59th Annual BMI Student Composer Award Winners Announced

Posted in News on May 16, 2011

59th Annual BMI Student Composer Award Winners Announced; Outstanding Musical Citizen Award Presented To Barry Goldberg

Eleven young classical composers ranging in age from 14 to 27 have been named winners in the 59th Annual BMI Student Composer Awards. BMI President & CEO Del Bryant, BMI Foundation President Ralph N. Jackson and BMI Student Composer Award Chair Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, announced the decisions of the jury and presented the awards at a reception held May 13 at the Jumeirah Essex House Hotel in New York City.

The 2011 award recipients are:

  • Francisco Castillo Trigueros (age 27, studies at the University of Chicago);
  • Ryan Chase (age 24, studies at Indiana University);
  • Michael-Thomas Alexander Foumai (age 23, studies at the University of Michigan);
  • Eric Guinivan (age 27, studies at the University of Southern California);
  • Mena Mark Hanna (age 26, studies privately in Philadelphia);
  • David Hertzberg (age 21, studies at The Juilliard School);
  • Yeeren I. Low (age 14, studies at The Juilliard School Pre-College Division);
  • Jonathan L. Posthuma (age 21, studies at Dordt College);
  • William Frederick Rowe (age 19, studies at Indiana University);
  • Benjamin D. Taylor (age 27, studies at Bowling Green State University); and
  • David Werfelmann (age 27, studies at the University of Southern California).

Also honored during the ceremony was New York Youth Symphony Senior Vice President Barry Goldberg, who received the BMI Foundation’s “Outstanding Musical Citizen Award.” In making the presentation, Jackson said that, “this award is intended to recognize individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their support of American composers and American Music. Barry has been a tireless advocate for new music and true champion of the next generation of American musicians and composers.”

The BMI Student Composer Awards recognize superior creative talent and winners receive scholarship grants to be applied toward their musical education. In 2011, more than 500 manuscripts were submitted to the competition from throughout the Western Hemisphere, and all works were judged under pseudonyms. Cash awards totaled $21,000. Ryan Chase and David Hertzberg tied for the William Schuman Prize, which is awarded to the score judged “most outstanding” in the competition. This special prize is given each year in memory of the late William Schuman, who served for 40 years as Chairman, then Chairman Emeritus, of the BMI Student Composer Awards. Additionally, the Carlos Surinach Prize, awarded to the youngest winner in the competition, went to Yeeren I. Low.

The distinguished 2011 jury members were: Robert Beaser, Ingram Marshall, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Steven Stucky and Michael Torke. The preliminary judges were Chester Biscardi, David Leisner, Shafer Mahoney, Sean Shepherd and Bernadette Speach. Ellen Taaffe Zwilich is the permanent Chair of the awards.

BMI has given 554 scholarship grants to young composers over the years. Many of the most prominent and active classical composers in the world today received their first recognition from the BMI Student Composer Awards. The BMI Student Composer Awards competition is co-sponsored by BMI and the BMI Foundation, Inc.

More About the Winners

Francisco Castillo Trigueros

BMI award-winning work: Nealika for flute, violoncello, percussion and piano

Francisco Castillo Trigueros was born in 1983 in Mexico City and currently lives in Chicago, where he is pursuing a PhD at the University of Chicago. His composition teachers include Shulamit Ran, Theo Loevendie, Shih-Hui Chen, Kurt Stallman, Richard Ayres, Pierre Jalbert, Kotoka Susuki, Howard Sandroff, Arthur Gottschalk, Anthony Brandt and Fabio Nieder. He received a B.M. degree from Rice University in 2006 and a M.M. degree from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam in 2008. Castillo Trigueros is the recipient of University of Chicago scholarships and stipends, the Lowell C. Wadmond Stipend (for travel to France), and has had several works shortlisted for the Gaudeamus Music Week Prize. Castillo Trigueros’ works have been performed in the U.S., Holland, Austria, and France by such ensembles as Eighth Blackbird, the University of Chicago New Music Ensemble, Ernest Rombout and the Nieuw Ensemble, the Atlas Ensemble, Orchestre National de Lorraine, and The Woodlands Symphony Orchestra. His BMI award-winning work has been performed numerous times and is scheduled for another performance at the June in Buffalo Festival in 2011.

