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BMI Congratulates its Student Composer Award Winners

Posted in News on May 15, 2018
Pictured (L-R) are: BMI President and CEO Mike O'Neill; BMI Foundation President Deirdre Chadwick; Katherine Balch; Miles Walter; Jonathan Cziner, William Schuman Prize winner; Matthew Schultheis; Amy Thompson; Ari Sussman; and Chair of the Student Composer Awards Ellen Taaffe Zwilich.
Pictured (L-R) are: BMI President and CEO Mike O'Neill; BMI Foundation President Deirdre Chadwick; Katherine Balch; Miles Walter; Jonathan Cziner, William Schuman Prize winner; Matthew Schultheis; Amy Thompson; Ari Sussman; and Chair of the Student Composer Awards Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. Photo: Amanda Stevens

The BMI Foundation, in collaboration with BMI, has announced the nine young classical composers, ages 18 to 26, who have been named winners of the 66th annual BMI Student Composer Awards. Renowned American composer and 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 presented the awards at a private ceremony held on May 14, 2018, at Three Sixty° in New York City.

The 2018 award winners are:

Katherine Balch – age 26, studies at Columbia University

Jonathan Cziner – William Schuman Prize, awarded for most outstanding score – age 26, studies at The Juilliard School

Saad Haddad – age 25, studies at Columbia University

J.P. Redmond – Carlos Surinach Prize, awarded to the youngest winner of the competition – age 18, studies at The Juilliard School

Matthew Schultheis – age 20, studies at Indiana University

Gabriella Smith – age 26, studies at Princeton University

Ari Sussman – age 24, studies at New England Conservatory of Music

Amy Thompson – age 23, studies at McGill University

Miles Walter – age 23, studies at Yale University

In addition to the winners listed above, Avik Sarkar, a 17-year-old student of Alla Cohen’s in Boston received an honorable mention in the competition.

“We are excited to honor these deserving and talented young composers” said Deirdre Chadwick, Director of the Student Composer Awards. “This is only the start to what is sure to be an exciting professional journey for them all.”

The celebratory evening featured a performance by the Emissary Quartet of the 2017 SCA-winning composition, “One Wish, Your Honey Lips,” composed by Annika K. Socolofsky.

Alexandra du Bois, Jeremy Gill, Shawn Jaeger and David Schober served as preliminary panelists this year. The final judges were Michael Daugherty, John Harbison, Shafer Mahoney, Judith Shatin and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon. Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in music among many other accolades, is the permanent Chair of the competition.

The BMI Student Composer Awards recognize superior musical compositional ability with annual educational scholarships totaling $20,000. This year, 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.

For more information about the winners, please visit the BMI Foundation.