Monday, June 8, 2020

Winners: COMPOSERS (shorter choral works), 2019-20

The American Prize wishes everyone safety and health during this difficult time.
 


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 of The American Prize in Composition, 2019-20, in the shorter choral music division. Winners in the choral division (major works) were announced in the previous post today. 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.

REMINDER: Because of the current national and international situation, many rules have been changed and requirements eased to make it easier to apply for The American Prize 2020-21, In addition, we will accept applications from CLASSICAL VOCALISTS, PIANISTS, CHAMBER ENSEMBLES and INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS postmarked or emailed by the new extended deadline date of Monday, June 23, 2020. Applications from COMPOSERS, CONDUCTORS, STAGE DIRECTORS, CONDUCTED ENSEMBLES, ARTS MARKETERS and in the performance of American Music (BACON AWARD) will be accepted until Monday, July 20, 2020. Visit theamericanprize.org for complete contest information.


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


The American Prize in Composition—Choral octavos (professional division), 2019-20

The American Prize winner:
Donald Skirvin    
Seattle   WA        

Fontainebleau and Arcturus in autumn; Dusty Gold      
Donald Skirvin    
Donald Skirvin studied music at the Jordan Conservatory of Music, Indianapolis, and at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is a member of ASCAP, and his music is available through J. W. Pepper, SMP Press, Yelton Rhodes Music, and as self-published works. He is Resident Composer Emeritus for The Esoterics, a position he assumed after fifteen years as their Resident Composer. His choral music is available on eleven CDs, many of which are available from Naxos of America. Featured composer in the prestigious PROJECT:ENCORE catalog of juried works, recipient of National Endowment for the Arts grants, ArtsWA funding, and numerous commissions from both local and national ensembles, his music has been described as “rich in imagery wrought by imaginative use of harmony and apt, sensitive text-setting . . . gorgeous music that speaks well for this composer's facility with voices. . . meaningful, beautiful, heartfelt, (and) technically superb.” More information at www.donaldmskirvin.com


2nd Place:
Bruce Babcock    
Pasadena  CA       
Be Still        

Bruce Babcock    
Bruce Babcock is an Emmy-winning composer who has been successful in both film and television, and the concert hall. Babcock holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in music composition from California State University, Northridge. Babcock’s mentors in Hollywood included Hugo Friedhofer, Paul Glass, and Earle Hagen.

Bruce's music has been performed at Carnegie Hall and Boston Metro Opera, and recorded by The Crossing, the Debussy Trio, Juliana Gondek, Doug Masek, and the Altius and Armadillo string quartets, and performed by Hila Plitmann, the Antioch Ensemble, the Donald Brinegar Singers, the Haga Motettkör of Göteborg, Sweden, the Space Coast Symphony, and at the Santa Barbara Chamber Music Festival and the Beverly Hills International Music Festival, as well as inside the dome of the 100-inch telescope at Mount Wilson Observatory. His music is included on six different albums on the Navona/Parma Recordings label.


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Oliver Caplan     
Medford   MA       
We Exist        

Oliver Caplan     
Award-winning American composer Oliver Caplan writes melodies that nourish our souls, offering a voice of hope in an uncertain world. Inspired by the resiliency of the human spirit and beauty of the natural world, his music celebrates stories of social justice, conservation and community.

Mr. Caplan’s works have been performed in over 125 performances nationwide. He has been commissioned by the Atlanta Chamber Players, Bella Piano Trio, Bronx Arts Ensemble, Brookline Symphony Orchestra, Columbia University Wind Ensemble and New Hampshire Master Chorale, among others. Winner of a Special Citation for the American Prize in Orchestral Composition, additional recognitions include two Veridian Symphony Competition Wins, the Fifth House Ensemble Competition Grand Prize, seven ASCAP Awards, and fellowships at VCCA and the Brush Creek Foundation. Recordings of Mr. Caplan’s music include his 2017 release You Are Not Alone, which has been featured on Apple Music’s Classical A-list, 2012 debut album Illuminations and a track on the Sinfonietta of Riverdale’s 2016 album New World Serenade (Albany Records).

Mr. Caplan is the Artistic Director of Juventas New Music Ensemble. He holds degrees from Dartmouth College and the Boston Conservatory, is a voting member of the Recording Academy, and resides in Medford, Massachusetts. 


3rd Place (there was a tie):
Stacey Philipps   
Portland  OR       
Sudden Light 

Stacey Philipps   
Stacey Philipps writes music exploring the human experience and the timbre of voices and instruments in minute, exposed detail and vibrant, sweeping gestures. A lifelong choral singer, Philipps is an early- and new-music devotee, and she sings with the Oregon Repertory Singers. Her vocal interests extend to a love of composing choral music and art song, as well as collaborating with solo instrumentalists and chamber music ensembles.

