Friday, August 23, 2019

WINNERS: composers (vocal chamber music), 2018-19

The American Prize National Nonprofit Competitions in the Performing Arts, David (Volosin) Katz, chief judge, is honored to announce the winners, runners-up and honorable mention recipients of The American Prize in Composition, 2018-19, vocal chamber music division. 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—(vocal chamber music) professional division, 2018-19

The American Prize winner:
Brian Ciach
Mountain View CA
Molna Elegy     

Brian Ciach
Brian Ciach (pronounced “SIGH-ack“, born 1977) is a composer, new music pianist, and educator in the San Francisco Bay Area, whose music has been described as "remarkably inventive" (Bloomington Herald Times) and "beautifully scored" (New Music Box). Among his works are a Vegetable Requiem for hand-made vegetable ocarinas, four piano sonatas making use of extended techniques invented by the composer, and Collective Uncommon, a set of orchestra studies inspired by the Mütter Museum, a medical oddities museum in Philadelphia, which calls for food instruments and talking dolls. Brian holds a Doctor of Music in composition from Indiana University, and two master’s degrees in composition and piano performance, as well as a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Temple University. Brian is the Assistant Director and Instructor of Piano, Music Theory, and Composition at the Hunter School of Music in San Jose, California. His compositions are published by Potenza Music. http://sigh-ackmusic.org


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Curtis Bryant
Union City GA
Letters from Jack    

Curtis Bryant
Curtis Bryant (b. 1949) composes and teaches in the Atlanta area and served on the faculty of Georgia State University School of Music for ten years. For over three decades his music has been performed throughout North America and worldwide in concerts, music festivals and on radio and television. Bryant composes for virtually all concert media including chamber, choral, orchestral, art song, and opera. He is a 2016 winner of THE AMERICAN PRIZE in composition opera/theater/film division for his opera ZABETTE and a 2017 winner in the vocal chamber music division for his song cycle THE LAUGHING MONKEYS OF GRAVITY.

Premiered in 1994 by the contemporary music ensemble Thamyris, LETTERS FROM JACK is a chamber-vocal setting of four selections from Bryant’s own collection of twenty-two symbolic poems entitled THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT, depicting images from the tarot, the Hebrew alphabet and Kabbalah, presented as an “epic nursery rhyme.”


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Moshe Shulman
Buffalo NY
Seven Prophetesses 

Moshe Shulman
Russian-born Israeli composer, violin, viola, bandoneon and accordion player, Moshe Shulman (b.1978) holds a Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in composition from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and the PhD degree in composition from the NY State University at Buffalo, studying with Mark Kopytman, David Felder and Johannes Schollhorn through the years. His music was performed in Israel, Canada, United States, Russia and France and Hungary with various ensembles such as Norrbotten NEO and Juventas New Music Ensemble, Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Meridian Brass Quintet, Slee Sinfonietta (Buffalo, NY), International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE) and Arditti Quartet.

As a student he received numerous award, scholarships and assistantships from Israel and USA. He received a 2015 Fromm Foundation Commission from Harvard University. In summer 2009, Moshe won 3rd prize for “Construction 3” at the Jurgenson Contemporary Music International Competition in Moscow.

He is on the Walden Summer Music Camp Faculty since 2014, and University at Buffalo adjunct professor. www.mosheshulman.com      


3rd Place:
Dorothy Hindman
Miami FL
The Pillow Book

Dorothy Hindman
Described as “bright with energy and lilting lyricism” (New York Classical Review), “dramatic, highly strung” (Fanfare), and “utterly rich with purpose and heart” (Huffington Post), Dorothy Hindman’s compositions have been performed at Carnegie Hall, the United Nations, the American Academy in Rome, Amsterdam’s Muziekgebouw, Havana Contemporary Music Festival, Australian Flute Festival, and many others.  She has been commissioned by Bent Frequency, Empire City Men’s Chorus, Goliard Ensemble, Caravel String Quartet, Corona Guitar Kvartet, and more.

Awards and recognition include a 2017 Seaside Escape2Create Fellowship, Iron Composer 2015, a 2015 Artist Access Grant from the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, the Nancy Van de Vate International Composition Prize for Opera, International Society of Bassists Composition Competition, NACUSA, and more.

