The Barry and Claire Brook Award

The Claire Brook Award was established in April 2018 by the Barry S. Brook Center for Music Research and Documentation (The Graduate Center of The City University of New York). It honors an exceptional single-author or co-authored monograph, dissertation, or edited collection on a designated topic related to the current work of the Brook Center. The topic may change over time to reflect the various and changing projects of the Center. For the first years, nominations were accepted for works on music iconography or the relationship between music and the visual arts. Renamed The Barry and Claire Brook Award, the prize will be awarded to publications on global music history from 2024 on.

The author(s) of the work will receive a certificate and an optional invitation to deliver a public lecture on the topic of the awarded publication at the CUNY Graduate Center. The winner is chosen annually. If there are no strong candidates in a given year, the prize will not be awarded.

Beginning in 2024, the awards committee will consist of three distinguished scholars in the field of global music history who will serve overlapping three-year terms. The previous year’s winner will be invited to join the following year’s committee. The director of the Brook Center serves as an ex officio member of the committee. The committee may appoint one or more ad hoc members to review nominated works written in languages outside their area of expertise. If a nominated publication was authored or edited by a committee member, that member will step down from the committee for that year.

Barry and Claire Brook Award Winners
2024: open

Claire Brook Award Winners
2023: no award given
no award given
2021: Werner Telesko, Susana Zapke, Stefan Schmidl / Michael Burden and Jennifer Thorp
2020: no award given
2019: Lorenzo Bianconi
Florence Gétreau

Barry Shelley Brook (1918–1997) was a highly accomplished musicologist, educator, innovator, and a globalist. He earned degrees from City College of New York and Columbia University before completing his doctoral studies in Paris. He served as a U.S. Air Force captain during World War II and was honored with the Distinguished Flying Cross. Brook spent most of his career at the City University of New York (CUNY), where he established the graduate program in music and became a Distinguished Professor. Throughout his career, Brook made significant contributions to musicology, including pioneering work on 18th-century French symphonies, thematic catalogues, and composer handwriting analysis. He founded important institutions like the doctoral program in musicology at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris and the Pergolesi Research Center at CUNY. Brook was also a trailblazer in the application of computers in musicology, advocating for their use since the 1960s. He initiated projects such as Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale (RILM) and Répertoire International d’Iconographie Musicale (RIdIM), contributing significantly to the documentation and research of music sources internationally. In recognition of his extensive contributions, the Center for Research and Music Documentation at CUNY Graduate Center was renamed in his honor upon his death. Barry Shelley Brook’s legacy continues to influence the field of musicology and research methodologies to this day.

Claire Brook (1925–2012) was vice president and music editor of W.W. Norton & Co. in New York, in a distinguished lineage that included Paul Henry Lang, Nathan Broder, and David Hamilton. She sponsored the publication of dozens of books in Norton’s series “Books that Live in Music,” including seminal works on the music of Africa, jazz, and contemporary music, as well as editions of Joseph Machlis’s The Enjoyment of Music and Donald Jay Grout’s A History of Western Music that have kept them at the forefront of the music textbooks ever since. She was the author of a spirited contribution on “Music Publishing Today” in MLA Notes (1975). In 1999 she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Music, honoris causa, by the New England Conservatory. After retirement from Norton, she served for a number of years as Executive Editor of Pendragon Press. Claire left a bequest to the Brook Center that has supported many of its activities over the years. It is in her memory that this award has been established.