Composer’s website:

Ryan Chase (William Schuman Prize - tie)

BMI award-winning work: Gold Rush for five violins

Ryan Chase was born in Port Jefferson, NY and currently lives in Bloomington, Indiana. In 2008 he received a B.M. in composition from Mannes College of Music, and in 2010 he received a M.M. in composition from Indiana University, where he is currently pursuing a D.M. in composition. He has studied composition with Don Freund, Claude Baker, Gabriela Ortiz and Keith Fitch. He is a self-taught jazz pianist performing as a member of the Dave Strumfeld Group, and has studied trumpet with Michael Patrizio. Chase is the winner of the 2011 First Prize in the NACUSA Young Composers’ Competition, the 2010 Albany Symphony Composer to Center Stage Readings, 2nd Prize in the 2005 NYAE Young Composer Competition and many others. His music has been performed by the Albany Symphony, IU New Music Ensemble, Contemporaneous, the Mexico City Woodwind Quintet, the Mannes Orchestra, and Alaria in Carnegie Hall. His BMI award-winning work was premiered by Jenny Estrin, Michael Acosta, Sophie Bird, William Herzog and Toma Iliev at Indiana University in March, 2011.

Composer’s website:

Michael-Thomas Alexander Foumai

BMI award-winning work: The Light-Bringer (Symphony No. 1) for orchestra

Michael-Thomas Foumai was born in 1987 in Honolulu, Hawaii. He received a B.M. degree in composition from the University of Hawaii in 2009 and a M.M. in composition in 2011 at the University of Michigan where he is currently pursuing a D.M.A. in composition. His composition teachers include Michael Daugherty, Bright Sheng, Donald Reid Womack, Byron Yasui, Takeo Kudo, Thomas Osborne, and Peter Askim. Foumai, a violinist and violist, is an avid performer of new music and has studied with Craig Young and Ignace Jang. He was the Concertmaster of the University of Hawaii Symphony for four years and also performed with the Hawaii Youth Symphony. Foumai’s prizes and awards include a 2010 BMI Student Composer Award, Meet the Composer MetLife Creative Connections, American Music Center CAP Grant, Resident Composer at Mizzou New Music Festival, and many more. Commissions have come from Ebb and Flow Arts, the Hawaii Youth Symphony, the University of Hawaii, and the South Salem Oregon High School. Recent performances of his music have been presented by the Honolulu Symphony, Hawaii Youth Symphony and University of Hawaii Wind Ensemble, and he has had operas performed by the University of Hawaii and at the CalArts Theatre at Disney Hall in Los Angeles. Upcoming performances will be presented by Alarm Will Sound and the Mizzou New Music Festival. His BMI award-winning work was premiered by the University of Michigan Philharmonia Orchestra.

Composer’s website:

Eric Guinivan

BMI award-winning work: Mie: Caprice for Eight Musicians for 2 E-flat clarinets, 2 trombones, 2 percussion, viola and violoncello.

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, followed by a M.M. degree in composition in 2009 from University of Southern California, where he is currently pursuing a D.M.A. He has studied composition with Stephen Hartke, Donald Crockett, 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. Guinivan won BMI Student Composer Awards in 2007 and 2010, the two New York Youth Symphony’s First Music commissions in 2010 and 2007, and has received USC’s Most Outstanding Graduate Award in 2008, a 2010 Presser Foundation Music Award, 2nd Prize in the 2006 Quey Percussion Duo Composition Contest, and many others. Guinivan’s music has been performed in Indiana, California, Missouri, Illinois and Delaware. Orchestra performances have featured the USC Thornton Symphony with the composer as soloist, the Young People’s Symphonic Orchestra (St. Louis), and the Delaware Youth Symphony Orchestra. A founding member of the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, he has also performed with the YMF Debut Orchestra as Principal Timpanist, the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic, the American Youth Symphony (Los Angeles), and with the orchestras and new music ensembles at both Indiana U. and USC. Guinivan’s BMI award-winning work was premiered by the University of California Contemporary Music Ensemble.

