2011 BMI Student Composer Award Winners Announced

Eleven young classical composers ranging in age from 14 to 27 have been named winners in the 59th Annual BMI Student Composer Awards. BMI President & CEO Del Bryant, BMI Foundation President Ralph N. Jackson, and BMI Student Composer Award Chair Ellen Taaffe Zwilich announced the decisions of the jury and presented the awards at a reception held May 13, 2011, at the Jumeirah Essex House Hotel in New York City.

The 2011 award recipients are:

Francisco Castillo Trigueros (age 27, studies at the University of Chicago)
Ryan Chase (age 24, studies at Indiana University)
Michael-Thomas Alexander Foumai (age 23, studies at the University of Michigan)
Eric Guinivan (age 27, studies at the University of Southern California)
Mena Mark Hanna (age 26, studies privately in Philadelphia)
David Hertzberg (age 21, studies at The Juilliard School)
Yeeren I. Low (age 14, studies at The Juilliard School Pre-College Division)
Jonathan L. Posthuma
(age 21, studies at Dordt College)
William Frederick Rowe (age 19, studies at Indiana University)
Benjamin D. Taylor (age 27, studies at Bowling Green State University)
David Werfelmann (age 27, studies at the University of Southern California)

Ryan Chase and David Hertzberg tied for the William Schuman Prize, which is awarded to the score judged “most outstanding” in the competition. (This special prize is given each year in memory of the late William Schuman, who served for 40 years as chairman, then chairman emeritus, of the BMI Student Composer Awards.) Additionally, the Carlos Surinach Prize, awarded to the youngest winner in the competition, went to Yeeren I. Low who is the first composer ever to win the Surinach Prize three times.

Also honored during the ceremony was New York Youth Symphony Senior Vice President Barry Goldberg, who received the BMI Foundation’s “Outstanding Musical Citizen Award.” In making the presentation, Jackson described Goldberg as “a tireless advocate for new music and true champion of the next generation of American musicians and composers.”

Winners of the BMI Student Composer Awards receive scholarship grants to be applied toward their musical education. To date, BMI has given 554 scholarship grants to young composers. Many of the most prominent and active classical composers in the world today received their first recognition from the BMI Student Composer Awards. In 2011, more than 500 manuscripts were submitted to the competition from throughout the Western Hemisphere, and all works were judged under pseudonyms. Cash awards totaled $21,000. The 2011 jury members were Robert Beaser, Ingram Marshall, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Steven Stucky, and Michael Torke. The preliminary judges were Chester Biscardi, David Leisner, Shafer Mahoney, Sean Shepherd, and Bernadette Speach. Ellen Taaffe Zwilich is the permanent chair of the awards. The BMI Student Composer Awards competition is co-sponsored by BMI and the BMI Foundation, Inc.

(—Text from the BMI press release; video by FJO)