2012 BMI Student Composer Awards Announced

Composer and jury member Joseph Schwantner, BMI President and CEO Del Bryand, and BMI Foundation President Ralph N. Jackson announced the winners of the 60th annual BMI Student Composer Awards on May 11, 2012, at 6 p.m. in a ceremony at the Jemeirah Essex House in New York City. Nine composers, ages 16-27, were chosen from more than 700 applicants from throughout the Western Hemisphere whose scores were submitted with pseudonyms (in order to be judged anonymously); the winners received cash awards totaling $20,000. The award-winning compositions include two orchestral works, a concertante piece for clarinet and symphonic winds, two song cycles, an unaccompanied choral work, two compositions for Pierrot ensemble, and a work for large chamber ensemble.

Curtis Institute of Music composition student Andrew Hsu (born 1994 in Fremont, CA), who received the award for his Dickinson Songs for soprano and piano, was additionally awarded the William Schuman Prize, which is awarded to the score judged “most outstanding” in the competition. As the youngest winner in this year’s competition, Michael D. Parsons (born 1996), a high school student at the Watchung Hills Regional High School in Stirling, New Jersey, who also studies at The Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division, was additionally awarded the Carlos Surinach Prize; Parsons’s award-winning work is Wolf for full orchestra. Bennu’s Fire for solo clarinet and symphonic band by Roger Zare (born in 1985 in Sarasota, FL) earned its composer his third BMI Student Composer award, which is now the maximum number of times a composer can receive this accolade. (The rule was established subsequent to Charles Wuorinen receiving four BMI Student Composer Awards, the all-time record, between 1959 and 1963.)

The remaining six 2012 awardees and their award-winning compositions are:

Ryan Chase (born 1987 in Port Jefferson, NY): The Light Fantastic for orchestra
Joshua Fishbein (born 1984 in Baltimore, MD): With a Greeting for SSAATTBB a capella chorus
Laura M. Kramer (born 1984 in Minersville, PA): The Miracle of the Walking Fish for baritone and guitar
Joseph E. Lyszczarz (born 1987 in Syracuse, NY): Tracing Shadows for large chamber ensemble
Philippe Macnab-Séguin (born 1992 in Montreal): Ubiquity for flute, clarinet, piano, violin, and cello
Daniel Temkin (born in 1986 in Houston, TX): Butterflies and Dragons for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion

The jury members for the 2012 competition were Chester Biscardi and three composers who themselves received BMI Student Composer Award early in their careers: Tobias Picker, David Rakowski, and Joseph Schwantner. The preliminary judges were Shafer Mahoney, David Schober, Sean Shepherd, and Bernadette Speech. Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, who was unable to attend the ceremony, served as the chair of the competition. The BMI Student Composer Awards are co-sponsored by BMI and the BMI Foundation, Inc.

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