9th Annual Commission Competition – 2016

Stacey Garrop

Winner, 9th Annual Commission Competition

Stacy Garrop’s music is centered on direct and dramatic narrative.  The sharing of stories is a defining element of our humanity; we strive to share with others the experiences and concepts that we find compelling. In her works, this manifests programmatically in pieces without text (sometimes subtly, sometimes overtly) and more directly in pieces that draw upon poets and writers for source material. She has won numerous awards including a Fromm Music Foundation Grant, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Music Composition Prize, and two Barlow Endowment commissions, as well as competitions sponsored by the American Composers Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Omaha Symphony, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, New England Philharmonic, and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. Her chamber and orchestral works are published by Theodore Presser Company, and she self-publishes her choral works under Inkjar Publishing Company. She is a recording artist with Cedille Records with compositions on nine CDs; her works are also commercially available on Blue Griffin Recording, Chanticleer, Chicago a cappella Records, Equilibrium, Innova, Peninsula Women’s Chorus, Ravello Records, Saxophone Classics, and Summit Records. She has been commissioned by numerous ensembles and organizations including the Albany Symphony, Capitol Saxophone Quartet, Chanticleer, Cedille Chicago, Gaudete Brass Quintet, Rembrandt Chamber Players, San Francisco Choral Society, and Volti. Stacy earned degrees in music composition at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor (B.M.), University of Chicago (M.A.), and Indiana University-Bloomington (D.M.). She teaches at the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, and is on the composition faculty of the annual Fresh Inc Festival, sponsored by Fifth House Ensemble. For more information, visit her website at or her blog at

Dominick DiOrio

Honorable Mention, 9th Annual Commission Competition

Conductor and composer Dominick DiOrio was recently named the 2014 winner of The American Prize in Composition with the judges saying “his depth of vision, mastery of compositional technique, and unique style set him in a category by himself.”

DiOrio is assistant professor at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he directs NOTUS: IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, an auditioned chorus specializing in music of living composers. Under his leadership, NOTUS has performed at both regional and national conferences of the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) and as an invited ensemble on the Distinguished Concerts International New York (DCINY) Artist Series at Carnegie Hall. He mentors graduate conductors and also teaches courses in score reading, choral literature, and undergraduate and graduate conducting. He was named a recipient of the 2014-2015 Outstanding Junior Faculty Award–IU Bloomington’s highest honor for tenure-track faculty.

Called “a forward-thinking young composer filled with new ideas, ready to tackle anything,” DiOrio was named Best Composer 2011 by HoustonPress for Klytemnestra, his chamber opera with Divergence Vocal Theater and librettist Misha Penton. His second opera, The Little Blue One with librettist Meghan Guidry, had its premiere in April 2014 in Boston with Juventas New Music Ensemble and musical director Lidiya Yankovskaya. Of the opera, the Boston Examiner wrote, “The Little Blue One defies the widespread notion that contemporary classical music is inaccessible; DiOrio’s score abounds with gorgeous lyricism, supported by compelling harmony.” He has been awarded prizes in composition from ASCAP and ACDA, among many others. His work is published with Alliance, Boosey & Hawkes, Carl Fischer, Éditions à Couer-Joie, Edition Peters, G. Schirmer, Lorenz, Oxford and Santa Barbara.

DiOrio earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting from the Yale School of Music, studying with Marguerite Brooks, Simon Carrington and Jeffrey Douma. His DMA research on Krzysztof Penderecki’s St. Luke Passion is published in The Choral Scholar. He also earned the MMA and MM in conducting from Yale and the BM in composition summa cum laude from Ithaca College, where he studied with Gregory Woodward, Dana Wilson and Janet Galván. He currently serves as Treasurer on the Executive Board for the National Collegiate Choral Organization (NCCO), as a member of the Board of Directors for Chorus America, and on advisory boards for the Choral Arts Initiative, the Princeton Pro Musica, and the Young New Yorker’s Chorus (YNYC).


DiOrio was also chosen as BCE’s Honorable Mention in the 2009 Commission Competition.


Dana Kaufman

Honorable Mention, 9th Annual Commission Competition

The works of composer Dana Kaufman (b. Chicago, 1989) have been heard throughout North America, and in Estonia, the Czech Republic and Italy. Her music has been featured at venues and festivals such as Estonian Music Days,Charlotte New Music Festival, Centro Musica Contemporanea di Milano, Ravinia Festival’s One Score, One Chicago series, Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre Fall Festival, Peoria Civic Center, Jordan Hall, Atlas Performing Arts Center, College Music Society, Baltimore War Memorial, North American Jewish Choral Festival, FEASt Festival and Frontwave New Music Festival; it has been performed and recorded by ensembles including Great Noise Ensemble, Atlantic Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, a very small consortium, Firebird Ensemble, Wet Ink Ensemble and So Percussion. A 2015 Semi-Finalist for the American Prize in the Opera/Theater/Film Division for her one-act opera/undergraduate thesis, Diary of a Madman, Ms. Kaufman is also the recipient of numerous awards including a 2012-2013 Fulbright Student Research Grant to Estonia, University of Miami (UM) Dean’s Fellowship, New England Conservatory (NEC) Merit Awards and Scholarships, Amherst College Edward Poole Lay Fellowship, Finalist in the 2016 New American Voices Composition Competition, First Runner-Up/Finalist in the Black House New Operas Project Composers’ Competition, First Place in the Music Institute of Chicago’s Generation Next Composition Competition, and was a winner of the Women Composers Festival New England Score Call and flutist Orlando Cela’s “Project Extended” Score Call. Ms. Kaufmancompleted her MM in Composition at NEC and is currently pursuing her DMA in Composition at UM Frost School of Music, where she is the first Frost School of Music student to be a Dean’s Fellow.

