Ten young composers received cash prizes totaling $20,000 during the 61st Annual BMI Student Composer Awards. Among the winners were Juan Pablo Contreras who received the William Schuman Prize, the top honor, and Michael D. Parsons who received the Carlos Surinach Prize, awarded to the competition’s youngest winner, for the second consecutive year.
The centerpiece of the concert I attended on Saturday night was Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5, a piece of music that is performed almost every season by virtually every orchestra in the world. While I attended the concert because of a new work on the program, I have to admit that most of the people in the audience wanted to hear Tchaikovsky.
Tania León, Jon Deak, Steve Smith, the late Morton Gould, and 28 young composers were honored by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) during its 14th Annual Concert Music Awards, an invitation-only event held at Merkin Concert Hall at the Kaufman Center in New York City on Friday, May 17, 2013.
Troy Herion’s interest in making movies grew directly out of making music. It was a way to further extend the possibilities of what music can be. And in works like Baroque Suite and New York: A City Symphony, Herion has fused visual and sonic elements together so symbiotically that it is difficult to imagine them independent of one another.
The only way that any music created on our own soil will ever be able to compete with the standard repertoire—both in terms of audience devotion to it and the high level at which it is regularly performed—is for our own music to be programmed more frequently. Luckily that seems to be starting to happen!
Aside from its inherent interest due to the broad range of music that composer Heather Schmidt has fashioned out of one of the more traditional chamber music duo configurations, a new Centrediscs recording of her music for cello and piano duo is a wonderful documentation of an ongoing collaboration between an interpreter (cellist Shauna Rolston) and a composer who is also featured herein as the pianist.
The current working model for orchestras does not allow musicians to spend a great deal of time on anything, and the accepted wisdom for getting music in front of an orchestra—and getting the players to do an effective job with it—is to streamline what you write: make it relatively easy to sight-read, avoid pitch and metrical things that are out of the ordinary, etc.