BOSTON – April 3, 2015 – Boston Choral Ensemble (BCE) is proud to present the winner of their 8th Annual Commission Competition, Dr. Gregory W. Brown, and Honorable Mentions, Saunder Choi and Melissa Dunphy.
Started in 2007, this competition aims to identify a talented composer and support her or him in the performance of a new work for chamber choir to be premiered by Boston Choral Ensemble. The Commission Competition challenges composers with a rigorous application process which includes the submission of proposals for a not-yet written, unaccompanied choral work. A prize of US $1,500 is awarded to the winner. Through the competition, BCE strengthens its unwavering commitment to the creation of new music.
This year, BCE received an impressive number of submissions from around the world. The selection jury reviewed over 70 applications, which included work samples from each individual composer. A handful of finalists emerged from the pool of candidates, leading to a winner and honorable mentions being selected. Candidates ran the full spectrum from amateurs to established, seasoned composers. Prestigious educational institutions such as The Julliard School, Yale University, Berkelee College of Music, and Boston University, among many others, were represented. The jury stated that “it was a fascinating experience to see the wide range of styles and ideas from this year’s applicant pool. There were a number of excellent works submitted which made the judging very difficult.”
Competition winner Dr. Gregory W. Brown lives and works in Western Massachusetts. He holds degrees from the Hugh Hodgson School of Music (University of Georgia), Westminster Choir College, and Amherst College, where he studied with the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lewis Spratlan. His recent commissions for vocal ensemble New York Polyphony have been heard on American Public Media’s Performance Today, BBC Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, Kansas Public Radio, and Danish National Radio. His Missa Charles Darwinreceived its European debut in March 2013 at the Dinosaur Hall of Berlin’s Museum für Naturkunde. The jury remarked that “Greg’s music has a beautiful sense of polyphony and counterpoint. It is sophisticated but accessible and seems to grow directly from the renaissance tradition, while still maintaining a distinctive contemporary flavor.”
Honorable Mention Saunder Choi is a Los Angeles-based Filipino composer whose works have been performed at the Merkin Hall (Lincoln Center) in New York, UNESCO headquarters in Paris, Teatro Colon opera house in Buenos Aires, 2011 World Choral Symposium, and the 2013 Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium. Select works have also been performed, recorded, and read by the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, the Philippine Madrigal Singers, the Peninsula Women’s Chorus, the Kalistos Chamber Orchestra, and the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium Chorus. The jury mentioned that “Saunder seemed on the verge of opening up new musical horizons for himself. [We were] impressed with his sense of texture and the playful inventiveness with which he treated the choir.”
Honorable Mention Melissa Dunphy specializes in composing theatrical and political vocal music. Recent successes include theGonzales Cantata (featured on The Rachel Maddow Show), and song cycle Tesla’s Pigeon, which has won awards from the Tesla Science Foundation, NATS, the American Prize, Chicago Ensemble, Boston Metro Opera, and the Secret Opera. Her compositions have been performed by Chanticleer, Volti, Simon Carrington Chamber Singers, St. Louis Chamber Chorus, the American Opera Theater, Anti-Social Music, Network for New Music, and at various electro-acoustic festivals. Dunphy has also received awards from ASCAP and the Lotte Lehmann Foundation. On Dunphy, the jury remarked, “Melissa has a beautiful, clear and direct language. Without being trite or overly sentimental, her music speaks to the heart through gorgeous harmony and lucid text setting.”
Dr. Gregory W. Brown’s new work will be premiered during BCE’s 2015/2016 season. Details of the composition and the concert dates will be announced at the end of June. For more information about this year’s winner and honorable mentions, please visit http://www.bostonchoral.org/commission-competition/winners/.