Monday, July 1, 2013

Announcing COMPOSITION WINNERS, runners-up: orchestra—2013

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners and runners-up of The American Prize in Composition: Orchestra, 2013. (Updated July 31, 2013)

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, PROFESSIONAL Division, 2013.

The American Prize winner:
Alessandra Salvati (Miami, FL)—"TEKTOSYNE" Three Architectures for Orchestra
Alessandra Salvati
Alessandra Salvati was born in Naples, Italy, where she was trained as a pianist and composer. Her repertoire includes works for symphonic orchestra, chamber ensembles and theater. Her music has been described as “potent,” “moving” and able to create “a strong connection with the audience” (L. Budmen, South Florida Classical Review). Ms. Salvati moved to the United States in 2009. Among her many accolades, she was a finalist for The American Prize 2012, she was selected for the Emerging Composers Concert of  Festival of Miami (2011), and was a two-time winner of the University of Miami’s Concerto Competition (2010 and 2012) with two symphonic works. Her music has been performed by prestigious ensembles, including the Penderecki String Quartet. She is currently working as a lecturer in the Music Theory and Composition Department of the University of Miami. 

Among judges' comments: "The Three Architectures for Orchestra is a monumental, richly orchestrated work, a sonic landscape, taking a listener on a journey of time and space..."

2nd Place:
Ofer Ben-Amots (Colorado Springs, CO)—"FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT" concertino for clarinet, mandolin and chamber orchestra
Ofer Ben-Amots

Ofer Ben-Amots is an award-winning composer, whose compositions are performed regularly in concert halls and festivals worldwide.

Currently serving as Professor and Chair of the Colorado College Music Department, Ben-Amots started his studies at Tel-Aviv University and continued at the Conservatoire de Musique in Geneva and the Music Academy in Detmold, Germany. Upon his arrival in the United States in 1987, Ben-Amots studied with George Crumb at the University of Pennsylvania where he received his Ph.D. in music composition. He is the winner of major international competitions including the Kobe International Competition for Flute Composition in Japan, the Vienna International Composer's Competition, The Aaron Copland Award, and many others. Ofer Ben-Amots’ works have been repeatedly recognized for their emotional and highly personal expression. The interweaving of folk elements with contemporary textures, along with his unique, imaginative orchestration, creates the haunting dynamic tension that permeates and defines his musical language. For more information please visit:

Among judges' comments: "The material, while highly episodic and at times even kaleidoscopic, a characteristic of Klezmer music, is always tightly constructed, flowing seamlessly..." 

3rd Place:
Daniel McCarthy (Akron, OH)—"TURN THE PAGE" for orchestra and electric guitar solo
Daniel McCarthy

Daniel McCarthy is Professor and Chair of The Composition and Theory  Section at The University of Akron School of Music.  He formerly held the Theodore Dreiser Distinguished Creative/Research Award at The Indiana State University School of Music where he was Co-director of The ISU Contemporary Music Festival with The Louisville Orchestra.

U.S.A. Today describes his music as "intriguing, inviting, shimmering..." while The Cleveland Plain Dealer has written that his music is "Colorful, infectious and touching--."  His music has been  described as "Contemporary in the best sense of the word" by The Music Connoisseur magazine, and 21st Century Music Magazine proclaims his music to be "Sassy, foreboding, refreshing and kicky--it's called style."

McCarthy's has over 30 recordings of his music on Albany, Centaur, d'Note Classics, Gasparo, and Klavier Records, and over 100 publications of his his titles with C. Alan Publications.

Among judges' comments: "More than a show stopper, "Turn the Page" is a brilliantly orchestrated piece, smart, exciting, intricate, and sophisticated..." 

Special Citation:
for Unique Skill in Combining Classical Techniques with Popular Idioms

Bradley Sowash   (Worthington, OH)

Bradley Sowash
Bradley Sowash is a concert jazz pianist, multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, author/educator and composer/arranger.  As a musician, he has performed in every imaginable setting from living rooms, churches and jazz clubs to major concert venues both here and abroad for over thirty years.  His broadcast credits include seven seasons of appearances on the PBS-TV series, The Piano Guy, and National Public Radio has aired selections from his nine CDs.  As an educator specializing in improvisation, he teaches master classes nationwide and currently serves as Pop/Jazz chairperson for the Music Teachers National Association. The Neil A. Kjos Music Company publishes his many instructional books and Augsburg Fortress Press has published several volumes of his hymn arrangements.  Additionally, he writes and self-publishes works for ballet, big band, choir, film, orchestra, solo piano and string quartet.


The American Prize in Composition: Orchestra Division, STUDENT category, 2013.

The American Prize winner: 
Michael-Thomas Foumai   (Ann Arbor, MI)
Michael-Thomas Foumai
Named Composer of the Year by the Sioux City Symphony Orchestra, Michael-Thomas Foumai was awarded the 2012 Jacob Druckman Prize from the Aspen Music Festival. He has beeen awarded two BMI awards and was named winner of the Merle J. Isaac Composition Competition. His works have been performed across the United States, Japan, China, South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand with performances by the Buffalo Philharmonic, New England Philharmonic, Honolulu Symphony and Chorus, Alarm Will Sound and many more. Michael holds degrees from the Universities of Hawaii and Michigan. He is currently a doctoral fellow  at UofM. (

Among judges' comments: "Exciting music, due largely to an active carving across the flow of the beat, displaying a sophisticated and personal command of rhythm."

2nd Place:
YoungWoo Yoo   (Champaign, IL)
YoungWoo Yoo

Born in Seoul, South Korea, YoungWoo Yoo began her classical composition studies at the age of 15 and earned prizes in several national and international competitions. Her works have been performed in Italy, France, Netherlands, Albania, Greece, U.S., and South Korea. Ms. Yoo was the first-prize winner of the 2006 ValTidone International Music Competitions-'Edigio Carella Composition Competition' (Italy) and the finalist of the 2007 International Contest of Composition Henri Dutilleux (France), the 2008 Ton de Leeuw International Competition for Young Composers (Netherland, Albania). In 2008, she was a Distinguised Musician of the IBLA Foundation Master Prize for Competition (Italy), she received the International Music Prizes (Greece) in 2009 and Manhattan Prize 2010 (USA, Manhattan School of Music). YoungWoo was also selected participant for Master Classes with Samuel Adler and Matthias Pintscher at Manhattan School of Music. Ms. Yoo holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Ewha Womans University-College of Music and Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Dr. J Mark Stambaugh. She is a doctorate student (DMA) and studies with Dr. Sever Tipei at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Among judges' comments: "The instruments are used appropriately and effectively, both as individual colors and in terms of sectional strengths...The flow of music across time is well-personalized."    

3rd Place:
Geoffrey Pope   (Denver, CO)
Geoffrey Pope

Geoffrey Pope (b. 1986) has been recognized through numerous commissions and appointments as a composer and conductor. Pope received his undergraduate degree in composition at the University of Southern California, and went on to receive Master’s degrees in composition and conducting at the Eastman School of Music, where he was awarded the prestigious Walter Hagen Conducting Prize. A proponent of contemporary music, Pope seeks to present provocative and engaging programs that have a strong cultural impact. As a composer, Pope has enjoyed performances by various ensembles and individuals across the United States and Europe. His current project is an opera based on a true story from the Bosnian War—Sarajevo Vespers—with a libretto by forensic archaeologist and novelist Courtney Angela Brkić, is due to be completed in 2013. For more information, please visit

Among judges' comments: "Intimate, contained, ritual music that moves in a very "human" progress – almost as if strands of thought come forward, linger in examination and then dissipate."  

Congratulations to winners and runners-up.

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