Archive for November, 2008

Ancient Rome reborn on Google Earth, thanks to AAR Trustee Bernard Frischer FAAR ’76, RAAR ’97

November 13, 2008

You’ve got to see it to believe it.

It’s a new layer in Google Earth that takes you back to Rome in the day of emperor Constantine the Great. The day 21 June in the year AD 320, to be precise.

Now Google Earth’s 400 million estimated users are free to navigate the entire ancient city within the circuit of the 13-mile Aurelian Walls, peeking inside many buildings and monuments. It’s instantly been heralded as “the biggest, most complete simulation of an historic city ever created.”

And the person who has made Google’s new Ancient Rome 3D possible is Bernard D. Frischer of the University of Virginia—an American Academy in Rome Fellow (1976), Resident (1997), and current Trustee.

Frischer, the director of UVA’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, is a prominent Latinist who also is widely recognized as a pioneer in the application of digital technologies to humanities research and education.

“For nearly three decades”, writes Elisabetta Povoledo in The New York Times, “Professor Frischer has been the driving force of an effort to bring ancient Rome to virtual life. The Google Earth feature is based on his Rome Reborn 1.0, a 3-D reconstruction first developed in 1996 at the University of California, Los Angeles, and fine-tuned over the years with partners in the United States and Europe.”


Those partners were archaeologists, architects and computer experts from Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany, and especially the Rome-based company Past Perfect Productions, which specializes in three-dimensional cultural heritage models. (more…)


CD Fair in NYC celebrates Academy composers, new ‘Americans in Rome’ recordings

November 6, 2008

There’s a lot to celebrate the night of Thursday 13 November. And some great discs to buy.

Bridge Records has just released a stunning four CD collection of music written exclusively by composers who won the Rome Prize to the AAR. Some of this they created while in residence at the Academy, some of it before or (especially) after their Rome experience. It’s titled Americans in Rome: Music by Fellows of the American Academy in Rome. The CD set features the works of 37 of the more than 200 American composers the Academy has sponsored with Rome Prize Fellowships over the course of nine decades. See Kathryn King‘s press release for the recordings here.

aircoverThe artistic director for this box set, Donald Berman, really evokes here the intensity and breadth of the American Academy’s involvement with contemporary music. That dates back to 1921, when the AAR awarded its first Rome Prizes in Music Composition.

Though the recordings on these CDs are new, they cover works from the 1920s to the present decade, from some of the best known composers in American music to some largely forgotten masters. (See the list toward the end of this post.)

The disc also features some leading performers of contemporary music, including Tony Arnold, Daniel Druckman, Curtis Macomber, Susan Narucki, Fred Sherry, Richard Stoltzman, and Yehudi Wyner (FAAR’56, RAAR’91). Plus there’s a lavish 64-page booklet that includes expert essays, biographical sketches, and all the texts set by the composers.

At the NYC event there will be a performance of several songs from the CD by collection curator Donald Berman on piano, with soprano Tony Arnold.

But this evening is not only about the release of the CD. It’s also a big celebration of the Rome Prize Fellowship in Musical Composition. All composer Fellows have been invited to contribute CDs of their work to be sold at the Fair. Proceeds from the sales will benefit music at the Academy.

A large number of Fellows, Residents, Affiliates in all fields—as well as Trustees and friends—are expected at the CD Fair. Martin Brody, who is the current Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the AAR, and Academy Director Carmela Franklin will also be in attendance, visiting from Rome.

This event starts at 6 PM on Thursday 13 November, at the Academy’s New York offices at 7 East 60th Street. RSVPs (by 7 November) can be sent via, or by voice to 212.751.7200 ext 29.

There’s an awful lot more after the jump…