News In Brief 1/28/05

And the Oscar Nominees Are…

The nominees for the 77th annual Academy Awards have been announced. The list includes three of the usual suspects: James Newton Howard for The Village, Thomas Newman for Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, and John Williams (his forty-third Academy Award nomination—including five wins!) for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. But there are also two newcomers to the race for Oscar, Jan A.P. Kaczmarek for Finding Neverland and John Debney for The Passion of The Christ. The winners will be announced during the televised glitzfest on Feb. 27.

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Bright Sheng Commissioned by International Violin Competition of Indianapolis

Composer Bright Sheng will write a piece for the seventh International Violin Competition of Indianapolis to be performed by the sixteen semi-finalists.

This six to nine minute-long piece for violin and piano is intended to test the interpretive skills of the young artists in playing a piece that has no performance history. “In one sense” said Jaime Laredo, president of the jury for the 2006 competition, “each player will invent the work, and try to communicate the composer’s intent in ways that are intellectually meaningful and emotionally satisfying.” The work will be sent to admitted applicants to the competition in June 2006 in order for them to have two months of preparation time.

Underwritten by the Christel DeHaan Family Foundation, their support also includes the $1000 prize awarded for the Best Performance of the Commissioned Work.

Previous commissions include Finnish composer Joonas Kokkonen’s Improvvisazione (1982); Leon Kirchner’s untitled work (1986); George Rochberg’s Rhapsody and Prayer (1990); Witold Lutoslawski’s Subito (1994); Ned Rorem’s Autumn Music (1998); and Richard Danielpour’s As Night Falls on Barjeantane (2002).

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Norman Wins 25th Annual ASCAP Rudolf Nissim Award

Andrew Norman has been named winner of the 25th annual ASCAP Rudolf Nissim Award for his Sacred Geometry, a ten-minute work for orchestra. The award includes a $5,000 cash prize. Sacred Geometry was commissioned by the New York Youth Symphony and was also selected for the Minnesota Orchestra Composer’s Institute Readings. The Nissim competition, named in honor of the former head of ASCAP’s International Department, is open to concert works requiring a conductor that have not been professionally performed.