Hindman’s CDs include innova’s Tapping the Furnace and Tightly Wound (Spring 2017). Publishers include Subito, NoteNova, and dorn/Needham. She is Associate Professor of Composition at the Frost School of Music.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
David Feurzeig
Huntington VT
Lingua Franca     

David Feurzeig
The music of David Feurzeig has been performed throughout the US and in New Zealand, Asia, and Europe. His Songs of Love and Protest were sung in the Semper Opera House by the Dresden Chamber Chorus for the city’s 800th jubilee, and he was twice a featured guest of the International Composers’ Festival in Bangkok. Recent commissions include works for the Vermont Symphony, Burlington Chamber Orchestra, Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, and Bella Voce Choir. A CD featuring Lingua Franca will be released by American Modern Recordings in Fall 2018. A pianist as well, Feurzeig is the recipient of the Silver Medal in the Piano-Playing Contest of the Old-Time Music Preservation Association (OM-PA), which also awarded him the Remarkably Small Trophy for Best Original Ragtime Composition for his Stravinsky spoof Stride Rite. Feurzeig is Associate Professor of music at the University of Vermont, where he teaches composition and theory. www.uvm.edu/~dfeurzei


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Judith Lynn Stillman
Providence RI
Poet As Immortal Bird     

Judith Lynn Stillman
Judith Lynn Stillman holds Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees from The Juilliard School, was hailed by Wynton Marsalis as “a remarkable virtuoso, a consummate artist," won 18 competitions, Pell Award in the Arts, Bannister Award for Civil Service in the Arts, is the Artist-in-Residence and Music Professor at Rhode Island College, and an internationally-renowned composer, pianist, choral conductor.

Featured in world premieres at Lincoln Center; highlights include Marlboro, Tanglewood, visiting Artist-in-Residence in China, Russia, Czech Republic, Beijing’s Central Conservatory, Prague Conservatory. Collaborators include: Jordan Rudess, Mark O'Connor, Richard Stoltzman, Herbie Hancock in BOSE commercial; members of NY Philharmonic, Boston Symphony; Borromeo, Cassatt, Shanghai, Lydian, Muir Quartets; performer at Grammy's in honor of Rostropovich; duo album with Wynton Marsalis on SONY.

Stillman's compositions have premiered with Metropolitan Opera stars, received extensive national media coverage, featured centerpieces of Czech Embassy's Holocaust Commemoration and RI-PBS-TV documentary. Received numerous awards in film festivals as filmmaker/composer.


Honorable Mention:
Robert Denham
La Mirada CA
Sutter Creek    

Robert Denham
Robert Denham’s music includes works of every genre and has been performed to great acclaim across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.  He has worked closely with Carl St. Clair and the Pacific Symphony Chamber Orchestra, who recently premiered his 65-minute oratorio, Under the Shadow with the Biola University Chorale.  Other recent premiers include his three-movement Concerto for Flute and Orchestra (first performed by Brian Bensing and the Cambrian Symphony Orchestra) and The Way Home for two sopranos and piano (commissioned by the “Soprani Compagni” trio).  Other champions of Denham’s music include Timothy Lees (Concertmaster, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra), Rodney Winther (Conductor, CCM Wind Symphony and Chamber Players), Elizabeth Larson (Credo Trio), and singers Susan Ali, Tyler Thompson, and Joel Balzun.  Recent prizes include first prize in the Flute New Music Consortium Composition Competition (solo flute with piano) and an Honorable Mention for the 2017 American Prize (choral division).


Honorable Mention: 
William Vollinger
Woodcliff Lake NJ
God's Optimism 

William Vollinger
William Vollinger’s music is described as “3D: different, direct and deep”, performed by artists including the Gregg Smith Singers and NY Vocal Arts Ensemble, whose performance of “Three Songs About the Resurrection” won first prize at the Geneva International Competition. His music is published by Abingdon, API, Heritage, Kjos, Lawson-Gould, and Laurendale. Five works were editor's choices in the J.W. Pepper Catalogue. Recent premieres included Jackson State Symphony, San Francisco Choral Artists, Ridgewood Concert Band, Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony and Garden State Philharmonic. In the past three years, ten of his compositions have been nominated for the American Prize, with “Stalin and the Little Girl” receiving a Judge's Citation for "Exceptional Theatrical Sense in a Unique Monodrama." Hartshorn Recordings has released an album of his works this year.


Honorable Mention: 
Ruth Weber
Escondido CA  
Songs of an Immigrant

Ruth Weber
Ruth’s Weber's music has been recorded in the U.S. and abroad, and she has been a winner of many prestigious awards including the  Canadian Songwriting Competition, Jewish American Songwriting Competition, Music City Song Festival, John Lennon Songwriting Competition and the Shalshelet Music Festival.  Her songs have appeared in films and print music. 52

Ruth has performs internationally, and has worked as a coach for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute, Opera Aguascalientes, CSUN, and as a recording artist with the Marantz Pianocorder Division. 

Ruth directs the San Diego Jewish Men’s Choir. Their 2015 CD release, KOCHI, debuted at #3 on the Billboard World Music Charts and received numerous awards.
Her newest children's music CD, The Spaceship that Fell in My Backyard, was awarded a Family Choice, NAPPA, Kid's First, Tilywig Tons of Fun, Global Music Award, and Hot Diggity Award.