A sometime pianist and frequent dabbler in playing underappreciated instruments – Philipps has an accordion, mountain dulcimer, ukulele, and banjo and pines for a harpsichord, viola da gamba, and all the crotales – she holds degrees in music composition from Portland State University and in philosophy from St. John’s College, Santa Fe. She is a member of the American Composers Forum, the National Association of Composers, Cascadia Composers, and ASCAP and is the proprietor of Sirensong Publishing, the sole distributor of her work at www.staceyphilipps.com.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Gerald Gurss      
St. Paul  MN       
Chris & Gabe    

Gerald Gurss      
Dr. Gerald Gurss, native Kansan, received his Bachelor’s degree in voice at Emporia State University and his master’s degree in voice from Miami University, where he studied with William Bausano and Ethan Sperry. Gerald received his DMA in choral conducting from the University of South Carolina, where he studied with Dr. Larry Wyatt and Dr. Alicia Walker. His research focus is the inclusion and pedagogy of transgender singers in the choral rehearsal. From 2008-2018, Gerald resided in Charlotte, NC where he served as the artistic director for One Voice Chorus (Charlotte’s LGBT chorus).

Gerald has been commissioned by groups such as: One Voice Charlotte, The Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte, Providence United Methodist Church (Charlotte, NC, Turtle Creek Chorale (TX), Sine Nomine (Denver, CO), the University of South Carolina Women's Chorus, and Portland State University. Currently, Gerald serves as the artistic director for the Twin Cities Gay Men's Chorus. 


The American Prize in Composition—Choral octavos (student division), 2019-20


The American Prize winner:
Christian Jesse      
Dallas    TX       
Magnificat & Nunc Dimittis 

Christian Jesse      
Christian James Jesse (b.1994) is a composer who has a passion for writing in all mediums. As of Spring 2019, Christian has composed for various ensembles, musicians, video games and film.

Recently, Christian was awarded the Student Composer-in-Residence for the SMU-Irving Symphony Orchestra’s 2018-2019 season. Earlier in 2018, Christian participated in the Choral Arts Initiative Premiere|Project Festival. Christian has received awards and scholarships such as 1st place in the 2016 Wisconsin Alliance for Composers' Student Composer Competition, the 2017 Spring UWO Concerto Competition for Composition, the 2019 SMU Roy and Sue Johnson Award, and the 2016 UWO Edna and Judson Loomis Prize in Music.

Christian is pursuing his M.M. in Composition at Southern Methodist University, studying under Dr. Robert Frank and Dr. Kevin Hanlon. Christian received his B.A. in Music Composition at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh under the guidance of Dr. Eric Barnum, Dr. Ed Martin, and Dr. John Mayrose. 


2nd Place:
Chung Hon Michael Cheng      
Sugar Land TX       
Veritas: Through the Centuries  

Chung Hon Michael Cheng      
Hong Kong-born Chung Hon Michael Cheng started piano at age four and composing around age six. Since coming to the U.S. in 2006, his mentors have included Prof. Robert Kyr and Dr. Ann Witherspoon.

Cheng was the third-place student winner of the 2018 American Prize in Choral Composition. He was also the national winner of the 2012 Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Composition Competition and the 2011/2014 national runner-up. In 2016, he was awarded the Hugh F. MacColl Prize in Music Composition by Harvard’s Music Department, and in 2017, his Cavatine was selected for PBS’s Poetry in America. He also earned the Licentiate of Trinity College London (LTCL) in Music Composition with Distinction in 2013. Major performances have included the Grammy-awarded Parker Quartet, the Antioch Chamber Ensemble, and the Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum, as well as the Harvard Commencement Choir. Cheng graduated from Harvard College in 2019 and currently attends MIT.


3rd Place:
Nicolas Chuaqui    
Rochester  NY       
Pater, si non potest 

Nicolas Chuaqui    
Praised for its "sharp and precise imagery," the music of Nicolas Chuaqui has been recognized for its interest and imagination.

His acoustic music has been heard at many prominent showcases for young composers, such as June in Buffalo, and has been performed by such well-recognized ensembles as the Arditti Quartet and The Crossing. His music incorporating electronic media has been featured at several important venues, such as the International Computer Music Conference, New York City Electroacousic Music Festival, and Diffrazioni Multimedia Festival (Florence, Italy). His vocal and operatic music has been awarded by various organizations, and his first opera, The Forest of Dreams, was premiered in a fully-staged production by New Voices Opera in 2016.

In addition to composition, Chuaqui is very active as a vocalist and as a pianist. He is also a teaching assistant at the Eastman School of Music, where he teaches music theory and composition.


Finalist Honorable Mention:
Elisa K. Johnson    
Seattle   WA       
As I Journey Through My Life    

Elisa K. Johnson    
Elisa Johnson is in 8th grade and lives in the Pacific Northwest. She began playing the piano when she was five and composing when she was nine. She joined the Northwest Girlchoir (NWGC) in third grade. In 2017, it performed her first choral composition, Dreams are Here. In June 2019, the NWGC performed another piece by Elisa: As I Journey Through My Life.

Last year, Elisa was one of ten local young composers selected to participate in the Seattle Symphony’s Merriman Family Young Composers Workshop, where students are invited to work on all aspects of composing, including writing themes, learning orchestration and preparing a final score with parts. The 12-week composition course culminates in a chamber concert of their own world premieres, performed by Seattle Symphony musicians.

Elisa also plays the erhu, a two-stringed Chinese instrument and when time permits, performs with the Seattle Chinese Orchestra.


***

Congratulations!

No comments:

Post a Comment