May 18, 2024

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The American Academy of Arts and Letters has selected trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith and composer Maria Schneider as newly elected members: Photos, Video

Nineteen new members and four honorary members will be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters during its annual Ceremonial on May 24, 2023. The American Academy of Arts and Letters has selected trumpeter and composer Wadada Leo Smith and composer Maria Schneider as newly elected members.

During the ceremony, the Ukrainian writer Andrey Kurkov, who is being inducted into Foreign Honorary membership, will deliver the keynote address.

2023 Newly Elected Members

Maurice Cox
Merrill Elam
Michael Maltzan
Huma Bhabha
Shirin Neshat
Yvonne Rainer
Arlene Shechet
Percival Everett
Vivian Gornick
Yiyun Li
Phillip Lopate
Lore Segal
Anna Deavere Smith
Adolphus Hailstork
Carman Moore
Roger Reynolds
Maria Schneider
Wadada Leo Smith
Pamela Z
American Honorary
Francis Ford Coppola
Frances McDormand
Foreign Honorary
Andrey Kurkov
Cecilia Vicuña


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. Early members include William Merritt Chase, Childe Hassam, Julia Ward Howe, Henry James, Edward MacDowell, Theodore Roosevelt, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, John Singer Sargent, Mark Twain, and Edith Wharton. The Academy’s 300 members are elected for life and pay no dues.

The Academy’s American Honorary membership, which began in 1983, recognizes up to twenty Americans of extraordinary artistic achievement whose work falls outside of or transcends the fields of architecture, art, literature, and music composition. Foreign Honorary membership, which was established in 1929, celebrates up to seventy-five distinguished architects, artists, writers, and composers from other countries whose work the Academy’s membership greatly admires.

In addition to electing new members as vacancies occur, the Academy seeks to foster and sustain an interest in Literature, Music, and the Fine Arts by administering over 70 awards and prizes totaling more than $1 million, exhibiting art and manuscripts, funding performances of new works of musical theater, purchasing artwork for donation to museums across the country, and presenting talks and concerts.

Huma Bhabha – photograph by Annette Hornischer
Francis Ford Coppola – photograph by Sofia Coppola
Maurice Cox – photograph courtesy of Crain’s Detroit Business
Merrill Elam – photograph by Rubi Xu
Percival Everett – photograph courtesy of Lighthouse Writers Workshop
Vivian Gornick – photograph by Tony Rinaldo
Adolphus Hailstork – photograph courtesy of Adolphus Hailstork
Andrey Kurkov – photograph by Elena Ternovaja
Yiyun Li – photograph by Denise J. Applewhite/Princeton University
Phillip Lopate – photograph courtesy of Phillip Lopate
Michael Maltzan – photograph courtesy of La Biennale di Venezia, FREESPACE
Frances McDormand – photograph by Alison Rosa
Carman Moore – photograph courtesy of Artists Space
Shirin Neshat – photograph courtesy of Gladstone Gallery
Yvonne Rainer – photograph courtesy of Getty Research Institute
Roger Reynolds – photograph by Eric Jepsen
Maria Schneider – photograph by Briene Lermitte
Lore Segal – photograph by Ellen Dubin
Arlene Shechet – photograph courtesy of Arlene Shechet
Anna Deavere Smith – photograph by Kwaku Alston
Wadada Leo Smith – photograph by Jimmy Katz
Cecilia Vicuña – photograph by William Jess Laird
Pamela Z – photograph by Shawn Harris

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