BMI Student Composer Awards: 1999

Posted in News on January 1, 1999

Winners of the 1999 BMI Student Composer Awards (l-r):  Ricardo A. Coelho de Souza, Stefan Freund, Gabriel Ian Gould, Tellef Johnson, Alexander Temple, Gregory Spears, Anthony Barrese, Andrew Dionne, and Leonard Mark Lewis.

New York, New York, June 4, 1999 -- Nine young composers, ranging in age from 15 to 26, have been named winners in the 47th Annual BMI Student Composer Awards. Frances W. Preston, BMI President and CEO, announced the decisions of the jury and presented the awards at a reception held today at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Milton Babbitt, Chairman of the awards, and Ralph N. Jackson, Director of the awards, joined in the presentations.

The 1999 BMI Student Composer Award winners are: Anthony Barrese (age 24, studies at the New England Conservatory of Music); Andrew Dionne (age 25, studies at Indiana University); Stefan Roberts Freund (age 24, studies at the Eastman School of Music); Gabriel Ian Gould (age 25, studies at the University of Michigan); Tellef Johnson (age 21, studies at the Eastman School of Music); Leonard Mark Lewis (age 26, studies at the University of Texas at Austin); Ricardo A. Coelho de Souza (age 24, studies at the University of Missouri - Columbia); Gregory Spears (age 22, studies at the Eastman School of Music); and Alexander R. Temple (age 15, studies privately in Boston). The BMI Student Composer Awards recognize superior creative talent and winners receive scholarship grants to be applied toward their musical education. More than 400 manuscripts were submitted to the competition from throughout the Western Hemisphere in 1999, and all works were judged under pseudonyms. Cash awards totaled $20,000.

Preston began the ceremony by announcing the establishment of the BMI Foundation’s Carlos Surinach Fund. Through a generous bequest of the late composer and conductor Carlos Surinach, the BMI Foundation will provide scholarships and commissions to young composers of classical music and funding to organizations which support their careers. Three Carlos Surinach Prizes, underwritten by the new fund, were awarded to the three youngest 1999 BMI Student Composer Award winners, Tellef Johnson, Gregory Spears and Alexander R. Temple.

Frances Preston announced that Stefan Roberts Freund was the winner of the 1999 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.

Milton Babbitt, William Schuman Prize Winner Stefan Freund, and BMI President and CEO Frances W. Preston

The distinguished Student Composer Awards jury members for the 1999 competition were Robert Beaser, Steven Mackey, Donald Martino, Tobias Picker and Gunther Schuller. The preliminary judges were Chester Biscardi, David Leisner and Bernadette Speach.

Judges for the 47th annual competition with Awards Director, Ralph N. Jackson (l-r):  Bernadette Speach, Chester Biscardi, David Leisner, Awards Chairman Milton Babbitt, Robert Beaser, Jackson, and Tobias Picker.   1999 judges not pictured are Steven Mackey, Donald Martino and Gunther Schuller.

According to Preston, BMI has given 441 scholarship grants to young composers over the years, and many of today's most prominent and active classical composers received their first recognition from the BMI Student Composer Awards. Eleven former winners have gone on to win the coveted Pulitzer Prize in Music. Established in 1951, the BMI Student Composer Awards is co-sponsored by BMI and the BMI Foundation.


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