Monday, January 23, 2017

COMPOSER WINNERS: Opera/Theater/Film, 2016

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and honorable mention recipients of The American Prize in Composition, 2016, in the Opera/Theater/Film category, all divisions. Congratulations!

Complete listings of finalists and semi-finalists in The American Prize competitions may be found elsewhere on this blog. Please use the chronological tool in the right-hand column to find specific results.

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

Please make us aware of any misprints: theamericanprize@gmail.com

The American Prize in Composition—opera, theater, film—professional division

The American Prize winner:
JUSTIN DELLO JOIO—New York, NY
for
Blue Mountain—A Chamber Opera in One Act
JUSTIN DELLO JOIO
New York born composer, Justin Dello Joio, is the seventh generation of composer in the Dello Joio family. Currently the Faculty Composer in Residence for New York University, he has been described by distinguished composer John Corigliano  "Justin Dello Joio is a born composer. A real musician with a sparkling craft who has something urgent to say in his works, and the ability to say it. In an age when so much contemporary composition seems dictated by its technologically sophisticated means, it is wonderful to hear music that is composed completely by ear, mind and heart. His knowledge and mastery give his work a distinction that many other writers lack…he is a wonderful composer whose music has lasting power - A real creative artist!”  Composer Witold Lutoslawski described Dello Joio as“ an extremely talented and gifted composer”. Ned Rorem wore of his work, “ Of the hundreds of composers I know he is perhaps the most natural. He writes what he wants, not what the current market presumably demands… His music speaks.”

Dello Joio was honored with the American Academy of Arts and Letters highest award, The Award in Music, after previously receivingThe Lakond Award, and The Charles Ives Scholarship from the Academy. Dello Joio has received the John Guggenheim Fellowship and was honored as Composer of the Year by the Classical Recording Foundation in 2007. He has received awards and grants from The New York Foundation for the Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, CAPS  Grant, The New York State Council on the Arts,  3 Meet the Composer Grants, The Presser Foundation, The Lado Award, The Alexander Gretchaninoff Award (String Quartet #1), The Marion Freschl Award.
JustinDelloJoio.com


2nd Place:
CURTIS BRYANT—Union City GA
for
Zabette
CURTIS BRYANT
Atlanta native Curtis Bryant (b. 1949) has composed music for a wide variety of genres including orchestral, chamber, choral, art song, and grand opera.  A seven-time Emmy Award nominee, Bryant has also composed music for film, television, and video games.

Bryant's first opera, ZABETTE, a collaboration with librettist and historian Mary R. Bullard, is based on the true story of a Georgia plantation owner and his mixed-race mistress during the turbulent Civil War era.  The world premiere production in 1999 combined the vocal talents of Georgia State University with those of Morehouse and Spellman Colleges, as well as other area universities.

Bryant’s second opera, THE SECRET AGENT, based upon a libretto by forensic psychiatrist Allen Reichman, is an adaptation of the dark 1907 novel by Joseph Conrad.  The world premiere was given in 2013 by Atlanta’s Capitol City Opera Company directed by Micheal Nutter.

http://www.curtisbryantmusic.com 


3rd Place:
DOUGLAS BUCHANAN—Cockeysville, MD
for
Prospero Variations
DOUGLAS BUCHANAN
Douglas Buchanan’s (b. 1984) music has been lauded for its “sense of creative imperative” (The Philadelphia Inquirer) and being “filled with terrific orchestral color and weight, not to mention feeling” (The Baltimore Sun), leading to grants and awards from the Presser Foundation, New Music USA, the Symphony in C, and the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards. An active scholar, performer, and conductor noted for the “ability to get under the skin of [the music’s] core material” (The Scotsman), Buchanan teaches at the Peabody Conservatory and Dickinson College. As pianist and organist he has performed concerts throughout the country, including at the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art and the National Cathedral. In addition to serving as director of the Maryland Choral Society and Organist and Choirmaster at St. David’s, Baltimore, he enjoys interspecies microtonal improvisation with his black lab, Grover. You are invited to visit www.dbcomposer.com to learn more. 


Finalist—Honorable Mention:
ALLEN SHEARER—Oakland, CA
for
Middlemarch in Spring
ALLEN SHEARER
Allen Shearer has been honored with the Rome Prize Fellowship, a Charles Ives Scholarship, the Aaron Copland Award, and the Silvia Goldstein Award for a vocal work written at the Copland House. The National Endowment for the Arts has funded many of his works. His choral music has been performed widely in the U.S. and abroad. His opera The Dawn Makers, produced in San Francisco in 2009, was a finalist in the National Opera Association’s Dominick Argento Chamber Opera Competition. The 2015 premiere of his opera Middlemarch in Spring was named one of the Top Ten Operatic Events of 2015 by the San Francisco Chronicle. He composes in many media, with recent emphasis on opera. His current project is a new opera Howards End. Also a singer, he has performed and recorded in many styles, including his own works. He holds a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. 


Finalist—Honorable Mention:
JUDITH LYNN STILLMAN—Providence, RI
for
When the Music Stopped
JUDITH LYNN STILLMAN
Judith Lynn Stillman holds Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees from Juilliard.  Hailed by Wynton Marsalis as “remarkable, a consummate artist," winner of 18 competitions, Pell Award in the Arts, Stillman is Artist-in-Residence/Professor of Music at Rhode Island College, and an internationally-renowned composer, pianist, choral conductor.