8th Annual Commission Competition – 2015

Gregory W. Brown

Winner, 8th Annual Commission Competition

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 Darwin received its European debut in March 2013 at the Dinosaur Hall of Berlin’s Museum für Naturkunde.

Dr. Brown’s CD, Moonstrung Air, can be found here.

Saunder Choi

Honorable Mention, 8th Annual Commission Competition

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.

He was a 2012 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award finalist and received the 2013 Leroy Southers Composition Award from the Berklee College of Music. He was one of the composers for the 1st Young Composers Initiative by the Boston Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and was recently awarded the 1st prize in the 2014 American Prize for Choral Composition (student division). He sang tenor and was one of the resident composers of the world-renowned Philippine Madrigal Singers.

He holds a BA major in Communication Arts degree from the De La Salle University-Manila, and a BM in Composition, minor in conducting, summa cum laude, from the Berklee College of Music.

He is currently pursuing his Master of Music in Composition at the USC Thornton School of Music, studying with Ted Hearne, where he also received the Hans J. Salter Endowed Music Award. In the past, he has studied composition with Donald Crockett and Andrew List. Select works are published with Santa Barbara Music Publishing, Earthsongs, and distributed by MusicSpoke.

Melissa Dunphy

Honorable Mention, 8th Annual Commission Competition

Melissa Dunphy specializes in composing theatrical and political vocal music. Recent successes include the Gonzales 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 electroacoustic festivals. Dunphy has also received awards from ASCAP and the Lotte Lehmann Foundation. Commissions include pieces for Volti, Ensemble Epomeo, Kennett Symphony Children’s Choir, and Whitman College Chamber Singers.

Dunphy has a Bachelor of Music from West Chester University (summa cum laude, Pi Kappa Lambda), and is currently completing her doctoral dissertation at the University of Pennsylvania: an opera about the sex life of author Ayn Rand.

7th Annual Commission Competition – 2014

Samuel Beebe

Winner, 7th Annual Commission Competion

Samuel Beebe (b. 1986) is an American composer of concert, opera, theatre, film, pop, and game music. He holds a MM in composition from Boston University, where he studied with Ketty Nez, Rodney Lister, and Samuel Headrick. During his time at BU he taught harmony, and participated in masters classes in composition with Gunther Schuller and Salvatore Sciarrino. He also holds a BS in music technology from Northeastern University, where he studied Electroacoustic composition with Mike Frengel, Ronald Bruce Smith, and Howard Frazin. At NEU, he was strongly influenced by a song-crafting seminar with songwriter/singer/activist Peggy Seeger. Interest in the dramatic possibilities of music and a need to collaborate with other creatives has led Mr. Beebe to pursue commissions in film, theatre, opera, and other less traditional areas. Theatre collaborations include Bully Dance, produced by Argos Productions at The Boston Playwright’s Theatre, and Angela Carter’s Hairy Tales, produced by Imaginary Beasts at the Boston Center for the Arts, the score of the latter nominated for a 2014 IRNE Award for best music/sound design. He has also composed a score for The documentary Tornado Tube, premiered at the 2014 Salem Film Festival at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Mr. Beebe’s composition, Riding on a Train in Rush Hour, was premiered during the Cold, cold night concert series of BCE’s 14th season.

Gregory W. Brown

Honorable Mention, 7th Annual Commission Competion

Dr. Gregory W. Brown is a composer, conductor, scholar, and experimental musician living and working in Western Massachusetts, where he serves as founding artistic director for the Smith College Festival of Sound & Space. He recently completed a three- year appointment as Iva Dee Hiatt Distinguished Lecturer and Assistant Director of Choral Activities at Smith College in Northampton, MA, where he conducted the Smith College Chorus and taught conducting, choral literature, and sight-singing. Prior to his time at Smith, he served as Visiting Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at The College of Wooster, where he conducted the Wooster Chorus and taught composition and music technology. Other teaching and conducting positions include work atAmherst College, the University of Georgia, University of Massachusetts (Amherst), and The Putney School.

Brown is an avid composer of acoustic and electroacoustic music, with performances throughout the United States and Europe. His studies were taken with Lewis Spratlan, Stefan Young, Adrian Childs, and Leonard V. (“Chic”) Ball. His recent commissions for vocal ensemble New York Polyphony have been heard on American Public Media’s Performance Today, Minnesota Public Radio, Kansas Public Radio, and Danish National Radio; and his latest major work, the Missa Charles Darwin, was featured at a recent TEDx event in Woods Hole, MA, with the full premiere coming shortly thereafter as part of the Falmouth Forum. Recent commissions include works for New York Polyphony, Athens Guitar Trio, Manhattan Choral Ensemble, the 2012 Five-College Choral Festival, and the Da Camera Singers. Brown is currently recording a CD of his choral music for Navona Records (early 2015 release).

6th Annual Commission Competition – 2013

Rita Ueda

Winner, 6th Annual Commission Competition

Rita Ueda is a composer, sound designer, and music teacher in Vancouver, Canada.  Her recent works include forty years of snowfall will not heal an ancient forestfor the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Escape from the Evil Alien Surfblasters for 8 hand piano ensemble, and Still Shaking from the Latte, a piano solo for Misuzu Kitazumi-Burns, a member of the LA Piano Unit. Her as the snowflakes return to the sky for string orchestra was awarded 2nd prize in the 2010/11 International Gustav Mahler Composition Competition, and it will be performed next season by the Vienna Radio Symphony and the Vienna Chamber Orchestra. Rita was born in Hakodate, Japan, to a family of musicians, poets, dancers and engineers. She moved to Vancouver, Canada with her family in 1971. Rita studied composition and sound design at Simon Fraser University and the California Institute of the Arts. Her teachers include Rudolf Komoros, Rodney Sharman, Wadada Leo Smith, Morton Subotnick and Stephen L. Mosko.

