Winners announced for the 2014-2015 competition
The Esoterics is pleased to announce the winners of its 2014-2015 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!
Michael Gilbertson, Young Composer (New Haven, CT)
Michael Gilbertson studied composition with Samuel Adler, John Corigliano, and Christopher Rouse at The Juilliard School, and at the Yale School of Music with Aaron Jay Kernis, Martin Bresnick, Ezra Laderman and Christopher Theofanidis. Gilbertson’s works have been programmed by ensembles including The Juilliard Orchestra, the Washington National Opera, the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, the Grand Rapids Symphony, the Symphony in C, the New England Philharmonic, the Cheyenne Symphony, the Yale Philharmonia, the Cedar Rapids Symphony, the Michigan Philharmonic, the Flint Symphony, the Rockford Symphony, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony, Musica Sacra, and Aspen Contemporary Ensemble. Gilbertson’s music has earned five Morton Gould Awards from ASCAP, a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a BMI Student Composer Award, and the 2007-08 Palmer-Dixon Prize, awarded by the Juilliard composition faculty for the best student work of the year. His piano trio Fold by fold received the Israel Prize from the Society for New Music. Gilbertson’s music can be heard in the 2006 documentary Rehearsing a dream, which was nominated for an Academy Award. His published music includes choral works with Boosey & Hawkes and G. Schirmer, and orchestral works with Theodore Presser.
Karen Siegel, National Composer (Hoboken, NJ)
Composer Karen Siegel draws on her experience as a vocalist in her creation of innovative choral and vocal works. She was recently awarded first prize in the New York Virtuoso Singers 2013 Choral Composition Competition for her humorous a cappella choral work from 2006, Confessions from the blogosphere, which sets excerpts from online blogs. Sponge squeezed dry, her 2008 piece for mixed chorus and horn that sets an original text, was awarded the 2009 Starer Award for Composition at the City University of New York Graduate Center. In June 2008 Karen was a winner of the Manhattan Choral Ensemble Commissioning Project Competition, which resulted in the work Saguaro, inspired by the desert landscape and history of Tucson, Arizona. Saguaro was recorded by C4: the Choral Composer/Conductor Collective (of which Karen is a founding member), and was released on the albumVolume 1: Uncaged last year. Saguaro was also recently accepted into the PROJECT : ENCORE database of Schola Cantorum on Hudson.
Hasan Uçarsu, International Composer (Istanbul, Turkey)
Hasan Uçarsu was born in İstanbul in 1965. Beginning his musical training at eleven, he studied the flute at Istanbul Municipal Conservatory. He later became a student in composition at the State Conservatory of Mimar Sinan University, where he was a student of Ahmed Adnan Saygun as an undergraduate and Cengiz Tanç as a graduate student. In 1994, he travelled to the United States and worked with George Crumb and Richard Wernick. He completed his doctoral degree (Ph. D.) in 1997 from the University of Pennsylvania in the field of composition. Since 1998 he has been teaching at the Composition and Conducting Department of the State Conservatory of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, İstanbul as Associate Professor of Composition. In 2009 he was appointed as Professor of Composition by the same institution. In the spring semester of 2007, he was invited by the Music School of Memphis University as visiting composer and faculty member. He also taught composition master classes at Ayvalık International Music Academy (AIMA) in the summer of 2007. He received the David Halstead Composition Award for his work titled Monologue,and the Helen G. Weiss Composition Award for his work Mystic Fragments (University of Pennsylvania, 1995 and 1996). He won the first prize in the 1st Dr. Nejat Eczacıbaşı National Competition for Composition with his work Cries, Memories, and a little dream (İzmir, 1996). He shared the first prize in the 2nd Dr. Nejat Eczacıbaşı National Competition for Composition with his orchestral work Comet (İzmir, 1998), and he was given the second prize in the category of Large-scale Symphonic Works in the National Competition for Composition (Ankara-2004) of The Ministry of Culture with his ballet music called Ishmael’s story, and he was honored with the title of Dean’s Scholar in 1997 by the University of Pennsylvania for his academic works.