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Competition Results

POLYPHONOS 2018

Winners of the 2017-2018 competition

The Esoterics is pleased to announce the winners of its 2017-2018 POLYPHONOS choral composition competition. A panel of judges reviewed each and every anonymously submitted score to settle upon the winners of three separate awards: one national (U.S.) composer, one international composer, and one young composer (under the age of 30). Each awardee will receive a US$1,000 commission for a 5-minute new work that The Esoterics will premiere at the POLYPHONOS Concert in October of 2017.  The winners will also receive funds for travel and lodging to the premiere of their work next year. The Esoterics extends its sincerest thanks to all who applied to this competition. Once again, the judges’ decision was a difficult one. We hope that those of you who were not selected will enter again next year.

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

Anna-Karin Klockar, International Composer (Falun, Sweden)

Anna-Karin was born in 1960 in Falun, Sweden. After studying cello at Kopparbergs Läns Landstings Music School (1976-78), followed by two years of private studies in composition, and thereafter at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm with Lars-Erik Rosell, Daniel Börtz, Arne Mellnäs, Bengt-Arne Wallin and Per-Gunnar Alldahl, Klockar graduated in 1985 with a degree in Arranging/Composition. During Klockar’s studies in Sweden and later in Rome, Italy – where she moved after graduating – she worked in many different contexts, moving through classical, folk- and more commercial music. In Sweden, she taught piano and cello and also worked as an organist. She has conducted choirs in both Italy and Sweden. For about 5 years she conducted and composed for the women’s choir “Röster” in Falun. Klockar has been commissioned compositions in various genres: choir, ensemble, big band and orchestra. In Italy, Klockar has been active for about 25 years mainly in the film and television industry as a composer, arranger, keyboard programmer also collaborating with musicians such as Luis Bacalov, Riz Ortolani, Bruno Zambrini, Pino Donaggio, Maurizio Abeni. With predilection for the voice, she has composed songs in various styles, even for Italian and American films – such as “Lightning: The white stallion”, “Dust factory” and “The three faces of terror.” In recent years, Klockar has returned to Sweden, and lives and works there. In 2014 Klockar won the Swedish Church Composition Award with “Missa Dalecarliensis” and in 2016 her work “Speeches” won Allmänna Sången & Anders Wall Composition Award.

Ily Matthew Maniano, Young Composer (Taguig City, The Philippines)

Ily Matthew Maniano (b. 1988) is most widely known and respected for his versatility as a musician and as an artist. Although he finished a degree in Music Education at the University of the Philippines College of Music, his innate musicality has allowed him to explore and pursue a career in many different fields of music. As a soloist, he made his debut as a countertenor in Vivaldi’s Gloria at the Abelardo Hall, UP College of Music in 2010, and from its success was invited to perform at the 37th and 38th International Bamboo Organ Festival in Las Piñas City, Philippines. But his love for choral music is what eventually opened doors for him not just as a choral singer, but as a composer, arranger and clinician as well. For 8 years, he was both a countertenor and the resident arranger and composer of the internationally acclaimed Philippine Madrigal Singers, notably hailed as the two-time winner of the European Grand Prix for Choral Singing, and as the 2009 UNESCO Artist for Peace. Ily’s time with the Philippine Madrigal Singers and his exposure to different choral groups ultimately led to his steadily gaining recognition locally and internationally. He was twice invited to be an instructor at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Choral Workshop, and has since handled a number of choral clinics in the Philippines, Singapore, and Dubai, UAE. Several of his works have also been commissioned and performed by some of the world’s best choirs and vocal groups such as the Swingle Singers and the King’s Singers to name a few. Ily was also honored for his work “Magnifikat” for choir, which was included in the final round for the 1st Jean Sibelius Composition Competition in Finland in December 2014, and for the Best Arrangement of the Composition Song Award at the 2014 Government Choral Competition at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. In 2016, the Philippine Madrigal Singers used his works in the Monographic Category where it bagged the 1st prize, also receiving the highest point through out the 64th Concorso Polifonico Internazionale Guido D’Arezzo, in Arezzo, Italy. Today, he walks alongside his mentors Mark Anthony Carpio, Eudenice Palaruan, and Jonathan Velasco in the same pursuit of choral excellence, and aims to take its standards a step further by constantly challenging musical artistry and creativity. Aside from music, his passion also revolves in Photography and Graphic Arts. His photos have already been featured in National Geographic Online and El Pais, one of Spain’s highest-circulation national newspapers. His natural eye, resolve to learn, and ability to see and create beauty have marked Ily as a true artist.