Ms. Ueda’s composition, raindrops, footstepswas premiered during BCE’s 13th season opening concert, raindrops, footsteps.

Elizabeth Lim

Honorable Mention, 6th Annual Commission Competition

A Juilliard graduate, award-winning composer Elizabeth Lim wrote her first song when she was five years old. Since then, her music, noted for its verve and expressiveness, has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. Elizabeth is an alumnus of Harvard University, where she graduated magna cum laude with highest honors, and the Juilliard School of Music, where she is currently a doctoral candidate. For her musical contributions at Harvard, she was awarded the 2008 Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts and was recognized as one of “Fifteen Most Promising Seniors in the Arts.” While at Juilliard, her orchestral work, “Paranoia,” was a winner of the annual composers’ competition and was premiered by Jeff Milarsky and the Juilliard Orchestra in Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Concert Hall. In 2008, Elizabeth was named an Emerging Composer-in-Residence with the Berkeley Symphony as part of its Under Construction Series, during which three of her orchestral works were read and performed. Further activities that year included the premiere of “Crossroads,” a piece Elizabeth wrote as recipient of the 2007-2008 Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra’s Peer-to-Peer Commissioning Composition Competition, the premiere of “Waltz for Forgotten Time,” which was the winner of the 2007-2008 Bellevue Youth Symphony’s Young Composer’s Competition, and an intensive musical experience at Artsaha! First National Iron Composers Competition, for which Elizabeth received second prize and the Audience Award. Elizabeth is also an alumnus of the Albany Symphony’s first Composer to Center Stage workshop, during which her piece “In the Hour of Exile” was read publicly by the orchestra and conducted by David Alan Miller. An avid composer of choral music as well, Elizabeth was named the winner of the Youth Inspiring Youth Young Choral Composers competition, for which she was commissioned to write a piece to Skyler Pham’s haunting poem, “Sisyphean.” More recently, Elizabeth’s orchestral piece, “The Remains of Truth,” was premiered by the Alabama All-State Orchestra during their annual music festival. The American Composers Orchestra also selected “Disharmony of the Spheres” for a reading by the Buffalo Philharmonic as part of the Earshot Composer Reading series, and the American Composers Forum and VocalEssence co-presented her choral work, “Tempest,” during the 2012 Essentially Choral readings, directed by Philip Brunelle. Following the readings, Elizabeth received a commission to write “Lady Freedom Among Us,” which was premiered during VocalEssence’s 2013 WITNESS Concert.

Christopher Williams

Honorable Mention, 6th Annual Commission Competition

Chris Williams began his musical career at the age of eight as a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. Having won a scholarship to study Music at New College, Oxford, he went on to study postgraduate composition with Alfred Nieman, and piano with John Yorke, at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he won several prestigious prizes, including the Royal Philharmonic Prize for composition. His compositions range from children’s songs to large scale choral and orchestral works, such as the Tsunami Requiem, an enormously moving and intense work, to his Gloria where he demonstrates his great versitility; scoring the work for large choir and orchestra and steel drums. His first foray into Youth Music Theatre was an adaptation of “Kim” by Rudyard Kipling for the Lawrence School, Sanawar, in India, which toured the whole country in 1981. In 2002, he returned to India as Composer-in-Residence at the Lawrence School and wrote another musical, “The Coolie’s Tale”, to celebrate the centenary of the Kalka-Shimla Railway. In between, he has collaborated with the writer and director, Nick Stimson, on many prize-winning music theatre works, such as “Brother Jacques’, “StarChild” and Korczak”, many of which were first performed by the Young Company at the Theatre Royal, Plymouth, with Chris as Musical Director. As Musician-in-Residence at the Beaford Centre, Devon, he was also the first music animateur to be appointed by the Arts Council, 1985-8. For the past six years he has lived in Bangalore, earning his living as a pianist playing western classical music. India has inspired him compose a number of works, including “Tsunami Requiem” and the “Songs of the Coromandel Coast” which was premièred at the Royal Festival Hall, London, in May 2008, by the English Philharmonia and Chorus, with James Gilchrist tenor and Graham Wili conductor.

5th Annual Commission Competition – 2012

Stephen Feigenbaum

Winner, 6th Annual Commission Competition

Stephen Feigenbaum is a 21-year-old composer from Winchester, Massachusetts. His work draws on aspects of popular music, from the grittiest to the most lyrical. In the summer of 2010, Stephen was the ASCAP Foundation Young Composer Fellow at the Bowdoin International Music Festivalin Brunswick, Maine. He also is the 2010 winner of the Sacra/Profana (San Diego) choral composition contest. He is a past winner of an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award and of competitions sponsored by the New York Art Ensemble, the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, and the Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra. He also received a fellowship for study at the Norfolk (Connecticut) Chamber Music Festival. His compositions have been performed at Jordan Hall and the Hatch Shell in Boston, the Green Room in San Francisco, Lincoln Center and Le Poisson Rouge in New York, and in cities from Vancouver, to Berlin, to Prague. One of his works was performed by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra, directed by Erich Kunzel, on a CD released by Telarc in 2009. Stephen is a music major at Yale, where he conceived Sic Futuristic (the first production of Sic InC), a high-energy, multimedia show for new chamber music, including his own compositions. He has studied with Kathryn Alexander, Martin Bresnick, Michael Gandolfi, Samuel Adler, and Claude Baker.

