UPDATE #2: 2nd Annual STUDIO for New Music Composers Competition

Composers waiting for word on the results of the 2nd Annual STUDIO for New Music Composers Competition—originally to have been announced on January 15, 2004—are still waiting.

Word had circulated in late spring that conductor and clarinetist JD Hixson, head of STUDIO for New Music, was suffering from health problems and had been hospitalized. In the months following, the related STUDIO for New Music website went offline and composers complained of unreturned emails and phone calls. The American Music Center continues to receive calls from composers concerned about the competition’s status.


Request from the American Music Center:

Any composer who has applied to the STUDIO for New Music Composer’s Competition and has concerns about this competition they wish to report to the AMC may contact Lyn Liston at (212) 366-5260 x11 or lyn@amc.net.

Though an application fee of $40 was collected from each entrant, the competition has been plagued by administrative difficulties from the very beginning that made communicating with STUDIO staff nearly impossible both before the contest deadline and in the months since the awards were to have been announced.

Hixson was quick to return an inquiry from this reporter, however, and in an October 7 email explained that “a combination of my unforeseen and extended health situation together with the technical problems has resulted in this delay—a condition which both STUDIO and I sincerely regret.”

Composer Eric Flesher, the second-prize winner from the first STUDIO for New Music competition, was still waiting for his prize money when we contacted him back in March of 2004. He still has not received a check and, though disappointed that the money and the proffered recording opportunity have not come through, seems resigned to the fact that at this point they will likely never materialize.

“Clearly, this whole situation is quite regrettable,” Flescher said, “especially considering that there are numerous composers who entered the competition for this year who must still be wondering what happened to both their scores and entry fees. My feeling is that there are probably many issues causing Mr. Hixson’s reticence; nevertheless, it would be helpful for him and all concerned to at least communicate something—even if that should be that he had to shut down STUDIO.”

One of the technical problems to which Hixson referred in his email relates to the fact that the computer that contained many of the details about the applicants has malfunctioned which, he says, have added to his difficulties communicating with them about the problems the competition is facing.

“In the worst case scenario that the data is gone, if all registrants followed the instructions, in their packages that I have should be an additional envelope that pairs their name and contact info with the “application code” they were issued. So, upon the jury process, I will be able to compile a list of all participants and contact them,” Hixson noted.

According to Hixson, we can still expect that process to occur and “by the end of the year definitive results [will] be announced.”