61st BMI Student Composer Award Winners Announced

Published: 06.04.2013

Above: Pictured: L-R: Michael-Thomas Foumai, William Dougherty, Juan Pablo Contreras, Chris Rogerson, Permanent Chair of the Awards Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, Michael Schachter, BMI CEO and President Del Bryant, Stefan Cwik, Director of the Awards Deirdre Chadwick, Kurt Isaacson, Michael Gilbertson, Chris Chandler, Michael Parsons.

Broadcast Music, Inc., in collaboration with the BMI Foundation, has announced the 10 young classical composers, ages 17 to 27, who have been named winners of the 61st Annual BMI Student Composer Awards. Renowned American composer and Permanent Chair of the Student Composer Awards, Ellen Taafe Zwilich, BMI President and CEO Del Bryant, and BMI’s Executive Director of Classical, Deirdre Chadwick, announced the decisions of the jury and presented the awards at a reception held on May 20, 2013, at the J.W. Marriott Essex House Hotel in New York City.

The 2013 award winners are:

  • Juan Pablo Contreras - William Schuman Prize (awarded for most outstanding score) - age 25, studies privately with Nils Vigeland in NYC
  • Michael Parsons - Carlos Surinach Prize (awarded to the youngest winner of the competition) - age 17, studies at the Juilliard School Pre-College Division
  • William Dougherty - age 25, studies at the Musik Akademie der Stadt in Basel, Switzerland
  • Michael Schachter - age 25, studies at University of Michigan
  • Michael-Thomas Foumai - age 25, studies at University of Michigan
  • Michael Gilbertson - age 25, studies at Yale University
  • Kurt Isaacson - age 26, studies at Stanford University
  • Christopher Chandler - age 27, studies at the Eastman School of Music
  • Chris Rogerson - age 24, studies at Princeton University
  • Stefan Cwik - age 26, studies at the Juilliard School

The distinguished jury members for the 2013 competition were Margaret Brouwer, Richard Danielpour, Mario Davidovsky, Aaron Jay Kernis and Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez. The preliminary judges were Alexandra Du Bois, Shafer Mahoney, David Schober and Sean Shepherd. Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, is the permanent Chair of the competition.

The BMI Student Composer Awards recognize superior musical composition. Winners receive scholarship grants to be applied toward their musical education. In 2013, more than 400 manuscripts were submitted to the competition from applicants throughout the Western Hemisphere, and all works were judged anonymously. Individual scholarship awards total $20,000. BMI, in collaboration with the BMI Foundation, has awarded nearly 600 grants to young composers throughout the history of the competition.