Mr. Feigenbaum’s composition, The Mountain Lion, premiered as part of BCE’s Chichester Psalms concert.

Brian Christian

Honorable Mention, 5th Annual Commission Competition

Bryan Christian (b. 1984) is an American composer whose works receive frequent performances throughout the United States and Europe. He has received commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, the 59th Festival Les Musicales (2011; Colmar, France), the 19th and 20th Juventus Festivals (2009 and 2010; Cambrai, France), 2011 Monadnock Music in consortium with Duke University, the Ohio Northern University Symphony Orchestra, the Aurora Borealis Duo, pianist Julien Libeer, and famed new music soprano Susan Narucki, among others. He also frequently collaborates with and is commissioned by violinist Liana Gourdjia. Mr. Christian is the recipient of numerous awards, including the J. William Fulbright Fellowship to Estonia, the BMI Student Composer Award, and the Indiana University Dean’s Prize in Music Composition. Mr. Christian is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Music Composition at Duke University. Holding degrees from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University (BM), University of California San Diego (MA), and the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (MA), Mr. Christian has studied composition with Scott Lindroth, Chinary Ung, Toivo Tulev, Helena Tulve, Sven-David Sandström, Claude Baker, Don Freund, and P.Q. Phan. Additionally, Mr. Christian has received consultations by composers as diverse as Arvo Pärt, George Crumb, Peter Eötvös, and Helmut Lachenmann.

Eduardo Malachevsky

Honorable Mention, 5th Annual Commission Competition

Born in Argentina (1960), Eduardo Andrés Malachevsky is a composer and choral conductor with a unique and fascinating career. After studying flute, conducting and composition, his musical and artistic future seemed promising. However, at the age of 24 he chose to become a Cistercian monk and entered an austere Abbey in the Pampas of Argentina. He lived a contemplative, monastic life for fourteen years. He left the order in 1998 to develop and pursue his creative and conducting talent. As a composer, Mr. Malachevsky’s works have accumulated numerous awards; in effect, 19 times on the last ten years his scores have reached the final stages of national and international composition competitions. With great finesse in his choral writing, his music can be deeply appealing, touching, as well as humorous, burlesque and ironic, exploring all the subtle facets of the human voice. Malachevsky is nowadays the most awarded Argentinean choral composer, developing at the same time a rich career as choral conductor.

4th Annual Commission Competition – 2011

Timothy C. Takach

Winner, 4th Annual Commission Competition

Timothy C. Takach (b. 1978) has received a number of commissions from various organizations including the St. Olaf Choir, Cantus, the Bowling Green State University Men’s Chorus, The Singers: Minnesota Choral Artists, the Cherry Creek High School Meistersingers, and the Western Michigan University Chorale. His compositions have been heard on NPR and have been recorded by various groups in North America. Takach graduated with honors from St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN in 2000 with a BA in Music Theory/Composition and a BA in Studio Art. While there he studied composition under Dr. Peter Hamlin and Dr. Timothy Mahr. He now lives in Minneapolis and sings with the professional male vocal ensemble, Cantus. As a singer with Cantus, Takach gives over 80 concerts a year and has had his works performed in concert halls across the United States, Canada, and Europe.

Mr. Takach’s composition, A Depth We Cannot Sound, was premiered as part of BCE’s 10th season finale concert, Bang!

Till MacIvor Meyn

Honorable Mention, 4th Annual Commission Competition

Till MacIvor Meyn earned his Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of California at San Diego, a Master of Music in Composition from Indiana University, and the Doctorate of Musical Arts in Composition from the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. Dr. Meyn is Associate Professor of Theory and Composition at Texas Christian University, and has taught at Youngstown State University, the University of Southern California, and Pepperdine University among other institutions. Performance highlights include: Orion in Shanghai, Beijing, and Shenyang, China 2009; Dominant Curve at the National Music Academy of Ukraine in 2009; Red/Blue at Clarinet Fest 2008 in Oklahoma City, MO; Precipice at the 2008 Biennial Saxophone Congress in South Carolina; Anthem at the 2007 Florida State University Festival of New Music; Groovelocity at the 2006 SCI/CMS National Convention in San Antonio; The City in the Sea by the Woodley Ensemble in Washington, D.C. (2007); various compositions at the 2002, 2005 and 2006 National Flute Association Conventions in Washington, D.C., San Diego, and Pittsburgh, at the 2006 World Saxophone Congress in Slovenia, at the Manhattan School of Music (January 2005), at the 2004 Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses National Seminar at Harvard, and at the 2004 Midwest Regional ACDA Convention in Indianapolis. Dr. Meyn’s music is published by Alry Publications, ECS Publishing, and C. Alan Publications. Dr. Meyn is also a baritone singer, and has performed with numerous choral ensembles, notably Schola Cantorum of Texas, the Los Angeles Master Chorale, the University of Southern California Chamber Singers, and the Indiana University Pro Arte Early Music Ensemble.