Sarah Rimkus, National Composer (Aberdeen, Scotland)

Sarah Rimkus (b. 1990) is an American composer currently studying as a PhD candidate at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. Her music is characterized by sharp attention to harmonic and textural detail, and is largely inspired by sense of place and sensitivity to poetic text. In 2014, she moved to Aberdeen, Scotland to pursue a Master of Vocal Music degree at the University of Aberdeen from September 2014 to September 2015, studying composition with renowned Royal Wedding composer Paul Mealor. Upon completion of her MMus with distinction in September 2015 she began her PhD in sacred choral music composition with Dr Phillip Cooke and Professor Mealor as a recipient of the Elphinstone Scholarship. She graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in music composition from the University of Southern California in May 2013, studying with Stephen Hartke and Morten Lauridsen, where she developed a passion for choral music. She has received numerous awards, including the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award for Trapped in amber for string orchestra, the ASCAP Foundation Leonard Bernstein Award, and the Cantus Ensemble’s composition award in 2017. Since her move to the United Kingdom she has received professional success in both Scotland and England – her piece Flowers of the forest was commissioned by the Royal Collections Trust and performed at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace by the German Choir of London in October 2016, and her arrangement of ‘Charlie is my Darling’ has also been performed at Buckingham Palace for TRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall. Her work has been featured on Classic FM and BBC Scotland, and on recordings by Kantos Chamber Choir, the University of Aberdeen Chamber Choir, and the Cambridge Chorale. The University of Aberdeen Chamber Choir’s album The immortal memory debuted at no. 3 on the classical charts in 2017. She self-publishes her music personally and through MusicSpoke, and has a Christmas carol entitled Brightest and best soon forthcoming with GIA Publications. Sarah has worked with ensembles and groups on both sides of the Atlantic, including commissions for the Cambridge Chorale, Con Anima Chamber Choir, and a madrigal for the Gesualdo Six on a text by Rossetti which they have performed in numerous concerts throughout the UK and Europe. Her creative choral arrangements are also gaining recognition and wider performance: her spectral-inspired arrangement of Oh Shenandoah has been performed by Cantabile Chamber Singers in Toronto and St Ambrose University Chamber Choir, and Charlie is my darling has been performed across the United States in addition to performances in the United Kingdom. Recent performances include her O Vos Omnes by University of Kent Chamber Choir and the City of Canterbury Chamber Choir, and a commissioned setting of Psalm 96 for the Cathedral Choir of St Andrew’s Cathedral, Aberdeen for the installation of the first female bishop in the Scottish Episcopal Church. Upcoming activities include commissions for the Ligeti Quartet and Cheltenham Music Festival, and the Amuse Singers in New York City. She has always played an active role in her communities, as an administrator and organizer both inside and outside the world of music. She recently served as artistic director for Spectrum New Music Ensemble, the only ensemble of its kind based in the Northeast of Scotland, and general manager of the University of Aberdeen Chamber Choir, an ensemble which has performed for Her Majesty the Queen and been broadcast on BBC’s Songs of Praise and Classic FM. In the philanthropic arena, she served as both president of Remedy Through Music, an organization that produces musical performances at hospitals and other health sites across Los Angeles, and as performances recruiter and coordinator for Trojan Dance Marathon, a twelve-hour event at USC that annually attracts over 1,000 participants and raises over $60,000 for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. As a lecturer, she has been teaching second year composition at the University of Aberdeen since January 2016, in addition to giving presentations at the music department’s composers forum and research seminar series. She has been a choral scholar in the Chapel Choir of King’s College, Aberdeen and St Machar’s Cathedral Choir, and sings in the University of Aberdeen Chamber Choir, directed by Paul Mealor. She sang in various ensembles in the Los Angeles area during her time there, including in the Los Robles Master Chorale and their chamber ensemble “êko” under the baton of Dr. Lesley Leighton. She was born in Washington, DC and moved to Bainbridge Island, Washington in 1998, where she grew up inspired by the beautiful American West Coast.