Friday, November 6, 2015

COMPOSER winners: ORCHESTRA (student division)

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and citation recipients of student orchestra division of The American Prize in Composition, 2015.

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—Orchestra (student division)

The American Prize winner:
for Symphonic Poem "Even in Paradise"
Los Angeles CA
Patrick O’Malley (1989) is a composer whose works explore the musical interplay between emotion, color, energy, and landscape.  Currently living in Los Angeles, O’Malley grew up in Indiana, where he cultivated an interest in composition from hearing music at the local orchestra, studying piano and double bass, film scores at the movie theater, and even MIDI compositions for videogames being written at the time. His pieces span many of the contemporary mediums for classical music (orchestra, chamber ensembles, vocal music, film scores etc.), and have been performed across the United States as well as in France and Germany. Often when writing a new piece, O’Malley considers the listener’s imagination as much as every other musical element – an admittedly and enjoyably subjective endeavor.

Most recently, O’Malley has been recognized and/or performed by organizations including the American Composers Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Next On Grand National Composers Intensive with wild Up, the Society of Composers Inc., The American Prize (3rd place in orchestral music, and finalist in wind band and chamber music, 2014), the Boston New Music Initiative, ASCAP’s Morton Gould Award (finalist in 2012 and 2014), and Fulcrum Point New Music Project. He has spent summers as a student at various music festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival, Bowdoin Festival, Fresh Inc. Festival, and FUBiS composition course in Berlin. He is gratefully indebted to his private teachers over the years for helping guide his work, the most recent of which include Andrew Norman, Samuel Adler, and Frank Ticheli. O’Malley is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in composition at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.

2nd Place:
DONGRYUL LEE for "Circular Simulacrum"
Champaign IL
Dongryul Lee is a South Korean composer of modern classical music.  He holds degrees in computer science and music composition from the Yonsei University and the Eastman School of Music respectively, from which he received three consecutive composition prizes and four years of scholarships.  He has studied composition with Stephen Taylor, Reynold Tharp, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, David Liptak, and Tae-hoon Kim, while attending master classes led by Vinko Globokar, Unsuk Chin, Oliver Knussen, Steven Stucky, and Shulamit Ran, and seminars by Tristan Murail and Helmut Lachenmann.  At Eastman, he also studied conducting with Brad Lubman and Mark Davis Scatterday, and piano performance with Tony Caramia.  He names Takemitsu, Xenakis, Grisey, and Lutoslawski as key musical predecessor for establishing his own voice.  Other influences on his music include Chaos and Fractal Theory, which he studied at the University of Rochester, and Number Theory and Acoustical Physics of Music, which he has explored at the University of Illinois.   From quantum physics to Borges’s cosmic Ficciones, Dongryul Lee finds inspiration in various archetypal, transcendental, and ephemeral elements of eclectic sources including myth, science, and nature.  His current projects include a 24 quarter-tone tuned Horn concerto for the Illinois New Music Ensemble, and a vocal chamber orchestra piece inspired by C. G. Jung’s castle, Bollingen Tower.  As an active composer and theorist, he is currently pursuing his Masters degree in music composition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with the support of a Cooke Fellowship.

3rd Place (there was a tie):
DYLAN ARTHUR BAKER for "Tumultuous Voyage"
Kansas City MO
Dylan Arthur Baker is a graduate student pursuing a DMA degree in music composition at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri - Kansas City, where he has studied with Zhou Long and Jim Mobberley. He recently completed an MA degree at the University of Michigan, where has studied with Evan Chambers and Bright Sheng. He graduated from Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle with a BM in Music Composition. His principle instructors at Cornish were Janice Giteck, Eric Banks, and Emily Doolittle, and at Central Washington University (CWU) he studied with Eric Flesher.

During the summer months he has studied at the Brevard Music Center (where he studied with Robert Aldridge and David Dzubay), and has been a featured composer at the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium in Eugene, and the highSCORE Festival in Pavia, Italy.

3rd Place (there was a tie):
PHILIP RICE for "The Souls of Ancient Bells"
Lansing MI
PHILIP RICE (b. 1988) studied music composition with Stefan Young (a student of Nadia Boulanger), David Gillingham, Jere Hutcheson, and Mark Sullivan. He received a Master of Music from Westminster Choir College in 2012, and is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts at Michigan State University.

He has won numerous awards for his compositions, among them awards from Chanticleer, the Kansas University Choral Society, the Michigan Music Educators Association, the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra, Iowa State University, Michigan State University, Central Michigan University, and Westminster Choir College. Recent collaborators include Craig Hella Johnson, the Michigan Recital Project, and Kansas-city-based Te Deum Chamber Choir. Philip specializes in setting found texts and the works of living writers. Outside of music, he is an avid poet, blogger, and designer with a keen interest in found objects as literary devices.  
The American Prize in Composition—Orchestra (student division): HONORABLE MENTIONS

BRIAN MARK for "The Persistence of Time"
Holbrook NY
Brian Mark has had works performed by ensembles including, amongst others, the BBC Singers, Atlas Ensemble, Brave New Works, Choral Chameleon, Ensemble Signal, Chelsea Symphony, the Ligeti and Esterhazy String Quartets, and at festivals including the London Contemporary Music Festival, June in Buffalo Festival, Spitalfields Music Festival, and the Bowdoin International Music Festival. He has held residencies with the Chelsea Symphony, I-Park Artists’ Enclave, Ucross Foundation, and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. His chorale piece Ecce nunc benedicite Dominum, commissioned by the Royal Academy Chamber Choir, has made the finalist round in the 2014 American Prize for Choral Composition. From 2009-2011 Brian was the Co-Artistic Director for DETOUR, which promoted emerging composers through its annual concert series in NYC.  He is also curating a concert series in East London with Nonclassical.  Brian is currently finishing his PhD in Composition at the Royal Academy of Music.

