Tuesday, January 31, 2017

COMPOSER WINNERS: orchestra (revised)

(This posting was revised June 8, 2017 to include an additional Judge's Citation recipient in the professional division.)

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners,  runners-up, citation recipients and honorable mentions of The American Prize in Composition, 2016, in the orchestra 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.

QUICKNOTES: Although The American Prize does not usually provide written evaluations to semi-finalists, some semi-finalist composers will receive in their certificate packets short comments, suggestions or overall impressions made during the judging. We hope they will prove valuable. 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—orchestra—professional division

The American Prize winner:
Chase the Stars

Jennifer Bellor is a versatile composer whose works blend contemporary jazz, classical, and rock styles. Her works have been performed by national and international organizations such as Washington National Opera, Lviv Philharmonic, Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, UNLV Wind Orchestra, ShoutHouse, Eastman New Jazz Ensemble, Mivos Quartet, and many others in the United States and abroad. She has been recognized for both her concert music and jazz, with awards including 2016 Elevate Ensemble Call for Scores winner, 2015 IAWM Judith Lang Zaimont prize for Skylark Lullaby, 2014 Seattle Women’s Jazz Composition prize, and a 2013 Downbeat Award for Midnight Swim.  

Jennifer’s debut album “Stay” (2016) was featured on NewMusicBox’s Staff Picks as an album displaying a “wonderful demonstration of how to maintain a highly individual compositional identity without needing to take refuge in pre-post-genre musical silos.” (Frank J. Oteri, NewMusicBox). The track “Chase the Stars” that was featured on the NewMusicBox playlist was commissioned by the ShoutHouse ensemble for premiere in December 2015, and was later recorded at UNLV featuring Jennifer Bellor, soprano; Rasar Amani, rapper; and UNLV students and faculty. The review by No Depression magazine praised the album for its stylistic diversity, considering both her compositions and vocals as “raw and wild with a beauty that’s so enchanting it is unforgettable.”  

Jennifer earned a PhD in music composition at Eastman School of Music, a Master of Music degree in composition at Syracuse University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in music at Cornell University. She is currently Visiting Lecturer at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she teaches courses in music composition and theory. For more information, please visit www.jenniferbellor.com.   

2nd Place:
Kutimbua Kivumbi (Stomp the Dust)

Shawn E. Okpebholo (b.1981) is widely sought-after, award-winning, and versatile composer. His music has been performed on five continents, in over thirty states, and in almost every major U.S. city. He regularly receives commissions from noted soloists, chamber groups, and large ensembles—artists who have performed his music at some of the nation’s greatest venues, including the Kennedy Center. Dr. Okpebholo earned his masters and doctoral degrees in composition from the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), a bachelor’s degree in composition and music history from Asbury College, and additional studies at New York University. He has guest lectured and given master classes at numerous colleges and universities across the country as well as two universities in Nigeria. Currently, he is Associate Professor of Composition and Theory at Wheaton College Conservatory of Music, having previously taught at Union University, Northern Kentucky University, and CCM. For more information, visit: www.shawnokpebholo.com.

