CUNY Distinguished Professor of Music David Grubbs from Brooklyn College’s School of Visual, Media and Performing Arts has been named a 2024-25 Berlin Fellow.

The Berlin Prize provides recipients the time and resources to advance important scholarly and artistic projects, free from the constraints of other professional obligations. Fellows work throughout the semester with Berlin peers and institutions in the American Academy in Berlin’s well-established network, forging meaningful connections that lead to lasting transatlantic relationships. During their stays, fellows engage German audiences through lectures, readings, and performances, which form the core of the academy’s public program.

The fellowship is awarded annually to U.S.-based scholars, writers, composers, and artists who represent the highest standards of excellence in their fields, from the humanities and social sciences to journalism, public policy, fiction, the visual arts, and music composition. Chosen by an independent selection committee, the 2024-25 class of fellows will pursue a wide array of scholarly and artistic projects.

Grubbs — a composer and musicologist who specializes in experimental music and sound art —said he has made it a priority to visit Berlin regularly since he first played there with “a noisy post-punk band” in the summer of 1989, a few months before the Berlin Wall came down. But being on tour did not allow him to truly dive into any serious work. This prize changes that.

The project that Grubbs will work on during the fellowship, titled “Sound in Multidisciplinary Collaboration,” will explore the demands composers and musicians face when working collaboratively in emerging hybrids of performance, installation, expanded cinema, interactive media, and sound art. Drawing on his own compositional work in ongoing collaborations with visual artists Anthony McCall, Angela Bulloch, Josiah McElheny, and poet Susan Howe, Grubbs will offer insights into the contemporary role of music composition within a landscape of diverse practices.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to unpack my suitcase and spend nearly four months at the American Academy in Berlin,” Grubbs said. “I’m engaged in ongoing collaborations with several musicians and artists in Berlin, including Jan St. Werner, Jules Reidy, and Angela Bulloch, so it’s apt that I’ll have the opportunity there to work on a book about musicians and composers collaborating on multidisciplinary projects.”