArthur Genius Grant fellows at The Philadelphia Inquirer.


Courtney Bryan is a composer, pianist, and 2023 MacArthur Fellow melding elements of jazz, classical, and sacred music in works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and opera.

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