3rd Place:
PURE, COOL (Water) - Symphony No. 4

Judith Lang Zaimont’s music: performed world-wide and acclaimed for immediacy, dynamism and emotion. Her style features the spirit of rhapsody, sudden shifts in texture, high emotion and nuanced coloring. 100+ works include many prize-winners including: 4 symphonies, chamber opera, music for wind ensemble, chorus and solo voice, works for individual instruments plus a wide variety of chamber music. / Performed by: Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore and Mississippi Symphonies, Camerata Bern, Berlin and Czech Radio Symphonies, Kremlin Chamber Orchestra, etc). 24 current CDs (Naxos, MSR, Harmonia Mundi, Navona, Albany) - includes 2010 Orchestra music (Kirk Trevor: Slovak Philharmonic), 2011 Chamber music (Eternal Evolution: Fanfare 2011 Want List, Navona); 2; 2012  Piano solo(Naxos, MSR: Fanfare 2012 Want List). / Recent works include CONCERTO for Piano and Wind Orchestra (awarded a 2012 American 3rd Prize in Orchestral Composition), JoyDance in Spring 2012 commission by Camerata Bern, and PURE, COOL (Water) - Symphony no. 4 (2014 Sorel Commissioned Composer - Niels Muus, Janacek Philharmonic).  / Works on repertoire lists for major international performance contests in voice, conducting, piano (Cliburn ’01, San Antonio, ’03,  Kapell ’12, APA, 2017);  two of her pieces are on Century Lists./ Guggenheim Fellowship, awards from both National Endowments (NEA: composition /NEH: scholarship),  / 2015 First Prize for chamber music (The American Prize), 2014 Sorel Commissioned Composer (PURE, COOL (Water) - Symphony no. 4 ),  2012The American Prize in Orchestral Composition (one of 3), two 2012 First Prizes for chamber music, 2005 Bush Foundation Fellowship, and  2003 Aaron Copland Award. / Significant orch. prizes: First Prize- Gold Medal Gottschalk Centenary International; First Prize Statue of Liberty Centennial; and First Prize- International McCollin Competition (Symphony No. 1)./Also Co-Director of Maricopa ARTS Council, and Co-Founder, Maricopa Music Circle chamber orchestra, a distinguished educator - professor appointments for 3 decades at US universities, and a skilled writer. www.jzaimont.com

JUDGE'S CITATION: "Grandly American"
MARK ARNEST   Colorado Springs CO
Ludlow: Four Scenes for Orchestra

Mark Arnest (b. 1954) is a composer, pianist, and playwright. His compositions have been performed by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, the Chamber Orchestra of the Springs, and the Veronika String Quartet. Major works include Ludlow: Four Scenes for Orchestra; All About Love, a musical adaptation of Plato's Symposium; Pike’s Dream, an opera commissioned for the 2006 Zebulon Pike bicentennial; Towards the Garden, commissioned to commemorate the centennial of the giving of the Garden of the Gods to the city of Colorado Springs; and The Notorious Nugget, a silly but smart melodrama. He and his wife Lauren are currently working on Iron & Gold, an opera/musical about railroads, robber barons, and labor in 19th Century America. Mark is music director at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, teaches at the Colorado Springs Conservatory, and is music director/pianist at the Iron Springs Chateau. There’s more about Mark and Lauren’s work at millionmonkeys.us. 

JUDGE'S CITATION: "Exceptional Concerto"
Violin Concerto No. 3—Water Spirit

Ching-chu Hu studied at Yale University, Freiburg Musikhochschule in Freiburg, Germany, The University of Iowa, and the University of Michigan. Honors includes composer-in-residence at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival, the American Music Week Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria, the Aspen and Bowdoin Music Festivals, The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Banff Centre for the Arts.  He has received performances at various international festivals and venues, including the Alternativa Festival (Center “DOM”) in Moscow and Wigmore Hall in London, England. Ensembles performing his work include the Kiev Philharmonic, the National Dance and Opera Orchestra of China, the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Youth Orchestra, Moscow Conservatory’s Studio New Music Ensemble, Newark Granville Symphony, Brave New Works, the University of Iowa Center for New Music, ETHEL, Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, and Brooklyn Rider. His music can be found on Albany Records, ERM Media, Capstone Records, and online. He is the Richard Lucier Endowed Professor of Music at Denison University.  More information can be found: chingchuhu.com.

JUDGE'S CITATION: "Bringing American History to Life through Music"
My Dearest Friend – The Letters of John and Abigail Adams
A native of Boston, Patricia Leonard’s early musical training began with piano studies, followed by composition studies at The New England Conservatory. She received a degree in Composition from The Boston Conservatory of Music. Principal composition teachers include Larry Thomas Bell and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Del Tredici.

Ms. Leonard’s music is performed frequently in the U.S. and in Europe, and her music has been premiered by acclaimed ensembles and artists such as the New York Piano Quintet, featuring members of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; Broadway singer Timothy Shew; Grammy Award-winning clarinetist Eddie Daniels and renowned contemporary music pianist Christopher Oldfather.