Composer’s website:

Mena Mark Hanna

BMI award-winning work: The Animal as Mechanism for amplified chamber ensemble and voices

Mena Mark Hanna was born in London, England IN 1984 and currently lives in Philadelphia, where he studies music composition privately. He received a B.M. degree in composition from Boyer College of Music at Temple University, a M.St. (Master of Studies) in Musicology in 2007 and a D.Phil in music composition and critical writing in 2010 from Oxford University in England. His composition teachers include Matthew Greenbaum, Robert Saxton and Salvatore Sciarrino. Hanna is the recipient of a 2006 Marshall Scholarship, the Oxford-Marshall Ph.D. Extension Scholarship, the Oxford Music Faculty James Ingham Halstead Traveling Scholarship, Diamond Research Scholar, and Helen Laird Foundation Award for Musical Achievement. He is active as a conductor, has published research on Coptic chant and Horatiu Radulescu, and has transcribed Coptic chants into Western notation. Hanna’s music has been performed by the Cygnus Ensemble in New York City, at Oxford University in England and Le Cris de Paris in France and in many other venues. His BMI award-winning work has been recorded and plans are in the works for a premiere.

David Hertzberg (William Schuman Prize - tie)

BMI award-winning work: Nympharum for high soprano and orchestra

David Hertzberg was born in Los Angeles, California in 1990 and is currently enrolled in the accelerated B.M./M.M. program in composition at The Juilliard School. He is a 2008 graduate of Walnut Hill School for the Arts and studied music at The Colburn School from 1998 to 2000. His composition teachers include Samuel Adler, Whitman Brown, David Fick, Russell Steinberg, Michel Merlet and Martin Amlin. Hertzberg is a violinist, cellist and pianist and has participated in numerous ensembles including the Los Angeles Youth Orchestra and the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Orchestra, and has performed in venues such as Colburn’s Zipper Hall. Hertzberg has attended the Boston University Tanglewood Institute, the Internationale Ferienkurse for Neue Musik in Darmstadt, the Freie Universitat in Berlin, and the European American Musical Alliance at La Schola Cantorum in Paris. In 2011 he received Julliard’s Arthur Friedman Prize for most outstanding composition and is also the recipient of Julliard’s Richard Rogers Scholarship, and the Florence Gould Foundation/Michael Iovenko Memorial Fellowship. His music has been performed in New York City and at Westminster Choir College, Walnut Hill School, and the University of Southern California. His BMI award-winning work was premiered by soprano Jennifer Zetlan and the Juilliard Orchestra with Jeffrey Milarsky conducting in April, 2011.

Yeeren I. Low (Carlos Surinach Prize)

BMI award-winning work: Composition for Piano

Yeeren I. Low was born in 1997 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and currently lives in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. He attended the Sterling Montessori Charter Academy, the Gratia Dei Christian Academy and is currently enrolled at the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School and the Juilliard Pre-College Division, where he majors in composition and studies piano and violin. His composition teacher is Ira Taxin and he has studied piano with Zitta Zohar, Jennifer Hancock, and John Ruggero. He has studied violin with Naoko Tanaka, Karen Moorman, Emily Steele, Mary Frances Boyce, Richard Luby, Yoram Youngerman and Isaac Malkin. Low has performed on multiple occasions as piano soloist with the Winston-Salem Symphony Orchestra and the Raleigh Civic Symphony. He is a winner of BMI Student Composer Awards in 2007 and 2010 and is the only winner to achieve 3 prizes in the competition by age 14. His other awards include 1st place in the Junior Division of the Peter Perret Youth Talent Search in 2005 and 2006, National Federation of Music Clubs Junior Composers Contest in both 2005 and 2006, honorable mention in the New York Art Ensemble Young Composers Contest in 2006, and a 2010 Davidson Fellow Laureate $50,000 Scholarship. Low’s music has been performed by several chamber ensembles at Juilliard and read by the Ciompi Quartet at Duke University and the Juilliard Pre-College Symphony. His BMI award-winning works has been premiered on a Juilliard Pre-College Student Recital and Piano Forum.

Composer’s website:

Jonathan L. Posthuma

BMI award-winning work: Five Studies for Piano

Jonathan L. Posthuma was born in 1989 in Brandon, Wisconsin. He is pursuing a B.M. degree in Secondary Music Education with a major in Choral Instrumental music and a minor in Theatre at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa . He studies composition with Luke Dahn, who is on the faculty of Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. At Dordt College, Posthuma has studied piano with Mary Lou Wielenga and organ with Matthew Geerlings, trumpet with Scott Olson and voice with Pam De Haan, and he performs regularly with the Concert Choir, Concert Band, Kantorei, and Jazz Band. At Dordt College, a full hour of his original music was performed by various chamber ensembles in 2011, his Synthesis and Memorial for Anna’s Father were premiered in 2011, and at the University of Central Missouri New Music Festival in 2011, Jesse Looper performed his Voices. Posthuma’s BMI award-winning work was performed in a student recital and again at a seminar about prepared piano techniques for the Kuyper Scholars Program.

