BMI Congratulates its 72nd Annual BMI Composer Award Winners

Posted in News on May 14, 2024
L-R: John William Griffith II; Luke Haaksma; Paul Novak (Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Award); Sofia Jen Ouyang; Arjan Singh Dogra; Ziyi Tao (Carlos Surinach Award); President of the BMI Foundation Deirdre Chadwick; Chair of the Composer Awards Ellen Taaffe Zwilich; President and Chief Executive Officer of BMI Mike O’Neill; Ennis Suavengco Harris; Director of Finance and Administration of the BMI Foundation Susan Bywaters. Photo by Ezekiel Duncan for BMI
L-R: John William Griffith II; Luke Haaksma; Paul Novak (Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Award); Sofia Jen Ouyang; Arjan Singh Dogra; Ziyi Tao (Carlos Surinach Award); President of the BMI Foundation Deirdre Chadwick; Chair of the Composer Awards Ellen Taaffe Zwilich; President and Chief Executive Officer of BMI Mike O’Neill; Ennis Suavengco Harris; Director of Finance and Administration of the BMI Foundation Susan Bywaters. Photo by Ezekiel Duncan for BMI

BMI Foundation, Inc. and BMI celebrated the recipients of the 72nd annual BMI Composer Awards last night at Chelsea Table and Stage in New York City. During the private ceremony, BMI Foundation President and BMI Executive Director of Classical Deirdre Chadwick and renowned composer and Chair of the Composer Awards Ellen Taaffe Zwilich presented the awards to seven emerging composers for excellence in composition. The 2024 award winners included:

  • Arjan Singh Dogra – age 24, student of Christopher Cerrone
  • John William Griffith II – age 26, student of Alison Kay
  • Luke Haaksma – age 26, student of Katherine Balch
  • Ennis Suavengco Harris – age 25, student of Vince Mendoza
  • Paul Novak – Recipient of the Ellen Taaffe Zwilich Award for most outstanding score – age 25, student of Augusta Read Thomas
  • Sofia Jen Ouyang – age 22, student of Amy Beth Kirsten and Andrew Norman
  • Ziyi Tao – Recipient of the Carlos Surinach Award for the youngest winner of the competition – 21, student of Andrew Norman

The evening also featured a performance by the Bergamot Quartet of ...ka spoojmai shwa poh hala ke… for string quartet, a 2023 BMI Composer Award-winning score composed by Seare Ahmad Farhat.

Preliminary judges for the awards included composers Carlos Carrillo, Daniel Temkin, and Alyssa Weinberg; final judges were Kati Agócs, Marcos Balter, and Sean Shepherd.

The BMI Composer Awards recognize superior ability in music composition with annual awards totaling $20,000. This year, over 550 applications were submitted to the competition from students around the world, 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.

About the Award Winners

Arjan Singh DograLive Salmon for orchestra.
Arjan Singh Dogra is a composer and performer based in New York City who creates art to understand and contextualize his relationship with time, nature, and his culture. He invites audiences experiencing his art to challenge their own perception of time and reflect on their connection to the natural and unnatural environments that surround them. Arjan recently graduated from the Berklee College of Music, having studied composition, conducting, and film scoring, and is now pursuing a master’s in composition at the Mannes School of Music where he studies with Christopher Cerrone.

John William Griffith IIGospel Oak: nine songs for double choir a cappella.
John William Griffith II is an American composer, conductor, pianist, and singer based in London. He received his Master of Music in Composition at the Royal College of Music in 2023 and his Bachelor of Music in Composition from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in 2020. His compositional practice centres around eclecticism drawing from a variety of musical genres including jazz, minimalism, serialism, and popular music.

Luke HaaksmaEndling Song for orchestra.
Luke Haaksma is a composer, filmmaker, and hammered dulcimerist currently based in New Haven, CT and originally from Asheville, NC. His work often focuses on non-human states of consciousness, finding influences in themes of anthropomorphization, murder ballads, and folk-horror. Luke has received awards and recognition from organizations such as the Young Concert Artists and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He previously studied composition at Bard College and Conservatory with Joan Tower and George Tsontakis, and is now completing graduate study at Yale School of Music studying with Katherine Balch.  Recent projects include breathing room, a stop-motion short with live music/sound commissioned and premiered by No Exit New Music Ensemble.

