Archive for the “Competitions” Category

Elsie Driggs’ Queensborough Bridge, 1927.

Pictures 2009 Concert: New Jersey students explore the intersection of music and visual art.

Sunday, April 26, 2pm (Pre-concert Panel at 1:30pm)

Montclair Art Museum/NJAC

3 South Mountain Avenue, Montclair, NJ

$15 Adults / $10 Students / Online Tickets Available here.

For the fourth annual edition the Pictures Composition Contest, New Jersey students were asked to compose music inspired by visual art exhibited in the Montclair Art Museum. EXIT 9 Percussion Group will perform quartets written by the students.  In addition, they will premiere the 2009 Ionisation Commission, SPAN, by Darren Gage.

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Elizabeth Ferguson is a coordinator for this year’s Make Music New York event, and has a little offer for NYC-based composers/musicans. I’ll let her take it from there:

Make Music New York is a unique, free outdoor celebration performed by anyone who wants to play, and enjoyed by everyone who wants to listen.  Last year, some 875 performances took place on streets, sidewalks and parks in all 5 boroughs on the first day of summer, June 21st.

MMNY is now accepting submissions for this year’smusical handshake“: a single melody serving as the secret lingua franca for musicians on Sunday June 21st, 2009. As part of the third annual festival, hundreds of musicians are taking part in “Mass Appeal” performances, playing pieces written for single types of instruments. Huge ensembles of clarinets, crotales, French horns, hub caps, violas, accordions, saxophones, and more will perform across NYC’s five boroughs.

The “musical handshake” will allow these musicians to greet one another throughout the day, beyond their own bands of instruments, with the hope that momentary handshakes will turn into longer, improvised musical conversations. In the evening, the composition will receive its public premiere at the Mass Appeal afterparty in Central Park. The winning handshake will be selected by a panel of judges and announced in


• Participants must be residents of the New York City area and in attendance on June 21st.  [Ed. note: this is the one rule that we don’t get at all. Tons of composers living in NYC didn’t start out there, so who cares where the tune comes from, really?]
• A musical handshake is a short melody, up to 10 seconds long, consisting of two phrases, so that two musicians can use it to greet each other with a call and response.
• Nearly all instruments and all musicians – from amateurs to professionals – should be able to play the musical handshake.
• No more than two submissions per composer will be accepted.
• Entries are due by midnight on Friday May 1st, 2009.
• Entries must be submitted in standard musical notation.
• Please email submissions as PDF attachments to
Or mail your composition, on a single 8.5 x 11 piece of paper, to:
Mass Appeal “Musical Handshake”
c/o Make Music New York
PO Box 1164
New York, NY 10013

• Include your name, address, phone number, and email address on the same page as your composition. (Judges will not see this information when choosing a handshake.)
• By submitting a musical handshake, you affirm that the composition is your own, and agree that, if selected, your submission will become the property of Make Music New York, Inc.

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If you believe that the importance of the arts in these times is inversely proportional to the economic news, than there’s never been a better time for YouTube’s Symphony Orchestra. YouTube announced today the winners of the world’s first orchestra selected entirely through video auditions on-line, a process yielding more than 3,000 videos from all over the world, and 200 finalists.

Since I work in the social media aspects of business software marketing, it’s been a fascinating experience to see my husband, Bill Williams,  in his role as the Music Coordinator for the YouTube project, examine many of the nuances and applications of social media’s power.

The global YouTube community, and Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony, selected from the finalists more than 90 musicians playing 26 different instruments from 30 different countries including: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, China, Columbia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States.  Many of the winners have played professionally but a number of them have not.

The musicians will travel to Carnegie Hall in April for a summit and for a concert under the direction of Tilson Thomas. Selected submissions will be compiled into a mashup video, which will premiere at the Carnegie Hall concert on April 15. The concert will uniquely cover the 1200 year span of classical music and many surprises are in store for the concert-goer. Tickets are on sale now.

Since the launch of this initiative in December 2008, the YouTube Symphony Orchestra’s channel has received more than 13 million views worldwide. To further demonstrate the commitment of YouTube to this genre, new features to improve the site quality and functionality are present on the channel. According to the press release, The YouTube Symphony Orchestra marks the first program on YouTube to welcome submissions from nearly every country in the world, and the channel continues to be available in 16 different languages.  YouTube has partnered with more than 40 major classical music organizations and institutions to bring this initiative to musicians around the world.

Nothing this ambitious has ever been undertaken in the world of classical music in such a short period of time.    One  perspective is that the discovery of hidden talent can mean the difference between just another orchestra assembled by conventional means and a orchestra chosen in part by us, by subject matter experts, and by the crowd, providing a point of reference for the way we participate in the arts in the future.

In addition to marketing software, Margot also plays a mean jazz piano and is the only person I know who has Giant Steps as a ringtone. JB

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He’s been on my list for a while now, to make famous (ha ha) as an S21 “click pick”. But before I get the chance to feature him, Huck Hodge goes and wins this year’s Gaudeamus Prize:

At the final concert of the International Gaudeamus Music Week 2008, which took place in Amsterdam from 1 to 7 September, the Gaudeamus Prize was awarded to the American composer Huck Hodge (1977).