In recent news, her newest work “My Dearest Friend – The Letters of John and Abigail Adams” won the 2015 Opera America Award and will be mounted as an opera in 2016 in Boston, Philadelphia and in Washington, D.C. at the White House. www.patricialeonardmusic.com

JUDGE'S CITATION: "Exceptional Concerto"
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra: In Truth

Lucas Richman’s music has been performed by over two hundred orchestras across the United States including the New York Philharmonic and the Boston Pops. He has fulfilled commissions for numerous organizations including the symphonies of Pittsburgh, San Diego and Knoxville and, most recently, a work for the Organ Artists Series of Pittsburgh. Albany Records recently released a new CD featuring the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra performing his Concerto for Piano and Orchestra: In Truth. Mr. Richman has served as Music Director for the Bangor Symphony Orchestra since 2010 and Music Director for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra from 2003-2015. Mr. Richman received a GRAMMY Award (2011) for Best Classical Crossover Album; he has appeared as guest conductor with numerous orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony, the Oslo Philharmonic and the Iceland Symphony Orchestra. For more information, visit www.lucasrichman.com and www.ledorgroup.com. 

JUDGE'S CITATION: "Exceptional Concerto"
Concerto for Saxophone

Simoncic’s music has been performed throughout the USA and Europe. Some of the more recent performances include; Concerto for Accordion and Orchestra,  Tango for Strings, a Concerto for Guitar and Orchestra performed by the Adelphi Chamber Orchestra in New Jersey, Concerto for Marimba Piano and Symphonic Band, premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York, A Short Symphony and Violin Concerto premiered by the St. John's Chamber Orchestra. Fanfare for Wind Ensemble performed at Carnegie Hall, and Fanfare and March for the Lodi Community Band. Since the age of 8, when he wrote his first pieces and to this day, Simoncic finds composing both mysterious and exciting!

JEFFREY BERNSTEIN    La Canada/Flintridge CA
Dreams of Japan
Jeffrey Bernstein is a California-based composer, conductor, pianist and educator. He is founding director of the Pasadena Master Chorale and artistic director of the Los Angeles Daiku. Bernstein has led choirs on fourteen tours of four continents and traveled extensively as a guest conductor, directing choirs and orchestras in Europe, Japan and throughout this country. Recently premiered works include Dreams of Japan with the Tokushima Symphony, Fukushima Requiem with the Los Angeles Daiku Orchestra, and The Human Journey, commissioned and premiered by the L.A. Choral Lab. Bernstein has released three albums of original piano music, PianoJournals (2012) and Clear Mind Calm Water (2015), and The Desert House (2015). In 2015 he received honorable mention in the choral division of the American Prize for Composition. He holds music degrees from Harvard, Yale and UCLA and is a committed educator and advocate for young people.

EDGAR GIRTAIN     Riverdale NJ
Isolation: Day
Edgar Girtain is an emerging american composer who writes concert music for vocal, orchestral, and chamber mediums.  With musical roots in New Jersey, his music is frequently performed at universities and concert halls around the world.  He is currently a music theory teacher, he holds a BM and MA in Music Education and Composition, respectively.  www.edgarfgirtainiv.com

Ben Goldberg is a New York-based composer who has received awards for his concert music, film music, and academic achievements. His orchestral works have been performed by the Central Ohio Symphony, Reno Philharmonic Youth Strings Symphonia, Susanville Symphony, and UC Davis Symphony Orchestra.  His composition Reconnecting, scored for drum circle and orchestra, has been featured in Symphony Magazine and at The League of American Orchestras and Percussive Arts Society national conferences.  He was the winner of the 2013 Susanville Symphony Composition Competition, and selected as the only orchestral Composer Fellow for the 2015 UC Davis Music and Words festival and Composition Workshop.  He was a finalist for Symphony Number One’s 2015 call for scores and has composed a new work to be performed at their Light City Baltimore concert.  Goldberg is one of three composers selected for the Lexington Philharmonic’s 2016 New Music Experiment. www.bengoldbergmusic.com

DANIEL REIN    Jersey City NJ
Improvisations on Misirlou
Daniel Rein is a New York-based composer and pianist. Shaped by the cultural diversity of his native city - Jerusalem, he displays creativity and virtuosity across multiple musical genres. His compositions are characterized by blurring the boundaries between concert music, musical theater, pop songs and middle-eastern music. As a pianist, Daniel performed in international piano competitions, with the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra, and in the International Association for Jazz Education Conference in California. He is a graduate of the Jerusalem Academy of Music and the Royal Academy Of Music in London, and is a member of the prestigious BMI Lehman-Engel Musical Theatre Workshop. In Daniel’s words: “In the multicultural locale of Jerusalem, extreme tension resulting from political conflicts is part of the atmosphere. However, I have seen the possibility of dialogue between different cultures as a very powerful harmonic experience.”

