The BMI Foundation, in collaboration with BMI, has announced the nine young classical composers, ages 15 to 27, who have been named winners of the 64th annual BMI Student Composer Awards. Renowned American composer and permanent Chair of the Student Composer Awards, Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, BMI President and CEO and BMIF Honorary Chair Mike O’Neill, and BMI Executive Director of Classical and BMIF President Deirdre Chadwick announced the decisions of the jury and presented the awards at a private ceremony held on May 16, 2016, at the J. W. Marriott Essex House Hotel in New York City.
The 2016 award winners are:
David Bird – age 25, studies at Columbia University
Jack Hughes – age 23, studies at the University of Chicago
Tonia Ko – age 27, studies at Cornell University
Tristan Xavier Köster – William Schuman Prize, awarded for most outstanding score – age 23, studies at Hamburg Hochschule für Musik und Theater
Ryan Elliott Lindveit – age 21, studies at the University of Southern California
Daniel James Miller – age 26, studies at Dartmouth College
Paul Mortilla – age 20, studies at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music
Phil Taylor - age 26, studies at the University of Chicago
Justin Zeitlinger – Carlos Surinach Prize, awarded to the youngest winner of the competition - age 15, studies at The Juilliard School’s Pre-College Division
One composer also received an honorable mention in the competition: Avik Sarkar, a 15-year-old private student of Alla Cohen’s in Boston.
Deirdre Chadwick, Director of the Student Composer Awards, commented, “These young composers are on the cusp of a professional life in music. This is such a special night for all of us at BMI, to watch them take the next steps towards their future, and shine a light on them as they do so. I hope winning this award helps them trust their instincts, take chances, and move forward with confidence.”
The distinguished jury members for the 2016 competition were Oscar Bettison, Marti Epstein, Charles Wuorinen, and Yehudi Wyner. The preliminary judges were Carlos Carrillo, Alexandra du Bois, Shafer Mahoney, and David Schober. Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, the first female composer to win the Pulitzer Prize in Music, is the permanent Chair of the competition.
The BMI Student Composer Awards recognize superior musical compositional ability. Winners receive scholarship grants to be applied toward their musical education; awards this year totaled $19,000. In 2016, nearly 700 online applications were submitted to the competition from students throughout the Western Hemisphere, and all works were judged anonymously. BMI, in collaboration with the BMI Foundation, has awarded over 600 grants to young composers throughout the history of the competition.
To read the impressive bios of these talented young composers, click here!