press release: BMI award winners



NEW YORK, May 18, 2009 – Nine young classical composers, ranging in age from 17 to 26, have been named winners in the 57th Annual BMI Student Composer Awards.  Newly appointed Awards Chair Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, BMI President & CEO Del Bryant and BMI Foundation President Ralph N. Jackson announced the decisions of the jury and presented the awards at a reception held May 15 at the Jumeirah Essex House Hotel in New York City.

The 2009 Awards were presented to Evan Antonellis (age 24, studies at Manhattan School of Music); Niccolo Athens (age 20, studies at The Juilliard School); Brendan Kelley Faegre (age 24, studies at Indiana University); Gabrielle Nina Haigh (age 17, studies at the Laurel School in Shaker Heights, Ohio); Andrew Evans McManus (age 24, studies at the Eastman School of Music); Noah Gideon Meites (age 26, studies at the University of California Santa Cruz); Rafael Nassif (age 24, studies at the UFMG Music School in Belo Horizonte, Brazil); Phil Taylor (age 19, studies at Willamette University); and Roger Zare (age 23, studies at Peabody Conservatory).

The BMI Student Composer Awards recognize superior creative talent; winners receive scholarship grants to be applied toward their musical education.  In 2009, more than 500 manuscripts were submitted to the competition from throughout the Western Hemisphere, and all works were judged under pseudonyms.  Cash awards totaled $20,000.  Rafael Nassif was the named the winner of the 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.  Additionally, the Carlos Surinach Prize, awarded to the youngest winner in the competition, went to Gabrielle Nina Haigh.

The distinguished 2009 Student Composer Awards jury members were Ingram Marshall, Osvaldo Golijov, Tobias Picker, Michael Torke and Joseph Schwantner.  The preliminary judges were Chester Biscardi, Shafer Mahoney and Bernadette Speach.

BMI has given 534 scholarship grants to young composers over the years, and many of the most prominent and active classical composers in the world today received their first recognition from the BMI Student Composer Awards.  Eleven former winners have gone on to win the coveted Pulitzer Prize in Music. Student Composer Awards competition is co-sponsored by BMI and the BMI Foundation, Inc.


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