Matthew Peterson

Honorable Mention, 4th Annual Commission Competition

Matthew Peterson writes music for concerts and the stage. His musical output is broad and diverse. He considers himself first and foremost a songster and storyteller, whether composing for opera, orchestra, or any other ensemble. He continues an American musical tradition exemplified by artists such as Charles Ives and Bob Dylan. He has received commissions from musicians and ensembles in the United States, England, and Sweden, and his music has received performances at concert halls, festivals, and universities across North America and Europe. He has received the Fulbright Grant, and awards from BMI, ASCAP, the National Opera Association, Vocal Essence, Chanticleer, and others. Matthew lives outside Stockholm, Sweden, following his calling as an opera composer. Matthew and librettist Jason Zencka have written two chamber operas together. The Binding of Isaac was premiered in 2006 at St. Olaf College. Voir Dire will be premiered in Stockholm in spring 2011. He has studied composition at the Gotland tonsättarskola (Visby, Sweden), Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and St. Olaf College. His former teachers include Per Mårtensson, Henrik Strindberg, Sven-David Sandström, Claude Baker, and Justin Merritt. He recently joined the faculty of the Gotland tonsättarskola where he will teach notation and aural-skills. Matthew was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, in 1984. He lives at Mörby Gård, near Rånäs, Sweden.

Paul J. Rudoi

Honorable Mention, 4th Annual Commission Competition – 2011

Paul J. Rudoi, tenor vocalist and composer, has performed and recorded a wide range of music as a soloist and in various ensembles around the country. Early on in his career, he sang with the Blanche Moyse Chorale, the Sons of Orpheus, and the American Boychoir. Since 2008, he has been a member of the full-time vocal ensemble Cantus and has performed with various artists including Bobby McFerrin, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the James Sewell Ballet. Though Paul composes for various instruments, his primary focus has always been vocal music. Sections of his song cycle Child of the Heartless Wind, based on poetry by Sara Teasdale, were premiered in early 2008, and his Song of Unity, written for male chorus, was premiered shortly thereafter. In March of 2010, Paul was awarded a Subito Grant from the American Composers Forum to record three of his choral works, including an arrangement of I Wonder As I Wander and a double choir setting of E.E. Cummings’ i carry your heart with me. Paul holds a degree in vocal performance from the Hartt School in Hartford, Connecticut. His teachers have included Edward Bolkovac, Edie Hill, and Kevin Jones.

3rd Annual Commission Competition – 2010

Vahram Sargsyan

Winner, 3rd Annual Commission Competition

Vahram Sargsyan has written orchestral, chamber and choral works that have been performed in his homeland, in Europe and North America; Vahram Sargsyan is also active as a conductor. Born in 1981 in Yerevan, Armenia, Sargsyan studied from 1996–98 at the P. Tchaikovsky Musical College moving to the Ashot Zohrabyan at the Yerevan Komitas State Conservatory from 1998–2003. There, he also studied conducting with Tigran Hekekyan and composition with Ashot Zohrabyan. His music has been performed in Armenia, UK, Germany, Austria, Belarus, Greece, Poland, Italy, Canada, as well as in USA. His composition Luis Zvart was performed on the 6th World Symposium on Choral Music (Minneapolis, Minnesota 2002). His arrangement of Khorurd Metz (Great Mystery) is included in the Oxford University Press anthology World Carols for Choirs (2005) and has been recorded by BBC Singers. Sargsyan has had commissions from Oxford University Press (UK), MPAW Vocal Ensemble (Germany), A.R.CO.VA. (Italy) and others. His honors include the 1st prize in the International Contest for New Choral Compositions in Petrinja, Croatia (June 2009, for Anegh Bnutiun); an award from World Armenian Congress for “Creative attainment of the Armenian contemporary composer’s art” (2009, for Mythis); a winner prize at the European Seminar for Young Composers (Aosta, Italy 2008, for Laudate Dominum); an award in the Choral Composition Competition in Yerevan, Armenia (2006, for Tantum ergo). Vahram Sargsyan founded the Armenian Chamber Voices in Yerevan in 2005 and has since served as its conductor.

Mr. Sargsyan’s composition, Tribulationes, premiered as part of final concert for BCE’s 9th season.

Iman Habibi

Honorable Mention, 3rd Annual Commission Competition

Hailed as a giant in talent (the Penticton Herald) Iman’s music has been performed by a number of noted ensembles and performers such as musica intima, The Vancouver Bach Choir, The Prince George Symphony Orchestra, DaCapo Chamber Choir, cellist Jonah Kim, soprano Simone Osborne, tenor Keith Klassen, baritone Peter McGillivray, soprano Carla Huhtanen, mezzo-soprano Kimberly Barber, and pianists Carrie-Ann Matheson, and Liz Upchurch among others, and has been workshopped by The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, The Aventa ensemble, The Atlantic Music Festival Orchestra, and Drosera ensemble. Iman Habibi’s music and performances have been heard across North America, in cities such as New York, Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver. His Music has been programmed by prestigious concert organizations such as The Marilyn Horne Foundation (New York), The Canadian Opera Company (Toronto), Tapestry New Opera (Toronto), Atlantic Music Festival (Maine), the BCScene Festival (Ottawa), and the Powell Street Festival (Vancouver). He has received numerous awards including second prize at the 2008 Vancouver Bach Choir’s national Competition for Large Choir Works for his work Erroneous Kudos, and first prize for his work Black Riders at the 2009 Guelph Chamber Choir’s national competition. His music and interviews are broadcast regularly on radios across North America, such as CBC radio one, CBC radio two (Canada), and WQXR (New York). He has received numerous commissions including a commission to compose his first piano concerto for The Prince George Symphony Orchestra (PGSO). In Feb. 2010, Mr. Habibi appeared as the piano soloist to premiere this concerto with the PGSO. He completed his Masters degree at the University of British Columbia under the instruction of Dorothy Chang. Other teachers include Jeffrey Ryan, and Stephen Chatman. As a pianist, he was a finalist at the Inaugural Knigge National Piano Competition. He has had the privilege of working with many great musicians and performing with various ensembles such as the UBC Symphonic Wind Ensemble. He appeared as the piano soloist with the Prince George Symphony Orchestra to premiere his first piano concerto in Feb. 2010. Iman is also well-known for his collaborations with pianist Deborah Grimmett. The two pianists formed a duo in 2010, which at its debut, won third prize, and the audience choice award at the International Northwest Piano Ensemble Competition. In 2008, Mr. Habibi was accepted on scholarship to attend both Orford and Toronto summer music academies, where he studied in masterclass with world-renowned pianists and pedagogues such as Anton Kuerti, John Perry, Andre Laplante, and Marc Durand. He currently studies piano privately under one of the world’s most accomplished piano duos, Kenneth Broadway and Ralph Markham.

