Wednesday, September 17, 2014


The American Prize is honored to announce the winner, runners-up, citation recipient and honorable mention in the theater division of The American Prize in Composition, 2014. Congratulations!

All finalists receive written evaluations from a member of The American Prize judging panel.

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog.  

Please make us aware of any misprints:

The American Prize in Composition—Theater Division

The American Prize winner:
for "Night of the Living Dead: the opera"
Midland  PA
Todd Goodman
TODD GOODMAN has been described as “one of America’s promising young composers.” His works are performed all over the world by a wide variety of players, including principal members of many major symphony orchestras—Chicago, Pittsburgh, Boston, Singapore, Florida, Iceland, and Seattle. Goodman currently serves as the resident composer for the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center ( located outside Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His works have won international praise from the British Trombone Society [Trombone Concerto]; the Tuba Repertoire Initiative and the International Tuba Euphonium Association [Tuba Concerto]; the International Project Piccolo Rebirth [Echos: prelude and dance]; the Center for Contemporary Opera [Night of the Living Dead: the opera]; and The American Prize [Bass Clarinet Concerto]; He holds degrees from the University of Colorado [B.M.], Duquesne University [M.M], and Kent State University [Ph.D. ABD]. Also, Mr. Goodman in 2014, was selected from over 30,000 applicants, as a quarter-finalist for the first ever Grammy Award for Music Education.

Among judges' comments: "...audacious, scary, sometimes campy—but always dead serious..."

2nd Place:
PETER VAN ZANDT LANE for "HackPolitik—a ballet in two acts for chamber ensemble and electronics"
Belmont  MA

Peter Van Zandt Lane
Peter Van Zandt Lane (b. 1985) is an American composer of instrumental and electroacoustic music. His works have been critically praised for their “appeal to musicians and audiences, no matter their personal musical aesthetic” (Asymmetry Music Magazine). His recent full-length ballet, HackPolitik, was hailed as "angular, jarring, and sophisticated...very compelling...ballet needs live music, and this one offered it at the highest level." (Boston Musical Intelligencer). Peter has received fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and has received commissions from the Barlow Endowment, the Wellesley Composers Conference, and Dinosaur Annex, among others. His music has been played by top-tier ensembles such as the Cleveland Orchestra, International Contemporary Ensemble, the New York Virtuoso Singers, and the Lydian String Quartet. Peter holds degrees from Brandeis University and the University of Miami. He studied composition with Melinda Wagner, Eric Chasalow, and David Rakowski, and bassoon with Luciano Magnanini.

Among judges' comments: "rhythmically the moment...aurally and visually stunning..."

3rd Place:
ERIC SAWYER for "The Garden of Martyrs"
Amherst  MA

Eric Sawyer
The music of Eric Sawyer receives frequent performances on both coasts, including at New York’s Weill and Merkin concert halls and at Tanglewood, as well as in England, France, and Germany.  Many of his larger works connect to American historical subjects.  Sawyer’s first opera "Our American Cousin." was premiered in 2008 by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and released on the BMOP/sound label.  A second opera, "The Garden of Martyrs", received its premiere from the Springfield Symphony in September 2013.  Other recent works including Fantasy Concerto: "Concord Conversations", composed for the piano trio Triple Helix and the Concord Orchestra. A chamber collection, String Works, and the cantata "The Humble Heart" are available on CD from Albany Records.  Mr. Sawyer has received the Joseph Bearns Prize, awards from the Tanglewood Music Center and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is on the music faculty at Amherst College.

Among judges' comments: "strong and grand...a stage-worthy descendant of Ward's 'The Crucible.'"

The American Prize in Composition—Theater Division
Special Judge's Citation: 
"Extraordinary Use of Technology to Expand the Boundaries of Performance"

MATTHEW BURTNER for "Auksalaq"
Charlottesville  VA

Matthew Burtner
Matthew Burtner ( is an Alaskan-born composer and sound artist specializing in chamber music and interactive new media. His work explores ecoacoustics, embodiment and multimedia. First Prize Winner of the Musica Nova International Electroacoustic Music Competition (Czech Republic), a 2011 IDEA Award Winner (USA), and a recipient of the Howard Brown Foundation Fellowship of Brown University, Burtner’s music has also received honors and awards from Bourges (France), Gaudeamus (Netherlands), Darmstadt (Germany) and The Russolo (Italy) international competitions. He is the composer of three evening-length multimedia opera/theater works — Ukiuq Tulugaq (Winter Raven), Kuik, and Auksalaq. He is a professor of Composition and Computer Technologies in the Department of Music at the University of Virginia where he Directs the Interactive Media Research Group (IMRG) and the VCCM Computer Music Center.

Among judges' comments: "through sound and is immersed in the beauty—and recognizes the fragility—of the natural world."


ROBERT FRUEHWALD for "Double Blind Sided"
Cape Girardeau  MO

Robert Fruehwald
Composer and teacher, Robert Fruehwald, grew up in Louisville, Kentucky where he played flute in the Louisville Youth Orchestra. He attended the University of Louisville receiving a Bachelor of Music in Composition (with honors). While in Louisville, he studied composition with Claude Baker, and Dan Welcher. He earned his Master of Fine Arts degree at the California Institute of the Arts studying with Mel Powell, Morton Subotnick, and Leonard Rosenman. He returned to the midwest to work on a Ph.D. at Washington University in St. Louis. There, he studied under Robert Wykes and finished his doctorate in 1985. Before accepting a teaching position in the late 1980s, Dr. Fruehwald developed a series of programs to print musical examples for scholarly journals and books. In 1989 he took a teaching position at Southeast Missouri State University. For more information see:

Among judges' comments: "often mesmerizing and thought provoking—always engaging."



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