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2007 BMI Student Composer Awards: Bios

Posted in News on May 24, 2007

Sebastian Chang
BMI award-winning work: W.A.R. – Welcome A Reality, for percussion quartet

Sebastian Chang was born in 1988 in Orange County, California, where he currently resides.  He has recently received a B.M. degree in Composition from the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied with Jennifer Higdon and Richard Danielpour.  In addition to winning two previous BMI Student Composer Awards in 2002 and 2005, Chang was a 2002 recipient of the $50,000 Davidson Fellow Laureate Scholarship from the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, and has also received awards from the Music Teachers National Association, the Music Teachers Association of California, and Collage New Music, among others.  Trained as a pianist and electric guitarist, Chang has performed throughout the U.S., Asia, and Canada as a piano soloist in performances with the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Pacific Symphony, the California Symphony, the Reno Philharmonic, the Southwestern Youth Music Festival Orchestra and others. His music has been performed by the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Asia America Symphony Orchestra, pianist Charles Abramovic, and others.  Commissions have come from the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts and the Pinnacle Project in Music Composition.  His BMI award-winning work was premiered in 2006 by the Curtis Percussion Quartet in Philadelphia. 


Bryan Christian
BMI award-winning work:  The Lake, -To-, for solo violin, eight solo singers, alto flute, bass clarinet, percussion, and double bass

Bryan Christian was born in 1984 in Gainesville, Florida and currently lives in McLean, Virginia.  He is a 2007 graduate of Indiana University with a B.M. in Music Composition and plans to pursue the Masters of Arts in Music Composition at the University of California San Diego in the fall.  His composition teachers include P.Q. Phan, Claude Baker, Chinary Ung, Sven-David Sandström, Don Freund and Per Mårtensson and he has studied bassoon performance with Arthur Weisberg.  Christian has received a Creative Activities Grant and a Research Grant from Indiana University Hutton Honors College and was selected to have a work performed at the 2007 Midwest Composers Symposium.  Nine of his compositions have been performed at Indiana University, including a the premiere of his BMI award-winning work which was conducted by Cinthia Alireti and featured Strass Pronin, to whom the work is dedicated, as violin soloist.  Other recent performances have included his Nuclear Winter for clarinet, viola and cello, and Two Etudes of Consonance, scored for two pianos. 


Eric Guinivan
BMI award-winning work:  A Shade of Grey, for flute and chamber orchestra

Eric Guinivan was born in Wilmington, Delaware in 1984.  In 2006, he received both a B.M. in Composition and a B.M in Percussion Performance from Indiana University, and he is currently pursuing a M.M. in Composition at the University of Southern California.  He has studied composition with P.Q Phan, Claude Baker, Tamar Diesendruck, Don Freund, and David Dzubay and his principal percussion teachers include Gerald Carlyss, Anthony Cirone, and Erik Forrester.  He won 2nd Prize in the 2006 Quey Percussion Duo Composition Contest, and was the recipient of the USC Alfred Newman Music Scholarship, the Indiana University School of Music Performer’s Certificate in 2005 and 2006 and Dean’s Prize in Composition in 2006.  Guinivan’s music has been performed in Indiana, California, Missouri, Illinois and Delaware.  Orchestra performances have featured the Young People’s Symphonic Orchestra (St. Louis) conducted by Richard Holmes, and the Delaware Youth Symphony Orchestra conducted by Timothy Clinch.  Active as a percussionist, he has performed as Timpanist with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, the American Youth Symphony (Los Angles), and with the orchestras and new music ensembles at both Indiana U. and USC.  In 2007 he will travel to Japan to perform with Yumiko Nishioka in a percussion duet concert which includes his own work, Twelve.  Guinivan’s BMI award-winning work was premiered in 2006 at Indiana University conducted by Cliff Colnot and featuring flutist Lissie Okopny as soloist.


Gabrielle Nina Haigh (Carlos Surinach Award)
BMI award-winning work:  Poème-Ritual, for orchestra

Gabrielle Haigh was born in 1992 in Cleveland, Ohio and has just completed the 10th grade at Laurel School, an independent school in Shaker Heights, Ohio.  She has not formally studied composition but she has taken piano lessons and worked on orchestration exercises with her grandmother, Mary Ann Griebling, who is a private theory and piano teacher.  Additionally, she has also recently begun study of cello with Kent Collier and vocal study with Marla Berg.  She is a member of the Akron Youth Symphony and a chamber group at the Cleveland Music School Settlement, and she has been the soprano soloist with the Canton Symphony on two occasions and also with the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra and the Forest City Chorale.  Haigh is the winner of numerous composition honors, including awards from Music Teachers National Association, the National Federation of Music Clubs, the Ohio Federation of Music Clubs, the Akron Scholastic Composers Contest, and many others.  Her music has been performed by the Cleveland Composers Guild, the Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Chorus, the Cavani Quartet and at the MTNA National Conference in Salt Lake City.  Outside of music, she has won gold medals in the National Latin Exam, and was a national runner-up in the Discovery Channel Science Competition.


