Professor Emeritus Receives National Music Award

James Mobberley was recognized by the American Academy of Arts and Letters for music composition
Professor Emeritus James Mobberley, pictured from the shoulders up, smiling at the camera

James Mobberley, Curators’ Professor Emeritus in the Conservatory, was recently named a national Music Award recipient from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Mobberley is one of four people to receive the Arts and Letters Award in Music, honoring outstanding artistic achievement and original compositional voice. Each awardee receives $10,000, plus an additional $10,000 to record their composition. Awardees will also have their music presented in concert at the Academy.

“The American Academy of Arts and Letters is one of the most significant organizations in the world that focuses on support of creative work in multiple fields,” said Mobberley. “I am more than honored and humbled to be included among this year's group of extraordinary peers, especially now as we collectively begin the long, laborious recovery process from two years of COVID's devastating effect on the arts.”

Mobberley is one of 18 Music Award recipients in 2022, with awards totaling $205,000. Candidates for these awards are nominated by the Academy’s 300 members.

Mobberley joined the UMKC Conservatory faculty in 1983 and helped build the university’s highly regarded music composition program in his years with the university. He retired in 2016 as the Curators’ Professor of Music Composition. He previously has been awarded the Rome Prize and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Mobberley has been a resident composer with the Kansas City Symphony (1992-1999), and a visiting composer with both the Taiwan National Symphony (1999) and the Fort Smith Symphony (2000).

“Dr. Mobberley was a cornerstone of not just the composition area but the entire Conservatory for over three decades,” said Andrew Granade, interim dean of the Conservatory. “We’ve long known and celebrated the excellence of his musical gifts here in Kansas City, but it is gratifying to see it recognized nationally by the American Academy, one of the premier societies dedicated to advancing the arts in the United States. I can think of no one more deserving of this award.”

The American Academy of Arts and Letters was founded in 1898 as an honor society of the country’s leading architects, artists, composers, and writers. Awards are given as part of the Academy’s mission to foster interest in literature, music and the fine arts.

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Published: Feb 17, 2022

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