Thursday, April 5, 2018

WINNING COMPOSERS: orchestra divisions, 2017-18

The American Prize is honored to announce the winners, runners-up, citation recipient and honorable mentions of The American Prize in Composition, 2017-18, in orchestra 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.

REMINDER: The final postmark deadline for composers to apply for The American Prize, 2018-19, is APRIL 30, 2018.  There is no need to email in advance to take advantage of the April date. Please note that although the deadline date on application forms will not be changed, your application will be accepted through the final deadline.

Please make us aware of any misprints:

The American Prize in Composition—ORCHESTRA, professional division, 2017-18

The American Prize winner:
Brian Ciach   Mountain View CA
    The Einstein Slide from Collective Uncommon: Seven Orchestral Studies on Medical Oddities

Brian Ciach
Brian Ciach (pronounced “SIGH-ack“, born 1977) is a composer, new music pianist, and instructor in the San Francisco Bay Area, whose music has been described as "remarkably inventive" (Herald Times) and "beautifully scored" (New Music Box). Dr. Ciach's second piano sonata has won The American Liszt Society Bicentennial Composition Competition and The National Federation of Music Clubs Emil and Ruth Beyer Composition Award. Brian holds a doctorate in music composition from Indiana University, two Master's degrees in composition and piano performance from Temple University, and a Bachelor's degree in piano performance from Temple University. Brian is an Instructor of Music Theory at Santa Clara University, is the Assistant Director and Instructor of Music (Piano, Piano Improvisation, Music Theory, and Composition) at the Hunter School of Music in San Jose, California, and a music engraver for the Subito Music Corporation. His tuba compositions are published by Solid Brass Music.

2nd Place:
Mark Edwards Wilson   Bowie MD
    The Phoenix

Mark Edwards Wilson
Mark Edwards Wilson has received many prizes, awards and other honors for his orchestral and vocal works, his chamber music and electro-acoustic compositions, many of which have been commissioned and performed by major institutions and performing organizations. Most of Wilson’s recent composition are works for orchestra employing a new approach that he characterizes as “dramatic narrative.” Of these, The Phoenix won the Grand Prize in the Realize Music Challenge, an international competition held under the joint sponsorship of Notion Music, Inc., and the London Symphony Orchestra. John Corigliano, who served on the jury for that event, wrote of The Phoenix in a press release: “Excellent piece. It really develops its materials and has a fine large shape. I felt a true symphonic mind at work. Beautiful orchestration, too. Bravo!” As part of the prize The Phoenix was recorded at Abbey Road Studios by the London Symphony Orchestra. The work was subsequently given its American premiere in 2011 by the Austin Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Peter Bay. In 2013, Meteora was awarded first prize in the New Orchestra Repertoire Project, an international competition to foster new music for orchestra sponsored by the Minneapolis Pops Orchestra.

3rd Place:
Ryan M. Hare   Pullman WA
    "Stanzas" After Poe

Ryan M. Hare
Ryan M. Hare teaches composition, music theory, and bassoon at Washington State University, where he is a Professor of Music. Having served as Composer in Residence for the Washington Idaho Symphony from 2011-2015, his compositions have been heard in numerous venues and festivals throughout the United States, and also in the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Chile, Thailand, China, and the Philippines. Named “Composer of the Year” in 2012 by the Washington State Music Teacher’s Association, an honor which endowed a paid commission, other recent honors include a prestigious Artist Trust Fellowship, grants from New Music USA’s “MetLife Creative Connections” program, the ASCAP Plus Award, various grants funded internally at WSU including the Edward R. Meyer Project Grant, and commissions and premieres from the Mid-Columbia Symphony, Washington Idaho Symphony, Affinity Chamber Players, University of Idaho Vandaleers Concert Choir, and the Lake Forest College Chamber Orchestra, to name a few.

Finalist—Special Judges' Citation: 
Best Concerto/Concerted Work of the Year:
Eric Funk   Bozeman MT
    Variations on a Theme by Jan Hanus, Op 127

Eric Funk
A former student of Tomas Svoboda, Sandor Veress, and Krzysztof Penderecki in the 1970s, Mr. Funk's considerable compositional output includes nine symphonies, four operas, six ballet scores, three large works for chorus and orchestra, seventeen concertos, several orchestral tone poems, and numerous works for chamber ensembles, solo instruments, and vocal works, one-third of which were commissioned. He currently teaches for the School of Music/Montana State University where he has won numerous teaching awards, serves as Host and Artistic Director for 11th & Grant with Eric Funk, a nine-time Emmy Award winning show in its 12th season broadcast on Montana PBS & featuring Montana musicians in all genres.