Aaron Holloway-Nahum
BMI award-winning work:  Night Mist for chamber orchestra (single strings)

Aaron Holloway-Nahum was born in Chicago in 1983 and currently lives in Minneapolis.  He is a student a the Royal Academy of Music in London, pursuing a M.M. degree in Music Composition and previously received his B.M. degree in Music Composition and Orchestral Conducting from Northwestern University.  His composition teachers have been Philip Cashian, Augusta Read Thomas, Amy Williams and William Karlins and conducting with Mallory Thompson and Stephen Alltop.  His orchestral work, Glasswork, has given honorable mention by the Minnesota Orchestra in their 2006 Composer Institute and 2nd prize in the Union League of Chicago Multiple Instrument Composition Competition.  He has also received scholarships and awards from the Leverhulme Trust, the RAM Friends Club, and the Royal Academy of Music’s Turner Cooke Award.  Active as a conductor, he has worked with university ensembles at Northwestern University, in a variety of musical theater productions, and has recently recorded his own score for a feature length film in Abbey Road Studios.  Recent premieres include his “Railroad Song” for 7 instruments in Queen Elizabeth Hall for the “Music of Today” project and a RAM performance of his work for solo oboe titled “The Poorer Silence Now.”  His BMI award-winning work was commissioned and premiered by Daniel Cohen for the Eden Chamber Orchestra and presented in 2006 at Duke’s Hall at the RAM. 


Shawn Jaeger
BMI award-winning work:  Prelude and Fugue, for solo violin

Shawn Jaeger was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1985.  He received a B.M. in Composition from the University of Michigan in 2007 and will pursue a D.M. in Composition from Northwestern University in the fall.  His composition teachers include Evan Chambers, Susan Botti, Erik Santos and Bright Sheng.  He was a James B. Angell Scholar at the University of Michigan and received UM University Honors in 2007 and the UM Richard and Susan Rogel Scholarship in 2003.  Jaeger was also a Kentucky Senator Jeff Green Scholar and winner of the Louisville Metro Mayor’s Outstanding High School Senior Award in 2003.  He has had many performances at the University of Michigan and has had readings of his music by the UM Philharmonia Orchestra and by the St. Petersburg String Quartet.  His Phase Shifts for solo clarinet was performed at the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina.  Active as a violinist, he studies with Aaron Berofsky and has performed with many UM ensembles, including the University Symphony Orchestra and the Contemporary Directions ensemble.  He has also recorded violin tracks for the rock band, Tally Hall


Otto Muller
BMI award-winning work:  Vocis Secundae, for bass flute, B-flat clarinet, viola, cello and percussion

Otto Muller was born in 1981 in Hamilton, New York and currently lives in Eden, New York.  He received a B.M. degree in Composition and a B.A. in Philosophy from Northwestern University in 2003 is currently pursuing a PhD. in Composition from the University at Buffalo (SUNY), where he has received a Presidential Fellowship.  His composition teachers have included David Felder, Amnon Wolman, Amy Williams, William Karlins, Alan Stout and Jay Alan Yim.  He is a pianist and accordionist and performs regularly with the Open Music Ensemble in the Buffalo area.  His music has been performed at the Accademia Chigiana in Siena Italy, by the New York New Music Ensemble, at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Buffalo, and by the International Contemporary Ensemble.  His film collaborations with Alan Rhodes and Vincenzo Mistretta have been screened at the Squeeky Wheel in Buffalo and at the Blue Room in Rome, Italy.  His BMI award-winning work was performed at the June in Buffalo Festival in 2006 by the New York New Music Ensemble. 