Jocelyn Hagen

Honorable Mention, 3rd Annual Commission Competition

Jocelyn Hagen (b.1980), a native of Valley City, North Dakota, composes music that has been described as “dramatic and deeply moving” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis/St. Paul). Her first forays into composition were via songwriting, and this is very evident in her work. Her music is melodically driven, boldly beautiful, and intricately crafted. Since her graduation from St. Olaf College in 2003, Jocelyn has received over 40 commissions, 50 premieres, and 100 performances. In 2010 Jocelyn was awarded a McKnight Artist Fellowship. She has also received grants and awards from ASCAP, the American Composers Forum, Minnesota Music Educators Association, VocalEssence, the Yale Glee Club, the Lotte Lehman Foundation, the Sorel Medallion Competition, the Cincinnati Camerata, the University of Minnesota, and the San Francisco Song Festival. Her commissions include the American Choral Directors Association of Minnesota, the North Dakota Music Teacher’s Association, The Singers – Minnesota Choral Artists, Trio Callisto, Cantus, the St. Olaf Band, NDSU Gold Star Band, and the Copper Street Brass Quintet. Her work is published by Graphite Publishing, Santa Barbara Music Publishing and Boosey and Hawkes.

Steven Serpa

Honorable Mention, 3rd Annual Commission Competition

Steven Serpa came to music relatively late compared to many. He gave himself his first music lesson, a voice lesson, for his twentieth birthday. Since then he has received two bachelors degrees from the University of Rhode Island, one in vocal performance and one in musicology and a masters degree in early music performance from Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Serpa output is focused on vocal and chamber music. His art songs have been performed in the New England and Mid-Atlantic areas. His choral works have been taken up by churches and ensembles in the Boston and Providence areas. His music drama, Le Laü̈stic, based on Medieval French poetry, has been performed twice in the Boston area. A sonata he composed for solo flute, Pan Episodes, has been performed by flutists in Boston, Tennessee and recently in Alabama as part of the Mid-south Flute Association’s annual conference. Other recent works include a one-act opera based on a fable by Jean de la Fontaine, Thyrsis & Amaranth, and a work commissioned for performance at Boston University for viola and piano, Alto-fantasie … il n’y avait rien d’aussi rouge … Recently, he collaborated with North Carolina poet Jeffery Beam on Heaven’s Birds: Lament and Song, a cantata to commemorate World AIDS Day 2008 in a benefit concert for the AIDS Action Committee of Boston. He has worked under Geoffrey Gibbs and Eliane Aberdam at the University of Rhode Island, Paul Brust at Longy School of Music and is currently studying composition under Tom Cipullo in New York City.

2nd Annual Commission Competition – 2009

Forrest Pierce

Winner, 2nd Annual Commission Competition

Forrest Pierce composes genre-defying music steeped in Sufi mysticism and contemporary virtuosity. Sincere, often triadic, and blatantly tuneful, it draws on both non-western and rock-era traditions to depict an authentic world of sacred unity and natural beauty. His works have been performed in sacred and concert settings around the world, on noteworthy concert series and by diverse ensembles such as Brave New Works, the Chamber Players of the Society of New Music/ISCM, the BMOP chamber series, DuoSolo, the Chamber Orchestras of Portland and Kansas City, the Indianapolis and Walla Walla Symphonies, the Concord Ensemble, the Seattle New Music Ensemble, the Oregon and Northwest Repertory Singers, the Boston Choral Ensemble, the Dublin and Canadian International Organ Competitions, Songfest, and by numerous distinguished soloists in North America and abroad. Pierce is the past resident composer of the Seattle New Music Ensemble and the founding artistic director of Portland’s Friends of Rain Contemporary Ensemble. His catalog is led by over 50 works for voices, including operatic, choral, and solo vocal forces. Recent works include settings of the Shir Hashirim for the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra, and a Sufi ritual on texts of Rabi’a for the choirs of Mt. Holyoke College. Pierce teaches on the faculty of the University of Kansas School of Music, and was educated at the University of Puget Sound, the University of Minnesota, and Indiana University.

Mr. Pierce’s composition, The Jasmine Arrow Sutra, premiered during BCE’s 8th season.

Dominick DiOrio

Honorable Mention, 2nd Annual Commission Competition

Conductor and composer Dominick DiOrio (b. 1984) is Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Music at Lone Star College-Montgomery. He is pursuing the DMA at Yale University (MMA ’09) in choral conducting, where he studied with Marguerite L. Brooks and Simon Carrington. At Yale, Mr. DiOrio was Director of the University Church Choir, Principal Assistant Conductor and Ensemble Manager of the Yale Camerata, and Co-Conductor of the Yale Recital Chorus. He has also served on Faculty at the Berkshire Choral Festival, Montreal. In October 2009, he travelled to Sweden to compete in the Eric Ericson Award, the top international competition for young choral conductors. He sings professionally with the Houston Chamber Choir. As a composer, Mr. DiOrio has been the recipient of many recent awards including the 2009 Young New Yorkers’ Chorus Nathan Davis Prize in Composition, the 2007 Allen E. Ostrander International Trombone Composition Prize, and the 2006 Raymond W. Brock Memorial Student Composition Prize given by ACDA. His work is published with Alliance, Lorenz/Roger Dean, and Oxford. Mr. DiOrio has also received the Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Yale University and a Bachelor of Music in Composition summa cum laude from the Ithaca College School of Music. While at Ithaca, he studied conducting with Janet Galván, which led to his appearance as a finalist in the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) National Undergraduate Conducting Competition in Los Angeles in 2005. At that time, he also served as Assistant Conductor with the Ithaca Children’s Choir and was Founder and Conductor of the Ithaca College Recital Chorus.