Finalist—Honorable Mention:
Walter Saul   Fresno CA
    Rhapsody for Oboe and Orchestra (Kiev 2014)

Walter Saul
Walter Saul holds degrees from Duke and Eastman. His many composition honors include 25 ASCAP awards from 1990-2015, as well as "Composer of the Year" commissions from North Carolina Music Teachers Association (1986) and Oregon Music Teachers Association (1990). Performances of his works have occurred in 24 states and five nations, including Carnegie Hall and Paris. He has released six CD’s of his works: Out of Darkness Into His Marvelous Light (1998), From Alpha to Omega (2002), Songs of Requited Love (2007), Walter Saul: Sonatas and Meditations for Piano (2014), Kiev 2014: Orchestra Music by Walter Saul (2015), and Quiltings (CD and DVD, 2015). His music appears also on a 7th CD, Les flûtes enchantées, and on the Ring of Fire 2001 DVD. His website is His mission is to create through music windows of light that reveal and glorify the suffering and risen Jesus Christ.

The American Prize in Composition—ORCHESTRA, student division, 2017-18

The American Prize winner:
Antonio Juan Marcos   Berkeley CA
Antonio Juan Marcos
Antonio Juan-Marcos has recently been awarded with the Gold Medal honor at the Global Music Awards, as well as the “Eisner Prize for the Highest Achievement in the Creative Arts” and the “Nicola De Lorenzo Prize in Music Composition’’. Antonio’s works are performed by ensembles and orchestras such as the “Orchestre National de Lorraine’’, Mexico City Philharmonic Orchestra, “Eco Ensemble,” “L’Instant Donné”, amongst others. His piece for cello and electronics ‘’El Afilador’’ was recorded for Evidence Classics records. Mr. Juan-Marcos has recently finished composing a large song cycle for the internationally known ensemble “Les Folies Françoises’’. He is currently composing a monodrama inspired in the short story “Macario” by Juan Rulfo. This piece will be premiered by the “Ensemble 2e2m” in October 2017 at the “Festival Internacional Cervantino”.
Born in Mexico City, Antonio Juan-Marcos studied composition at the “Conservatoire de Paris’’ as well as electroacoustic composition at IRCAM.  He is currently pursuing a doctorate in Music Composition at UC Berkeley.

2nd Place:
Alison Yun-Fei Jiang   Elmhurst NY
    Waves, Exile
Alison Yun-Fei Jiang
Chinese-Canadian composer Alison Yun-Fei Jiang (b. 1992) writes music for concert and dance. A winner of the 2016 Toronto Symphony Orchestra Call for Scores, Alison’s orchestral work, Waves, Exile, was read by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra in January, 2017. Her music has been recognized with a 2016 Libby Larsen Prize from the IAWM Search for New Music Competition, a finalist prize in Tesla Quartet’s 2016 Call for Scores, a 2015 NYU Symphony Spring Residency, and a 2015—2016 JCC Manhattan/ NYU Tisch Dance commission. In addition, her music has been performed by ensembles such as JACK Quartet, the Wet Ink Ensemble, Quartetto Apeiron, and Fear No Music. Alison is currently finishing her master’s degree with Justin Dello Joio at New York University, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Manhattan School of Music. She will pursue her PhD in music composition at University of Chicago in fall, 2017.

3rd Place:
Justin Ralls   Portland OR
    Tree Ride
Justin Ralls
Justin Ralls, composer, conductor, writer, and educator hails from the Pacific Northwest and is inspired by the beauty of the natural world. An award winning composer, Ralls has conducted his works at the Lucca International Youth Orchestra Festival, Oregon Bach Festival, Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, Britt Festival, as well as other venues in Salzburg, Rome, Portland, Boston, San Francisco and beyond. He explores an eclecticism encompassing many forms from natural soundscapes, vocal, chamber, film, world music and orchestral forces.  His music is featured on the Sierra Club and National Parks websites and NPR and has been performed by a variety of soloists and ensembles including Albany Symphony (NY), Third Angle Ensemble, Roomful of Teeth, Fear No Music, Cadillac Moon Ensemble, San Francisco Conservatory Orchestra, Esteli Gomez, Molly Barth and more. His education includes The Boston and San Francisco Conservatories and is currently pursuing his Ph.D at the University of Oregon.

Finalist—Honorable Mention: 
Kyle Simpson   Washington PA
    On The Road Suite
Kyle Simpson
Kyle Simpson, composer, received degrees from Lawrence University (WI) and the University of Montana. He is currently studying composition in the DMA program at West Virginia University under Dr. David Taddie, Dr. Matthew Heap and Dr. Sarana Chou.  He has been awarded fellowships to study composition at the EAMA School in Paris, France, the Henry Mancini Institute in Los Angeles, and Ostrava Days in Ostrava, CZ. Recently he was awarded the Leslie Basset Fellowship to attend the Alba Music Festival in Alba, Italy. Simpson has written music for such ensembles as: Banff Center Jazz Residency Ensemble. World Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra, The Washington PA Symphony, The Janaček Philharmonic, and The New York Film Orchestra (ASCAP/NYU).  ASCAP Named Simpson as a “2011 Composer to Watch.”  Simpson is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, PA.


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