Clint Needham (William Schuman Prize)
BMI award-winning work:  Earth and Green, for orchestra

Clint Needham was born in Texarkana, Texas in 1981 and currently lives in Bloomington, Indiana.  He holds a B.M. degree in composition from Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music and a M.M. in Composition from Indiana University, where he is currently pursuing a D.M. in Composition.  He has studied composition with David Dzubay, Per Mårtensson, P.Q. Phan, Sven-David Sandström, Richard Wernick, Loris Chobanian, Robert Beaser, Christopher Rouse, and George Tsontakis.  He is the winner of many awards and prizes, including selection for the 2007 American Composers Orchestra’s Underwood New Music Reading Session, the Aspen Music Festival’s Susan and Ford Schumann Composition Scholarships, the 2005 National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors Composition Project, 2006 Composition Fellowship to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chamber Music Institute, Indiana University Doctoral Fellowship, 2006 Indiana University Kuttner String Quartet Composition Competition, and the 2005 Appalachian State University Brass Chamber Music Composition Contest, among others.  His music has been performed by the American Brass Quintet, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory Wind Ensemble, Cascadian Chorale, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Kuttner Quartet, Oberon Trio, and at the 2004 International Trumpet Guild Conference and the 2006 MENC National Conference.  He is active as a trumpeter and currently studies at IU with Joey Tartell.  Needham’s BMI award-winning work was read by the American Composers Orchestra in May, 2007. 


Matthew Peterson
BMI award-winning work:  The Binding of Isaac, a chamber opera in five scenes

Matthew Peterson was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota in 1984 and currently lives in Bloomington, Indiana.  He attended St. Olaf College where he received a B.M in Theory/Composition and a B.M. in Double Bass Performance in 2006 and currently attends Indiana University, where he is pursuing a M.M. degree in Composition.  His composition teachers include Claude Baker, Justin Marritt, Mary Ellen Childs, Timothy Mahr, and Peter Hamlin.  He has studied Double Bass with Paul Ousley, Jeff Seabloom, Jim Clute and Jim Bates and has served as the principal bassist of the St. Olaf Orchestra and as a member of the Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra and Grand Forks Youth Orchestra.  Additionally he has studied piano, voice and saxophone.  He was the winner of the 2006 Chanticleer Student Composer Choral Competition, several composition awards in 2005 from MMEA, an IU Dean’s Scholarship, and many other honors.  His music has been performed by many different ensembles at Indiana University at St. Olaf College, and by Chanticleer, VocalEssence, the Red River High School String Orchestra (Grand Forks), and others. His BMI award-winning opera, to a libretto by Jason Zencka, was premiered by the St. Olaf Opera Company in 2006 directed by Janis Hardy and the composer. 


Nathan Shields
BMI award-winning work:  Music for Piano, Winds and Percussion

Nathan Shields was born in 1983 in Traverse City, Michigan and now lives in Poughkeepsie, New York.  He attends the Juilliard School where he is pursuing a M.M. degree in Composition and studies with Milton Babbitt.  He received a B.M. degree in Composition from the New England Conservatory of Music in 2006.  His former composition teachers include Lee Hyla, David Rakowski, Andrew Thomas, and Barbara Mallow.  He is a cellist, studying with Yeesun Kim and Barbara Mallow, and has been active in the New York Youth Symphony Chamber Music Program, Bowdoin Summer Music Festival and the Perlman Music Program.  He was a BMI Student Composer Award winner in 2004 and has received the Steuermann Memorial Prize and the Marvin Hamlisch Scholarship at Juilliard.  Shields also won the Toru Takemitsu Prize from the Japan Soceity of Boston in 2006, and a 2004 NEC Honors Quartet Performance.  His works have been performed at Juilliard, New England Conservatory, at the Wellesley Composers Conference and at the Cathedral of St. Severin in Paris. 


Roger Zare
BMI award-winning work:  Green Flash, for orchestra

Roger Zare was born in Sarasota, Florida in 1985.  He recently received a B.M. degree in Composition from the University of Southern California, and has studied composition with Donald Crockett, Tamar Diesendruck, Rick Lesemann and Morten Lauridsen.  He is a pianist and violinist, studying piano with Betty Hines, Sandra Lawler and Antoinette Perry, and won first prize in the Florida Orchestra Young Artist’s Competition in 2001.  He is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honor Society, and won 1st Place in the 2004 National Federation of Music Clubs Composition Competition.  Zare was the 65th composer to be commissioned by the New York Youth Symphony as part of its First Music Program, and won the 2006 Sarasota Music Archive Morrison Memorial Composition Competition and the 2006 Phi Kappa Phi (USC Chapter) Student Recognition Award for his work, Fog.  His music has been performed by the New York Youth Symphony, the USC Thornton Symphony, the USC Concert Orchestra, FWCS Youth Philharmonic, USC Starving Composers’ Ensemble, Santa Monica Symphony Wind Quintet, the Sarasota Music Archive, and the Florida West Coast Symphony Orchestra.  His BMI award-winning work was premiered in 2007 by the USC Thornton Symphony, Donald Crockett conducting.