2009 | Forrest Pierce

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.

Honorable Mentions

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 traveled 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.