Stillman's "When the Music Stopped" received national media coverage: "a breathtaking masterpiece," "Stillman's true genius shines as she catapults the audience through a multi-layered, artistically-complex presentation exploring injustice, survival and hope," "Stillman reaches for the stars and succeeds brilliantly in transporting us through darkness toward life and growth," "startlingly beautiful musical score."

Featured in world premieres at Lincoln Center; at Grammy's honoring Rostropovich; film scores for CBC-TV and Films JAD; Artist-in-Residence in China, Russia, Czech Republic, Beijing's Central Conservatory; Marlboro, Tanglewood, RI-PBS-TV, NPR. Collaborators: Wynton Marsalis (duo album, SONY), Mark O'Connor, Richard Stoltzman, Herbie Hancock (BOSE commercial), members of NY Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, Borromeo, Cassatt, Shanghai Quartets.
www.judithlynnstillman.com


The American Prize in Composition—opera, theater, film—student division

The American Prize winner:
GEORGI DIMITROV—Los Angeles, CA
for
Maximus—An Opera in One Act
GEORGI DIMITROV
Georgi writes acoustic music that explores the relationships between distinctive sound molds and the ways in which they relate, mix, and complement each other in order to create a viable sense of form. His pieces occasionally enjoy the high-definition purr that results from the inclusion of intervals tuned in just intonation. He takes great joy in, in conjunction with the above or not, further using humor in his music: from a vulgar slapstick to an elegant eruditeness. His 2014 one-act, one-hour chamber opera Maximus was premiered at the University of Southern California and performed further in Los Angeles. The opera, conducted by the composer, takes place in the near future and concerns a parking ticket that utterly destroys its protagonist’s life. It is scored for clarinet, violin, viola, cello; and a soprano, baritone, and bass who all portray multiple characters.

Active as a performer, Georgi is also a proficient string player who began practicing violin at the age of 6. He currently plays in all three of Los Angeles’ youth orchestras and is principal viola at the YMF Debut Orchestra, assistant principal viola at the newly-formed Young Artists Symphony Orchestra, and third principal viola at the American Youth Symphony. He is a member of Che-Yen Chen’s viola studio at the Thornton School of Music. 


2nd Place:
DAYTON KINNEY—Durham, NC
for
Cold Hands
DAYTON KINNEY
Dayton Kinney creates music that has won and has been recognized for numerous competitions at the international, national, and state levels. Performed in the U.S. and abroad, Dayton’s music has had notable performances by Deviant Septet, ICE, the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Rela Percussion, Zodiac Trio, the Serpili Sisters, and at Pittsburgh Opera.  Dayton’s eclectic style is inspired from neo-romantic-ideals, juxtapositions, and accessibility. Her current compositional obsession explores the concept of the “in-between” grey-area of “tonality” and “atonality” through shapes, patterns, direction, sectional comparisons, and repetition, all found throughout her works. Dayton is a doctoral student for a Ph.D. in Music - Composition at Duke University, studying with John Supko. Dayton earned her Masters of Music in Composition at Carnegie Mellon University. Dayton also holds a Bachelor of Arts, Cum Laude with Honors in Music from Smith College. Her previous composition teachers include Leonardo Balada, Salvatore Macchia, Melinda Wagner, and Alla Elana Cohen. 


3rd Place:
HARRIET STEINKE—Grosse Pointe, MI
for
Somewhere in Europe
HARRIET STEINKE
Harriet Steinke (b.1994) is a composer of contemporary classical music. Harriet’s works have been premiered within dance, art, and theatre productions involving professional and student artists as well as collaborations through youth programs in the Indianapolis area. In 2015, the Butler Community Arts School commissioned a collaborative piece for Butler University’s ArtsFest, which was premiered by several of their youth orchestras. Most of Harriet’s recent work is driven by not only artistic collaborations but also academic research. During the 2014-2015 academic year, Harriet was awarded a grant from the Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program at Butler University. She conducted research surrounding the experiences of World War II soldiers to aid to the composition of a narrative piece focused on the physical and emotional experiences of the American soldier. Harriet is currently earning her B.M. at Butler where she has studied with Frank Felice, Ronald Caltabiano, and Michael Schelle. www.HarrietSteinke.com 


Honorable Mention:
DOUGLAS BROWN—Morgantown WV
for
The Problem with This German
DOUGLAS BROWN
Douglas Brown is currently studying for a doctorate in music composition at West Virginia University.  He has a Master of Music in composition from Houghton College in New York and received Music Theory Honors at Wayland Baptist University where he completed his bachelor’s degree in theory and composition.  He has studied composition under John Beall, Gary D. Belshaw, David H. Davies, and Sun Mi Ro.

As publisher for Three Candles Music, Mr. Brown provides an avenue of promotion for the new music of living composers.  In his own compositions he uses his combined background in instrumental and vocal music to draw on a broad spectrum for writing in the postminimal style.  He also currently serves as adjunct professor in music for Wayland Baptist University in their online degree program.

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Congratulations!

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