Matthew Browne has been named the recipient of the 37th annual ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize for his composition Cabinet of Curiosities (2015-16), an approximately 23-minute work for saxophone quartet and orchestra which was completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts in Musical Composition at the University of Michigan and was written expressly for the Donald Sinta Quartet who premiered it with an orchestra of students from the University of Michigan School of Music conducted by Thomas Gamboa. The Prize—which was established through a bequest to The ASCAP Foundation by Dr. Rudolf Nissim, former head of ASCAP’s International Department—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.
Recent recognition for Browne’s music has included an ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer award (2014) and BMI Student Composer award (2015). He has been a winner of the New England Philharmonic Call for Scores (2014) and the American Viola Society’s Maurice Gardner Competition (2014). He has also been selected for residencies at the Mizzou International Composers Festival, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s First Annual Composers Institute, and—most recently—the Minnesota Orchestra Composers Institute and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s Edward T. Cone Composition Institute (both in 2016). Browne holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Music Composition from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Colorado at Boulder.
The jury also awarded Special Distinction to three additional composers:
- Saad Haddad of Northridge, California for Takht (2016), for sinfonietta (approx. 12 minutes)
- John Liberatore of South Bend, Indiana for this living air (2015), for solo piano and percussion orchestra (approx. 16 minutes)
- Jonathan David Little of Surrey, United Kingdom for Terpsichore (2005) for full orchestra (15 minutes)
The judges for this year’s Nissim Prize were: James Blachly, Music Director of the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra (Johnstown, PA), the Experiential Orchestra and Geneva Light Opera (Geneva, NY) as well as co-Artistic Director of The Dream Unfinished (a social justice orchestra based in New York City); Gerard Schwarz, Music Director of the All-Star Orchestra, Music Director of the Eastern Music Festival in North Carolina and Jack Benaroya Conductor Laureate of the Seattle Symphony; Lidiya Yankovskaya, Artistic Director with Juventas New Music Ensemble (Boston, MA), Music Director with Commonwealth Lyric Theater, conductor with the Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, where she has previously served as Music Director with Harvard’s Lowell House Opera, and assistant conductor/chorus master with Opera Boston and Gotham Chamber Opera.
(—from the press release)