Lansing McLoskey

Honorable Mention, 2nd Annual Commission Competition

Lansing D. McLoskey (b.1964) came to the world of composition via a somewhat unorthodox route. The proverbial “Three B’s” for him were not Bach, Beethoven and Brahms, but rather The Beatles, Bauhaus and Black Flag. His first experiences at writing music were not exercises in counterpoint, but as the guitarist and songwriter for punk rock bands in San Francisco in the early 1980’s. It was actually through these years in the visceral world of punk that he first developed a love for classical music (but that’s another story). Described as “a major talent and a deep thinker with a great ear” by the American Composers Orchestra and “an engaging, gifted composer…writing smart, compelling and fascinating music with a bluesy edge and infectious punch” by Gramophone Magazine, Lansing McLoskey has had his music performed to critical acclaim across the U.S. and in twelve other countries on six continents. His music has an emotional intensity that appeals to academic and amateur alike, defying traditional stylistic pigeonholes. He has won numerous national and international awards, and in 2009 he became the first composer in the 43 year history of the ISU Contemporary Music Festival to win both the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra Composition Competition and the “Music Now” Competition, both blind-juried national competitions with two independent juries. Among his other awards are the 2009 newEar First Annual Composition Competition, the 2009 American Composers Forum/LA National Composition Competition, the Omaha Symphony International New Music Competition (First Prize), the Kenneth Davenport National Competition for Orchestral Works (First Prize), Charles Ives Center Orchestral Composition Competition, Lee Ettelson Composers Award, the Paris New Music Review International Composition Competition (First Prize), and the SCI/ASCAP 2000 National Student Composition Competition (First Prize). He was awarded the distinguished Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, and in 2002 received an Astral Career Grant from The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. In 2004 he was appointed to a five-year term on the Board of Advisors of the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition. McLoskey completed a Ph.D. at Harvard University, where he directed The Harvard Group for New Music. He holds degrees with honors from UC Santa Barbara and the USC Thornton School of Music, with additional studies at The Royal Danish Academy of Music. His principle teachers were Mario Davidovsky, Stephen Hartke, and Bernard Rands. His book Twentieth Century Danish Music remains the only comprehensive research guide on the topic, and he was awarded the Haug Prize for Scandinavian Studies in recognition of his contributions to the field. Currently McLoskey is an Associate Professor at the University of Miami Frost School of Music. From 2004–2009 he was Co-President of Composers in Red Sneakers, one of the oldest composer consortiums in the country. His music is released on Albany, Wergo Schallplatten, Capstone, Tantara, and Beauport Classics, and available from Subito Music Corp. and ACA Publishing. A monograph CD of his music—Sixth Species—was released to critical praise in 2008, and two CDreleases are slated for 2010, including his award-winning orchestral work Prex Penitentialis. His works are available from ACA Publishing, Mostly Marimba Productions, and Subito Music Publishing.

Felicia Sandler

Honorable Mention, 2nd Annual Commission Competition

Felicia Sandler is admired as a composer of music that is highly original, beautiful, and daring. Her compositions have been enthusiastically received in concert venues across the United States and Europe. She has been recognized with awards and commissions from the San Francisco Choral Society, the Dale Warland Singers, the American Composers Orchestra, the Big East Conference Band Directors Association, the Theodore Presser Music Foundation, and Meet the Composer. Sandler’s instrumental works have been performed by the American Composer’s orchestra, the Plymouth Symphony, the U.S. Navy Band, the New England Conservatory Percussion Ensemble (under Frank Epstein), and at a number of regional, national, and international meetings of CBDNA, SCI, the International Alliance of Women in Music, and the Indiana International Contemporary Music Festival, among others. Her choral works have been featured on programs by such fine ensembles as the Dale Warland Singers, the San Francisco Choral Society, Volti, the Peninsula Women’s Chorus, the San Francisco Girl’s Chorus, and at various’ regional and national meetings of the ACDA, CMEA, and OAKE. Sandler’s compositional style is at once full of energetic pulse (studies in West Africa have made an indelible impression), and deeply introspective (reflecting a genuine affection for spiritual practice). Her compositions are published by E.C. Schirmer, Mark Foster, Ballerbach Music, and Dancing Flea Music Company. After receiving her Ph.D. in composition and theory from University of Michigan in 2001, Sandler moved to Boston where she lives with her husband and son. She serves on the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music.