Composer website:

William Frederick Rowe

BMI award-winning work: Snapping Cellophane for viola and piano

William Rowe was born in 1992 in Rochester, Michigan and currently lives in Bloomington, Indiana, where he is a freshman pursuing a B.M. degree in composition at Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. His composition teachers include Don Freund, Robert Ash, John Boyle, Jr., and Catherine McMichael. Active as a cellist for the last 13 years, he has studied with Anna Marie Evans, Molly Rebeck, Paul Wingert, and Emilio Conlon, and has performed as soloist with the International Academy Symphony Orchestra and in ensembles such as the Oakland Youth Orchestra, the Michigan Youth Arts Festival Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra, the Slatkin String Quartet and the Slatkin String Quintet. At Indiana University he is a Founders Scholar and has received a Dean’s Scholarship, the Prestige Scholarship, and a Music Faculty Award. Rowe’s music has been performed at the Interlochen Arts Camp, by the Detroit Symphony Civic Orchestra, at Indiana University, and on the Hammer and Nail Concert at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater in Bloomington. His BMI award-winning work was performed by Patrick Lenning and Nellie Sommer at Indiana University and later recorded by Sarah Bass and Nellie Sommer.

Composer website:

Benjamin D. Taylor

BMI award-winning work: 7 Million Results for soprano, percussion and contrabass

Benjamin Taylor was born in Midlothian, Virginia and currently lives in Bowling Green, Ohio. He is a 2009 recipient of a B.M. degree in music composition from Brigham Young University and received a M.M. degree in music composition in 2011 from Bowling Green State University. His composition teachers include Marilyn Shrude, Christopher Dietz, Elainie Lillios, Burton Beerman, Michael Hicks, Steven Ricks, Christian Asplund, David Sargent, and Neil Thornock; and he has also studied trumpet with David Brown. As a performer, he has participated in many jazz ensembles at both Bowling Green State University and Brigham Young University. Taylor was an auditor in the 2010 Omaha Symphony New Music Symposium, a finalist in the 2009 BGST Composition Competition, and was the recipient of First Place award in the 2009 Vera Hinckley Mayhew Student Creative Arts Composition Contest, the First Place (co-winner) in the International Society of Bassists Composition Competition, and the 2007 Phi Kappa Phi Music Award for Best Musical Composition. His music was performed at the SEAMUS National Conference in 2011, the Noisefloor Festival in England, the Channel Noise IV Festival in Georgia, the SCI National Conference in 2010, the Spark Electronic Music Festival in Minneapolis and on many occasions at BYU and BGSU, as well as in France and the U.K. His BMI award-winning work was premiered by Terra Nova in Honolulu, Hawaii during the 6th Biennial Hawaii Contrabass Festival in 2010.

Composer website:

David Werfelmann

BMI award-winning work: The Mad Machine for orchestra

David Werfelmann was born in 1983 and currently lives in Los Angeles. He received a B.M. degree in composition and percussion from Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in 2006, a M.M. degree in music composition from Indiana University in 2009 and he is currently pursuing a D.M.A. at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California. His composition teachers include Stephen Hartke, Donald Crockett, Don Freund, P. Q. Phan, and Joanne Metcalf. He has studied percussion with Dane Richeson and Julie Spencer and often performs new chamber works for marimba. Werfelmann was the selected composer in the USC New Music for Orchestra Competition, and was the winner of Kids Compose! Competition at IU and is the recipient of many scholarships and awards, including a USC Teaching Fellowship, a Lawrence Conservatory Trustees Scholarship and Ming James Scholarship in composition, and an Institute for European Studies Fine Arts Scholarship. Werfelmann’s music has been performed by the Red Rock Saxophone Quartet at the 2011 NASA Convention, the Thornton Symphony Orchestra at USC, the Lawrence University Wind Ensemble, and on many other occasions at USC. His BMI award-winning work was premiered by the Thornton Symphony Orchestra, Don Crockett conducting, in the 2011 New Music for Orchestra concert at USC.

Composer website:


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