Courtney Bryan, a native of New Orleans, is “a pianist and composer of panoramic interests” (New York Times). Her music is in conversation with various musical genres, including jazz and other types of experimental music, as well as traditional gospel, spirituals and hymns. Focusing on bridging the sacred and the secular, Bryan’s compositions explore human emotions through sound, confronting the challenge of notating the feeling of improvisation. Bryan has academic degrees from Oberlin Conservatory (BM), Rutgers University (MM), and Columbia University (DMA) with advisor George Lewis, and completed an appointment as Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. Bryan is currently an Assistant Professor of Music in the Newcomb Department of Music at Tulane University, the composer-in-residence with the Jacksonville Symphony, and serves as a board member of the Musical Arts Society of New Orleans (MASNO), Composers Now and New Music USA. She is the 2018 music recipient of the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts.
Bryan’s work has been presented in a wide range of venues including Lincoln Center, Miller Theatre, Symphony Space, The Stone, Roulette Intermedium, La MaMa Experimental Theatre, National Gallery of Art, Blue Note Jazz Club, Jazz Gallery, Bethany and Abyssinian Baptist Churches and Ojai Music Festival. Upcoming commissions include compositions for the Jacksonville Symphony, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, Ensemble Pi, Aperture Duo, Davóne Tines, Julia Bullock and Jennifer Koh. She has two independent recordings, “Quest for Freedom” (2007) and “This Little Light of Mine” (2010).