The Gaudeamus Prize, an award of 4,550 Euros, is intended as a commission for a new work to be performed at the next edition of the International Gaudeamus Music Week. Hodge received the prize for Parallaxes, a composition for ensemble, performed on September 3 at the “Muziekgebouw aan ’t Y” by the Asko|Schönberg Ensemble conducted by Bas Wiegers.

His site will fill you in on his work, with plenty of good listening. From his C.V. it looks like he’s taking a post up in my old hometown of Seattle, teaching composition at the University of Washington. Bully for them, and bravo to Huck.

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This past Friday, Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey hosted a masterclass for the Pictures 2008 project. This competition, sponsored by NJ Arts Collective and the Montclair Art Museum, invited NJ high school and college students to compose works based on a painting in the museum’s collection: Sunset by George Inness (1892). The winning works, as well as my new trio Innesscapes, will be presented on a concert given by the Halcyon Trio at the museum on May 9th at 8 PM. The event also features a pre-concert talk with Inness scholar Adrienne Baxter-Bell at 7:15.

At the masterclass, both the winners and the runners-up met with the Halcyon Trio: Andrew Lamy, Brett Deubner, and Gary Kirkpatrick ( The trio discussed issues of orchestration, notation, and interpretation with the composers, giving them valuable feedback about their work. Whether the composer in question was a 13 year-old middle school student or a college-level composition major, the trio members treated them and their music with professionalism and enthusiasm. Gary Schneider from museum’s education department gave an insightful presentation discussing Inness’ landscape paintings. All in all, it was a most exciting and successful day for the next generation of NJ composers.

Pictured: Halcyon Trio members Brett Deubner, Andrew Lamy, and Gary Kirkpatrick, composer Christian Carey, Montclair Art Museum Education Director Gary Schneider, and student winners David Zas (Rider U.) Michael Mikulka (Rutgers U.), Thomas Oltarzewski (Montclair State U.), Rachael Chastain (Pennsville HS), Ian Vogler (Lakewood HS), Daniel Konstantinovsky (Tenafly Middle School), Tim Vorderstrasse (Midland Park HS), and Sam Skinner (Glen Field Middle School, Montclair).

Photo: Kimberly Burja

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sebastian1.jpgSebastian Currier has won the 2007 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition for “Static,” a six-movement piece for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano.

Currier, who teaches at Columbia University, studied at the Manhattan and Julliard schools of music. His winning work was commissioned by Copland House of Cortlandt Manor, N.Y., for its resident ensemble, Music from Copland House, with funds from Meet the Composer, a national organization supporting new works by composers.

The ensemble premiered the piece at Columbia’s Miller Theatre in February 2005 and recorded it for Koch International Classics.  Frank has details over at NewMusicBox.

And speaking of Mr. Oteri, he’s mad as hell about the second-class citizenship of post-classical composers and he’s not going to take it anymore…in the Composers Forum.

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Our regular listen to and look at living, breathing composers and performers that you may not know yet, but I know you should… And can, right here and now, since they’re nice enough to offer so much good listening online:

Ferrer Salat Foundation (Spain)

16th awards

The Ferrer Salat Foundation was created in Barcelona in 1982 by Carlos Ferrer Salat. Its purpose is to promote contemporary classical music, and concentrates mainly on organizing the Queen Sophia Award for Musical Composition ceremony, held annually, to which the Foundation devotes all its resources.

The winning composer receives a prize of 18,500 Euros, and has the exceptional opportunity of having their work performed by the Spanish Radio Television Symphonic Orchestra in the presence of the Queen. This concert is broadcast live on the classical music station of “Radio Nacional de España” and later appears on Spanish television’s “Conciertos de la 2”.

CDs of the works are also available for purchase on the website, but what’s fun here is that you can listen to virtually all of the winning compositions (at least from 2004 on back) complete as streaming MP3s. Just visit the “Award Winners” links and click on each year, find and click on the little ear and notes just above the text and the piece will start playing in your browser. The entire site is available in Spanish, Catalan, and English; just pick your pleasure from the homepage.

The list of winners has some well-known names, such as Joan Guinjoan, Witold Lutoslawski and Xavier Montsalvatge; but there are plenty of new faces to get to know.

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Back in July, nine students associated with AAIR, the independent radio station of London’s Architectural Association School of Architecture, spent several days recording natural and man-made sounds to create an extensive sonic map of Capri, the island, not the car or the pants.   The result is Radiocapri.

Now they’re inviting all of us to “remix” the sounds of the island in their cleverly named “International Remix Competition A.”  Here’s the best part:  the winning entry will be picked by Brian Eno, Arto Lindsay and Ryuichi Sakamoto.

The winner will get fame, fortune and more attractive lovers, plus a spot on an upcoming Radio Anacapri recording.  Deadline is January 31.  Details are here.

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