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Competition Results


Winners of the 2018-2019 competition

The Esoterics is pleased to announce the winners of its 2018-2019 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 2019.  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!

David Ho-yi Chan, International Composer (London, England)

Born in British Hong Kong, David Ho-yi Chan (b. 1992) is a London-based composer, conductor, choral artist and organist. With his music broadcasted on BBC Radio 3, RTHK Radio 4, Hong Kong Cable Television and Now TV (Hong Kong), highlighted commissioners and collaborators include BBC Singers, Choir of Trinity College Cambridge, Choir of Selwyn College Cambridge, Choir of St Pancras Church, Musicus Society, Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra, Hong Kong Oratorio Society, Hong Kong Strings, Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, Hong Kong Children’s Choir, Yat Po Singers, RTHK Quartet, Romer (String Quartet), Hong Kong Youth Windophilics etc. He was also selected for the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Composers Scheme 2018/19 ​by Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra. Since his undergraduate studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, his music has been performed and screened across the UK, Hong Kong and other countries, such as the National University Student Art Exhibition (Choral) in China (2018), London Festival of Contemporary Church Music (2017, 18), Musicus Fest (2017), Brandenburg Choral Festival of London (2017), “Asia – Europe” New Music Festival (2016) and Asian Composers League Festival & Conference (2015, 2016). In 2014, he represented Hong Kong to attend the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) World Music Days in Poland, making him the youngest Hong Kong composer representative in this prestigious forum to date. In the international choral field, Chan is an emerging choral artist and composer. He is being appointed an honorary member of the Association of Croatian Choral Directors (2018), the emerging composer at the Florence Choral (2017) and awarded the title ‘World Youth Choral Artist’ (2015) by World Youth and Children Choral Artists’ Association. Also, he is a member of the Association of British Choral Directors (ABCD). In 2013, Chan was invited to conduct the background choir for Rolling Stones in Macau during their world tour concerts. With his work commissioned by Marymount Secondary School Choir, his commissioner became the first Hong Kong choir to be awarded champion (youth choir category) in the internationally acclaimed Béla Bartók 27th International Choir Competition (2016). In addition, Chan attained 3rd place – Freundeskreis Brauweiler Prize at the Musica Sacra Nova 2018: 14th International Composers Competition in Germany and Poland. And the winning work is published by Schott Music.

Katherine Pukinskis, National Composer (Cambridge, MA)

Katherine Pukinskis (b. 1986) is a composer-scholar currently living in Cambridge, MA. Dr. Pukinskis has had works premiered by eighth blackbird, Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, Akron Symphony Chorus, and the Spektral Quartet, as well as by members of Ensemble Dal Niente and the Chicago Symphony Chorus. Commissioning ensembles include the San Antonio Symphony, Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, Rockefeller Chapel (at the University of Chicago), Heritage Chorale, Artemisia Vocal Trio, and Red Star Brass. In addition to her work as a composer, Pukinskis teaches courses in music theory, composition, and ethnomusicology, previously at the University of Chicago and now at Harvard University. Her scholarly research revolves around notions of national and cultural identity, diaspora, traditional folk and choral music, and the twentieth-century histories of Latvia and the Baltic nations. She has presented her research across the United States and Europe in conferences, pre-concert lectures, and invited talks.

Scott Senko, Young Composer (Minneapolis, MN)

Scott Senko (b. 1992) is a composer and vocalist based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He served as Composer in Residence with Magnum Chorum during their 2016-2017 season and as a Guest
Composer for the inaugural consortium of the Libera Composers Association in 2017. In that same year, he won MPLS (imPulse)’s Compose Yourself! contest with his “Un Mundo Bello” for mixed
choir. Scott completed undergraduate studies at Luther College in 2015 where he studied composition with Brooke Joyce and Steve Smith, and voice with Andrew Whitfield. Additionally, he has had composition lessons and mentorship experiences with Jocelyn Hagen, Jake Runestad, Libby Larsen, and Edie Hill. As a vocalist, Scott has sang tenor with a number of vocal ensembles in the Twin Cities. Currently, he sings with The Singers ~ Minnesota Choral Artists, MPLS (imPulse), and the parish choir at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church (where he serves as Tenor Section Leader).