Ennis Suavengco HarrisAdarna (Concertino for Clarinet and Orchestra).
Ennis Harris is composer, arranger, saxophonist, and flutist from Exeter, California. His music seeks to blur genre and cultural boundaries through musical storytelling. He is currently based in Los Angeles. As a composer, Ennis enjoys writing for various settings. He was the 2023 recipient of the Jeff Clayton New Note Commission Award by the Los Angeles Jazz Society. For this Ennis wrote Images and Silhouettes, a 35-minute large-scale work for 19-piece Jazz Chamber Ensemble. The piece premiered at the Angel City Jazz Festival. Earlier that year, he won the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers (ISJAC)/USF Prize For Emerging Black Composers for his piece Eye In The Sky written for Big Band. In 2022, his piece Portrait Poem, written for chamber orchestra and jazz septet, won the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award. He has also been commissioned by theBABAorchestra, who premiered his piece Ruggell in the fall of that year. As a saxophonist and flutist, Ennis has performed with artists such as the Jon Hatamiya Sextet, the Bill Holman Big Band, Sammy Miller and the Congregation, and Pete Escovedo. In 2023, Ennis performed with Red Bull Symphonic and acclaimed producer Metro Boomin, led under the conducting baton of Anthony Parnther. Ennis has received his B.A. in Global Jazz Studies from UCLA, and an M.M. in Jazz Performance from the University of Southern California. He is continuing at the University of Southern California where he serves as a teaching assistant while pursuing his DMA.

Paul Novaklonging is an aviary, for orchestra.
The “spellbinding” (Washington Post) music of Chicago-based composer Paul Novak immerses listeners in shimmering and subtly crafted musical worlds full of color, motion, light, and magic. His recent projects engage with dreams and memory, queer identity, climate change and the natural world, and psychosomatic illness. Novak’s recent commissions include projects with American Composers Orchestra, Balourdet Quartet, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and Kinetic; other recent collaborators include the Austin Symphony, Orlando Philharmonic, Reno Philharmonic, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and DanceWorks Chicago. He has received awards from the Barlow Endowment, ASCAP, American Academy of Arts and Letters, and more. Originally from Reno, NV, he completed his undergraduate studies at Rice University, and is currently a PhD student at the University of Chicago.

Sofia Jen OuyangThrough us from which language speaks for 13 instrumentalists and their voices.
Sofia Jen Ouyang aspires to create works that embody interdisciplinarity in both thought and form –writing music that both expressively and critically engages with the world. Sofia is the winner of the BMI Composer Award 2023, Columbia University’s Douglas Moore Prize 2023, Juilliard Orchestra Competition 2023, and The American Prize 2022. She received honorable mention from the Luigi Nono Composition Prize 2023 and is a BluePrint fellow with National Sawdust. Sofia’s works has been performed at Lincoln Center, Frankfurt Oper, Miller Theatre, Luzern KKL, Arvo Pärt Center, The DiMenna Center, National Sawdust, and in Lucerne Festival, Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival, New Music On The Point, and APAC Choir Festival. She has collaborated with Ensemble Modern, JACK Quartet, Juilliard Orchestra, Trio Immersio, National Sawdust Ensemble, Brittany Hewitt, Jeffrey Zeigler, and Sae Hashimoto, among others. Sofia is currently finishing her BA in philosophy and music at Columbia University, studies composition with Andrew Norman and Amy Beth Kirsten at The Juilliard School, and will begin her doctoral studies in Composition at Columbia University in fall 2024.

Ziyi TaoTrio for viola, bass clarinet, and piano.
Ziyi Tao is fascinated by concepts and the process of making sense of things, he strives to create music that demands to be more than music. Currently under the mentorship of Andrew Norman, Ziyi has also been inspired by, and worked with many other mentors, including Marco Momi, Beat Furrer, Mark Andre, Dmitri Kourliandski, Francesco Filidei, Jon Deak, Max Grafe, and Reiko Füting.

SOURCENews TAGS Classical


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