1st Annual Commission Competition – 2008

Zachary Wadsworth

Winner, 1st Annual Commission Competition

The music of Zachary Wadsworth, praised for its “evocative mixture of old and new,” includes works for solo instruments and voices, choirs, chamber ensembles, and orchestras. Zachary’s opera, Venus and Adonis, has been performed by three different companies and has been hailed as an “astonishingly confident” and “mesmerizing” work. As first-prize winner of the 2007 ASCAP / Lotte Lehmann Foundation Art Song Competition, Zachary’s recent song cycle, Pictures of the Floating World, was premiered in February, 2009, at the Lincoln Center Library in New York. Other awards include a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2007), three ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards, and first prizes in the first Long Leaf Opera One Act Opera Competition (2006), the Chamber Music Rochester Young Composer Competition (2007), the Boston Choral Ensemble Commission Competition (2007), and the Pacific Chorale Young Composer Competition (2008). While studying composition, he also received the Howard Hanson Large Ensemble Prize from the Eastman School of Music and the Frances E. Osborne Kellogg Memorial Prize from the Yale School of Music. Two of Zachary’s works, O Saving Victim and Beati Quorum Remissæ, have been recorded on the Gothic record label, and the latter has been published by Alliance Music Publications. An energetic compositional collaborator, he has received commissions from numerous individuals and organizations, including ASCAP, The Commission Project, the Hanson Institute for American Music, MAYFEST, the Eastman School of Music, Smith College, St. Anne Church, Rochester, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Rochester. His works have been performed by the Washington National Opera chorus, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra, Long Leaf Opera, and by ensembles at Cambridge University, Yale University, the Eastman School of Music, Westminster Choir College, Smith College, and Nazareth College. A native of Richmond, Virginia, Zachary (b. 1983) is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music (BM, 2005) and Yale University (MM, 2007), and he is currently pursuing a DMA in music composition at Cornell University. His composition teachers have included Steven Stucky, Roberto Sierra, Martin Bresnick, Ezra Laderman, Ingram Marshall, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon, Robert Morris, David Liptak, James Willey, and Syd Hodkinson. He has also studied at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute and the Aspen Music Festival and School.

Mr. Wadsworth’s composition, Look down, fair moon, was premiered during the spring concert of BCE’s 7th season.

Eric Banks

Honorable Mention, 1st Annual Commission Competition

Conductor, composer, professor, vocalist, linguist, and ethnomusicologist, Eric Banks has garnered significant acclaim as one of the most creative choral directors in the United States—for his unwavering commitment to new music for unaccompanied voices. In 1992, Eric founded The Esoterics, a professional-caliber chamber chorus of volunteers in Seattle whose mission is to perform and perpetuate contemporary choral music beyond the scope of the established a cappella canon. In 2004, Banks founded another group, the all-male vocal ensemble ÆDONIS, whose mission is to perform choral music by gay composers. After completing his BA in Composition at Yale University in 1990, Eric relocated to Seattle to study in the departments of Choral Studies and Music Theory at the University of Washington. In 1997, at the conclusion of his graduate study, Banks traveled to Sweden as a Fulbright Scholar and Lois Roth Fellow in order to learn more about its contemporary choral culture. While in Stockholm, Eric sang as a chorister and soloist with several ensembles, including the Swedish Radio Choir and the Eric Ericson Chamber Choir. In his composition, Eric is drawn to ideas that are ‘esoteric’ in origin, and chooses to uncover and elucidate texts and concepts that are undiscovered, under-represented, or not easily decipherable to most. By focusing almost exclusively on choral repertoire, Banks has been able to combine his interest in poetry, philosophy, classical civilization, comparative religion, ancient melody, and social justice, to create a growing repertoire for a cappella chorus. His compositions include: Celestial Wystan (2001, a triptych of poems by WH Auden), Tabula siderum zodiaco (2002, mapping the stars of the zodiac), Jâvdâni(2003, setting two quatrains on the afterlife by Rumi), Sonetti d’amore (2005–2006, a cantata of Italian love sonnets by Michelangelo), Twelve Qur’anic visions (2005–2007, a dreamscape of sacred verses in Arabic), Vitam impendere vero (2007, setting Russian verses by Marina Tsvetayova and English phrases from the last published article by the slain journalist Anna Politkovskaya), Sarasvati (2008, a mantra in Sanskrit and English to the Hindu goddess of music), The seven creations (2008–2010, a surround-sound a cappella opera based on the ancient Persian cosmology), Shir hakhusim (2009, setting verses of Hebrew love poetry from the Song of songs), Twelve flowers (2009, commissioned by Boston Choral Ensemble, setting haiku in Japanese and English by Yosa Buson), A new alphabet (2009, commissioned by Boston Children’s Chorus, setting verses in Arabic and English by the Syrian poet Nizar Qabbani), and Voices (2009, commissioned by the Yale Glee Club, setting a poem in Greek and English by Constantine Cavafy). For three of his most recent works, Eric has received composition grants from the National Endowment for the Arts.

AJ McCaffrey

Honorable Mention, 1st Annual Commission Competition

A composer and performer in the Los Angeles area, McCaffrey has written extensively for theater, film, and the concert hall. McCaffrey has been a composition fellow at the Aspen Music Festival and School and the Tanglewood Music Center, where he received the prestigious Paul Jacobs Memorial Commission. His music has been performed by the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, and he recently was composer-in-residence for the Radius Ensemble.

Justin Merritt

Honorable Mention, 1st Annual Commission Competition

In 2000 composer Justin Merritt (b. 1975) was the youngest-ever winner of the ASCAP Foundation/Rudolph Nissim Award for Janus Mask. He is also the winner of a host of other awards including the 2008–09 Copland Award, the 2008 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute Prize for River of Blood, and the 2006 Polyphonos Prize. He received his Bachelors from Trinity University and his Masters and Doctorate from Indiana University. He studied composition with Samuel Adler, Sven-David Sandström, Claude Baker, Timothy Kramer, Don Freund, and electronic and computer music with Jeffrey Hass. He is currently Associate Professor of Composition at St. Olaf College. He resides in Northfield, Minnesota with his wife Yuedong and their children Cullen Fang Ouxiang and Molly Fang Qinghe.