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Competition Results

POLYPHONOS 2016

Winners announced for the 2015-2016 competition

The Esoterics is pleased to announce the winners of its 2015 – 2016 POLYPHONOS choral composition competition. A panel of three judges reviewed all the anonymous scores 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 the 2016 season.  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 were challenged to arrive at a decision. We hope that those of you who were not selected will enter again next year.

Here are this year’s winners!

Kenji Oh, Los Angeles, CA (National Composer)

Kenji currently resides in San Francisco, CA. Born and raised in Kobe, Japan, he started his career in composing music for video advertisements while he was studying at Kyoto University of Education. Kenji completed his Bachelor Degree of Liberal Arts in Information Music and began composing for the media industry including feature films, short films, musical theater, TV drama, video games, dance performances and female floor gymnastics. He was selected as the music composer of Kyoto Filmmakers’ Lab in 2009. Though his primal field was film music, he started writing concert music after relocating to Los Angeles in January 2010. His pieces have been performed at various venues in California, New York, Texas, Japan, and the Netherlands. He has received many awards including second place of the Jack Stone Award 2012, first place of the MACCC 2011 Composition Competition, the David A. Alpert Scholarships, and Leslie P. Clausen Scholarship. Kenji’s orchestral piece 3^(1+1) was selected as a winning piece of Ablaze Records Orchestral Masters, and also given an honorable mention from the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute. He recently won the San Francisco-Shanghai International Chamber Music Festival Composition Competition for his piece The Garden for String Trio, which embraces his Japanese background. He is currently pursuing an MM in Composition at the San Francisco Conservatory, studying with David Garner.

Gordon Williamson, Hannover, Germany (International Composer)

Gordon Williamson is a Canadian composer currently based in Hannover, Germany. Recent activities include commissions and performances by RSO Stuttgart, the Swedish Radio Choir, International Ensemble Modern Academy, Ensemble Contemporain de Montréal+ and the Kairos Quartet, as well as residencies at the Centre Récollets in Paris, Künstlerhaus Worpswede, Kunsthof Dahrenstedt and the Banff Centre for the Arts in Canada. The recipient of several awards and prizes for his work, Gordon was most recently awarded a 2014 Schreyahn Residency Scholarship in Germany and was a prize-winner at the 3. Meisterkurs Orchesterkomposition des SWR in 2012. Further awards and recognition include grants and artist stipends from the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony, the Canada Council for the Arts, young composer awards from both SOCAN and ASCAP as well as being a finalist for the 2009 CBC/Radio-Canada National Young Composers Prize. His music has been broadcast on Swedish Radio, Danish Radio, CBC/Radio-Canada, and NPR. Gordon studied composition at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hannover, the Royal Danish Academy of Music, the Jacobs School of Music (Indiana) and Dalhousie University, and his main teachers were Johannes Schöllhorn, Sven-David Sandström, Bent Sørensen, Hans Abrahamsen and David Dzubay. He has taught composition at the Hochschule für Musik, Medien und Theater Hannover since 2010.

Casey Rule, Bethlehem, PA (Young Composer)

Casey Rule (b. 1989) is a programmer by day and musician by night – as someone who has always been passionate about education, Casey works as game designer and web developer for First in Math, an online math education program used by millions of students around the world. When he’s not writing code, he’s usually writing music, singing, or conducting. Among his awards for composition are the 2012 Singing City Prize for Young Composers, the Musical Chairs Chamber Ensemble’s 2014 Composer Search, the 2014 ACDA-PA Choral Composition Competition, and the Robert Campbell Choral Composition Prize at the Ithaca College 36th Annual Choral Composition contest. Casey is a graduate of Lehigh University, where he was part of the first class of students in the interdisciplinary honors program called IDEAS (Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts & Sciences), studying music composition and computer science. After graduating in 2011 with highest honors, he stayed at Lehigh for an additional year with a scholarship to continue his studies of composition and conducting with Stephen Sametz and Paul Salerni. Casey was the youngest and longest running director of the Lehigh University Melismatics and served as director of the Lehigh men’s choir in 2014. Casey is the founder of NoteNova Publishing, a choral publisher dedicated to ensuring that composers are compensated fairly for their work and retain full ownership of their music.