The American Prize in Composition—orchestra—student division

The American Prize winner:
A Little Tramp Walking in the Assembly Line

Composer Jihyun Kim (b.1989)'s music has been performed in the prestigious venues around the world, including The Cloisters at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, DiMenna Center, Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence Italy, and Seoul Arts Center in Korea. Jihyun’s works were performed by such ensembles as JACK Quartet, PUBLIQuartet, Asciano Quartet, and Karien Ensemble, with upcoming engagements including a collaboration with the poet, Ishion Hutchinson, as a part of Ensemble X's concert “Songs of the Land: Poems of Ishion Hutchinson”. Jihyun's new song "Moved by the Beauty of Trees"  will be premiered by pianist Xak Bjerken with guest mezzo-soprano Rachel Calloway at Barnes Hall, Cornell University. In addition, Kim has been selected to participate at the Tanglewood Music Center 2017 as a composition fellow. Honors for Jihyun’s music include PUBLIQ Access, RedNote New Music Composition Competition, Florence String Quartet Competition, Juventas Ensemble Call for Scores, among many others. Kim's works were featured in the University of South Florida New Music Festival, Midwest Composers Symposium, Korean Music Expo. Recently, Kim’s music has been published by Editro Sconfinarte and XXI Century Archives. Kim is currently pursuing DMA in Composition at Cornell University as a Sage Fellowship recipient. Jihyun previously received her M.M. degree in Composition from Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University while serving as an Associate Instructor in Music Theory department, and B.M degree in Composition from Yonsei University in Seoul. Jihyun's composition teachers have included Kevin Ernste, Claude Baker, PQ Phan, Sunghyun Yun, and Texu Kim.

2nd Place:
From Sombre Lands

Composer Peter Dayton writes music that appeals to diverse listeners through its remarkable combination of energy and intimacy. Described by The Baltimore Sun as having “a refined sense of melodic arcs and harmonic motion,” Dayton’s compositions have been performed across the North America and in Europe. His orchestral pieces have been recorded by the Brno Philharmonic for the Ablaze label; selections of his choral music have been recorded by Minneapolis’s First Reading’s Choir

Dayton often turns visual art or poetry to spark artistic responses. The works of Peruvian painter Fernando de Szyszlo have inspired a number of Dayton’s pieces. As a creator of choral works, he draws upon both modern and classic texts, and “expresses the essence of each text tellingly” (Baltimore Sun). Dayton is himself an active poet. He has written the libretto for his own one-act chamber opera about the poet Gertrude Stein’s first love affair. Website: peterdaytonmusic.com 

3rd Place:
Overture to a New Day, A Cypress Prelude

Nashville native Christopher Lowry is emerging as one of the leading violists and most performed composers of his generation. His music has been performed by the Nashville Symphony, Nashville Philharmonic, Imperial Symphony, Austin Peay State University Symphony, Middle TN State University Symphony, Vanderbilt Wind Symphony, Blair Chamber Choir, “The President’s Own” US Marine Band, members of the Taipei Symphony and Seoul Philharmonic, New York All-State String Orchestra, Plainview Old-Bethpage JFK High School String Orchestra, and many youth orchestras from around the country. Lowry has won awards in the Alabama Symphony Call for Scores, BandWidth Music Festival Call for Scores, Missouri Composers Orchestra Project Competition, World Projects Composition Competition, NAfME Composition Competition, Frank Van Der Stucken Award, Nashville Philharmonic Composition Competition, Anton Stadler International Basset Clarinet Composition Competition, among others. Lowry holds a BM degree from Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music and a MM degree from LSU, where he is currently working towards his DMA.


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