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BMI Student Composer Award Winners Announced

Posted in News on May 23, 2006
Ten young classical composers ranging in age from 17 to 26, have been named winners in the 54th Annual BMI Student Composer Awards. BMI President and CEO Del R. Bryant announced the decisions of the jury and presented the awards at a reception held May 22 at the Jumeirah Essex House Hotel in New York City. Milton Babbitt, Chairman of the Awards, and Ralph N. Jackson, President of the BMI Foundation, Inc. and Director of the Awards, joined in the presentations.

(Back row) Student Composer Award winners Gilbert Galindo, Jacob Bancks, Jacob A. Barton, Stephen T. Danyew, Niccolo Athens and Daniel Thomas Davis; (front row) BMI's Del Bryant, Student Composer Award winner Colin Tucker, Awards Chairman Milton Babbitt, Student Composer Award winner Christopher Trapani, BMI's Ralph Jackson, and Student Composer Award winners Daniel A. Tacke and David MacDonald. 

The 2006 awards were presented to Niccolo Athens (age 17, studies privately with Timothy Kramer in San Antonio); Jacob Bancks (age 24, studies at the Eastman School of Music); Jacob A. Barton (age 21, studies at Rice University); Stephen T. Danyew (age 22, studies at University of Miami); Daniel Thomas Davis (age 25, studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London); Gilbert Galindo (age 24, studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music); David MacDonald (age 22, studies at the University of Missouri - Columbia); Daniel A. Tacke (age 21, studies at Oberlin College Conservatory of Music); Christopher Trapani (age 26, studies at École Nationale de Musique du Blanc-Mesnil in France); and Colin Tucker (age 21, studies at the University of Michigan).

Del Bryant with 2006 Pulitzer Prize winner Yehudi Wyner

The BMI Student Composer Awards recognize superior creative talent and winners receive scholarship grants to be applied toward their musical education. In 2006, more than 400 manuscripts were submitted to the competition from throughout the Western Hemisphere, and all works were judged under pseudonyms. Cash awards totaled $20,000. A special Carlos Surinach Prize, underwritten by the BMI Foundation's special endowed fund, was awarded to the youngest winner in the competition, Niccolo Athens.

Awards Chairman Milton Babbitt with preliminary judge David Leisner

The distinguished 2006 Student Composer Awards jury members were Michael Daugherty, Mario Davidovsky, Tobias Picker, Roger Reynolds and José Serebrier. The preliminary judges were Chester Biscardi, David Leisner and Bernadette Speach.

SCA winner Christopher Trapani, preliminary judge Chester Biscardi, SCA winner Daniel A Tacke and preliminary judge Bernadette Speech 

BMI has given more than 500 scholarship grants to young composers over the years, and many of today's most prominent and active classical composers received their first recognition from the BMI Student Composer Awards. Eleven former winners have gone on to win the coveted Pulitzer Prize in Music. The BMI Student Composer Awards competition is co-sponsored by BMI and the BMI Foundation, Inc.

SCA winners David MacDonald and Niccolo Athens, Pulitzer Prize winner Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, and SCA winners Stephen Danyew and Jacob Bancks

The BMI Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1985 to support the creation, performance, and study of music through awards, scholarships, commissions and grants. Tax-deductible donations to the Foundation come primarily from songwriters, composers and publishers, BMI employees and members of the public with a special interest in music. Because both the Foundation staff and the distinguished members of the Advisory Panel serve without compensation, over 95% of all donations and income are used for charitable grants.

Robert Thompson, Schott-Helicon's Norman Ryan and SCA winner Daniel Thomas Davis

Charles Wuroinen, Awards Chairman Milton Babbitt, Yehudi Wyner, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and BMI's Del Bryant

photos by Gary Gershoff