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.