CHARLES PECK for "Metropolitan"
Philadelphia PA
Charles Peck is an American composer whose work has been called “daring” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “vivid” (UArts Edge magazine), and “spell-binding” (Rappahannock News). Peck’s recent successes include winning Symphony in C’s Young Composers’ Competition, the Castleton Festival’s Young Composers’ Forum, the University of Cincinnati’s Composition Competition, and the Ohio Federation of Music Club’s Collegiate Composition Competition. Additionally, he has been awarded grants from both the American Composers Forum and the McKnight Foundation and has been named a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards and the Glick Competition with the Indianapolis Symphony. Peck currently teaches at the University of the Arts and is a doctoral candidate at Cornell University. He earned his Master’s in Music from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music where he was awarded the Scott Huston Award for composition. And he received his Bachelor’s degree from Drexel University. Visit to learn more. 

BENJAMIN WHITING for "Tempus Imperfectum"

Champaign, IL
Benjamin D. Whiting received his BM in Music Composition and his MM in Music Theory and Composition from Florida State University, and is now pursuing his DMA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He is an active composer of both acoustic and electroacoustic music, and has had his works performed in the United States, the Czech Republic, Italy, and Japan. Most recently, his piece for chamber orchestra, Tempus Imperfectum, was awarded Third Prize in the 2014 Busan Maru International Music Festival Composition Competition, and his electroacoustic piece FL has been released on ABLAZE Records’ album Electronic Masters, vol. 3, along with having been honored with performances at the 2014 College Music Society National Conference, SEAMUS 2014, and the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival. Whiting has studied with such composers as Scott Wyatt, Erik Lund, Erin Gee, and Ladislav Kubik. He currently resides in Champaign, Illinois.

The American Prize in Composition—Orchestra (student division): CAREER ENCOURAGEMENT CITATIONS
KYLE SIMPSON for "Fanfare Overture" 
Washington PA
Kyle Simpson, composer, received degrees from LawrenceUniversity (WI) and the University of Montana. He is currently studying composition in the DMA program at West Virginia University under Dr. David Taddie, Dr. Joseph Dangerfield, and Dr. John Beall.  He has been awarded fellowships to study composition at the EAMA School in Paris, France, the Henry Mancini Institute in Los Angeles, and Ostrava Days in Ostrava, CZ.Simpson has written music for such ensembles  as: Banff Center Jazz Residency Ensemble. World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Washington PA Symphony, The Janaček Philharmonic, and The New York Film Orchestra (ASCAP/NYU).  ASCAP Named Simpson as a “2011 Composer to Watch.”  Simpson is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, PA.

KEITH ALLEGRETTI for "Carceri d'Invenzione"
Santa Fe MN
A native of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Keith Allegretti is a composer and pianist who enjoys working comfortably in many genres, including chamber, orchestral, vocal, and electronic music, and even musical theater. His music has been performed in Santa Fe, Houston, Berlin, Ann Arbor, New York and elsewhere by professional and amateur ensembles, including Santa Fe New Music, Quartetto Indaco, the Rice University Chorale, the University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Circuit Bridges, the Santa Fe Community Orchestra, and the American Creators Ensemble. He holds degrees in composition from Rice University and the University of Michigan. For more information, please visit

HANGRUI ZHANG for "Cloudy Ground"
Cincinnati OH
Hangrui Zhang (b.1989) is a Chinese student composer. Now, he is studying in College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) as a third-year undergraduate student. Hangrui entered the world of music much later than most of his contemporaries. At the age of 20, he found his interest in music, and began his study as a beginner. During that time, he studied music very independently, and often involving self-teaching. After two-year music study and one-year English study, in the year of 2012, he began his first formal music study in CCM. His composition teachers include Jian Feng, Mara Helmuth, Douglas Knehans and Michael Fiday. His music has been performed by such groups as the Eurydice Quartet, the Donald Sinta Quartet, the CCM Chamber Players, and by performers at the College-Conservatory of Music.

The American Prize in Composition—Orchestra (student division): YOUNG ARTIST CITATION

West Grove PA
Marlene Miller is an aspiring young composer. Born in North Carolina and raised in Pennsylvania, as a child she wanted to be a singer. For a long time Marlene quit music and searched for other inspiration. When she entered high school, however, she was wrangled into participating in Marching Band and her love of music was solidified forever. Since then she has learned to play five – and working on six – different musical instruments. She participates in choir, marching band, full orchestra, wind ensemble, and concert band at her school as well as enrolling in the only music theory class offered there and going to every music camp she can manage. She is proud of the pieces she’s composed so far and desires to someday compose for video games and movies. Marlene will be majoring in Music Theory and Composition at West Chester University this fall 2015. She can’t wait.


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