Martin Kennedy Receives $5,000 ASCAP Foundation Nissim Prize


Martin Kennedy
Photo courtesy Theodore Presser Company

Composer and pianist Martin Kennedy has been named the recipient of The ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize. The prize was awarded for Trivial Pursuits, an eight-minute work for violin and orchestra. The work was selected from more than 220 submissions. Kennedy receives a $5,000 cash prize.

Born in England and raised in the United States, Kennedy is an assistant professor of composition and theory at Washington University in Saint Louis. His compositions have been performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the Bloomington (IN) Camerata, the Haddonfield (NJ) Symphony, the Polish National Chamber Orchestra of Slupsk, the Shenandoah (VA) Symphony, and the Tuscaloosa Symphony, among others. An active pianist, he regularly performs with members of the Saint Louis Symphony. He has also toured with violinist Lara St. John and with flutist Thomas Robertello, with whom he recorded Souvenir: Works by Fauré and Kennedy. Kennedy received his doctorate in composition from The Juilliard School, and his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Indiana University. His music is published by the Theodore Presser Company.

The Nissim Jury also recognized the following composers for Special Distinction: Clint Needham (Bloomington, IN) for the Body Electric, a nine-minute work for orchestra; and Matthew Peterson (Grand Forks, ND) for Reflections on the Death of the Beloved, a 15-minute work for symphonic band.

Dr. Rudolf Nissim, former head of ASCAP’s International Department and a devoted friend of contemporary composers, established this annual prize through a bequest to The ASCAP Foundation. The prize is presented annually to an ASCAP concert composer for a work requiring a conductor that has not been performed professionally. A jury of conductors selects the winning score. The judges for this year’s Nissim Prize were: Delta David Gier, music director of the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra; Ryan McAdams, music director of the New York Youth Symphony; and Diane Wittry, music director of the Allentown Symphony Orchestra (PA) and the Norwalk Symphony Orchestra (CT). (—Condensed from the press release)