Ruth is a music instructor at Palomar College and San Diego Miramar College.




The American Prize in Composition—(vocal chamber music) professional division, 2018-19

The American Prize winner:
Zach Gulaboff Davis
Salem OR
Opaque Etchings   

Zach Gulaboff Davis
Zach Gulaboff Davis is a composer who strives to write music that is enjoyable and meaningful for audiences and performers alike. Zach’s compositions have been performed across the globe at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Bulgaria’s National Plaice of Culture, Norway’s Arctic Cathedral, the International Trumpet Guild, and at schools of music and conservatories across the country. Zach holds a B.A. in piano performance and composition/theory, summa cum laude, from Linfield College, Oregon, and a M.M. in composition from Mannes College of Music in New York City. He is currently a doctoral student in composition at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University, studying under Pulitzer-prizewinning composer Kevin Puts. This summer, Zach will serve as the Brevard Institute's composition fellow under a full fellowship.     


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Maria Kaoutzani
Chicago IL
Toward the Light     

Maria Kaoutzani
Maria Kaoutzani (b. 1993) is a composer originally, from Cyprus based in Chicago, IL. Color and texture are central elements in her work, and she enjoys exploring how a number of instruments can function as a unified entity that evolves in time. She is also interested in the creation of musical spaces that surround the listener, where distinct layers can be heard developing and interacting with one another. Kaoutzani's works have been performed in Europe, the US and Latin America. Her influences include Kaija Saariaho, György Ligeti and Tania León. Kaoutzani is studying towards a PhD in Music Composition at the University of Chicago, and holds a Master’s in Music Theory and Composition from New York University  and an undergraduate degree in music from the University of York.  Past collaborators include Arizona-based poet and cellist Ruth Wegner and Greek visual artist Nicos Kyprianou.  |  mariakaoutzani.com


2nd Place (there was a tie):
Julia Seeholzer
Santa Monica CA
Portraits of Disquiet  

Julia Seeholzer
Julia Seeholzer is an American composer currently living in Warsaw, Poland. Her pieces have been performed by ensembles including Juventas New Music, Vive! Ensemble, fivebyfive, and members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Her work has been commissioned by University of Chicago’s Camerata, Anabel Taylor Chapel Choir, Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra, and others.
She takes much of her compositional influence from color – intervallic relationships conjure specific hues, which in turn dictate a piece’s direction. When composing for voice, text further impacts each piece’s color spectrum. Julia currently performs with and composes for Professor Paweł Łukaszewski’s choir, Musica Sacra.


3rd Place:
Joseph Sowa
Simsbury CT
Blossom Music     

Joseph Sowa
Joseph Sowa grew up playing violin and listening to orchestral broadcasts on NPR. Surrounded by these sounds, he wanted to make more of them.

His concert works have been played by Ensemble Dal Niente, the PRISM Quartet, Collage New Music, the Lydian String Quartet, Quartetto Indaco, the BYU Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestras, Jaren Hinckley, and Daniel Stepner, among others.

He has been commissioned by performers including Collage New Music, the Genesis Chamber Singers, the Farallon Quintet, Carolyn Hove, Roger Roe, and Neil Thornock as well as foundations including the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition.

Joseph’s sacred music has been performed in congregations across the United States and in London. His arrangement of “For the Beauty of the Earth” was recorded by soprano Charity Tillemann-Dick on her album American Grace, which debuted no. 1 on the Billboard® “Traditional Classical” chart.

Joseph is a PhD candidate (ABD) in composition and theory at Brandeis University.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
William F. Montgomery
Baton Rouge LA
The Child Born; The Witch has Told You a Story; Changing Weather Patterns    

William F. Montgomery
William F.  Montgomery is a composer, pianist, and teacher currently finishing the 2nd year of his Ph.D. in Music Composition. William is currently studying with Dr. Mara Gibson but has previously studied composition with Dr. Philip Lasser, Dr. James Winn, Dr. Jean – Paul Perrotte, and Dr. Thom Hasenpflug. William received his Bachelor of Arts in Piano at Idaho State University and his Master of Music in Music Composition at the University of Nevada, Reno. William placed first at the Idaho State University Undergraduate Research Symposium, and first place at the University of Nevada, Reno, Composition Competition. This past July, William studied composition, counterpoint, and harmony in Paris as part of the EAMA/Nadia Boulanger Institute which he received a fellowship to attend. William’s research interests lie in Spectral Music, French composer Kaija Saariaho, and the intersection of art and music. You can find out more at williammontgomerycomposer.com.



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Congratulations!

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