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.
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.