It is with great pride that we congratulate Paul Lansky for his recent induction into the Department of Music of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Often considered the highest formal recognition of artistic merit in the United States, this honor is shared with 249 other architects, composers, artists, and writers. On Wednesday, May 18th, 2016 Paul Lansky took his seat with the likes of Yehudi Wyner, Garrison Keilor, Meryl Streep, and our very own Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.
Born in New York City in 1944, Paul Lansky attended Queens College, where he studied composition with George Perle and Hugo Weisgall and Princeton University, where he worked with Milton Babbitt, Earl Kim and others. He has been on the faculty at Princeton since 1969, where he is now William Shubael Conant Professor of Music. Until the mid-1990s, the bulk of Lansky’s work was in computer music and he has long been recognized as one of the pioneers in the field. Since the mid-1990s Lansky has focused primarily on instrumental music crafting challenging and very well received works for performers like Nancy Zeltsman, David Starobin, and William Purvis to name a few.
The American Academy of Arts and Letters, known first as the National Institute of Arts and Letters, was founded in 1898 by William Merritt Chase, Kenyon Cox, Daniel Chester French, Childe Hassam, Henry James, Theodore Roosevelt, Elihu Veddar, and Woodrow Wilson. It has since been devoted to fostering, assisting, and sustaining an interest in literature, music, and the fine arts through annual awards recognizing outstanding achievement in these fields. This year, 64 recipients were recognized with awards totaling nearly $1.1 million.