68th Annual BMI Student Composer Award Winners Announced

Published: 05.12.2020

Above: Painting by Ralph Jackson

NEW YORK, NY ― May 12, 2020 ― The BMI Foundation (BMIF), in collaboration with Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI), has announced the eight young classical composers, ages 18 to 27, who have been named winners of the 68th annual BMI Student Composer Awards. With the postponement of this year’s ceremony, Director of the Awards and BMIF President Deirdre Chadwick announced the recipients online, and the winners will join the 2021 class at a ceremony next year in New York City.

Maya Miro Johnson received both the William Schuman Prize for most outstanding score, and the Carlos Surinach Prize awarded to the youngest winner of the competition. The BMIF will celebrate all winners throughout the month of May on the organization’s social media platforms.


The 2020 award winners are:

Henri Colombat – age 22, studies at McGill University
Tyson Davis, age 19, studies at The Juilliard School
Julian Fueyo, age 24, studies with Keith Fitch
Patrick Holcomb, age 23, studies at Indiana University
Maya Miro Johnson – age 18, also awarded the William Schuman Prize, awarded for most outstanding score and the Carlos Surinach Prize, awarded to the youngest winner of the competition, studies at Curtis Institute of Music
Grant Luhmann – age 25, studies with Luis Aguilar
Jane Meenaghan – age 19, studies with Ian Krouse
Ruby Turok-Squire– age 27, studies with David Jaeger and John Graham-Hall


One composer also received an honorable mention in the competition: Henry From, a 16-year-old student at the Vancouver Academy of Music.

“We are delighted to honor these deserving and talented young composers” said Deirdre Chadwick,. “And we look forward to honoring them next year and celebrating their diverse body of work this spring.”

Alexandra du Bois, Jeremy Gill, David Leisner and David Schober served as preliminary panelists this year. The final judges were Marcos Balter, Marti Epstein, Bernard Rands and Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez. Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Music among many other accolades, serves as the permanent Chair of the competition.

The BMI Student Composer Awards recognize superior musical compositional ability with annual educational scholarships totaling $20,000. This year, nearly 600 online applications were submitted to the competition from students throughout the Western Hemisphere, and all works were judged anonymously. BMI, in collaboration with the BMI Foundation, has awarded over 600 grants to young composers throughout the history of the competition.

About the Award Winners

Henri Colombat (b. 1997) is a French-American composer of acoustic and electroacoustic music interested in exploring the different possible relationships between poetic imagery and sound. His music has been recognized by BMI Student Composer Awards in 2020 and 2019, and the Luba Zuk Piano Duo Composition Prize in 2018. Colombat is currently pursuing his master’s degree in music composition at McGill University with Sean Ferguson, as a Max Stern Fellow in music.


Tyson Davis (b. 2000) began composing at the age of eight years old. He entered UNCSA as a high school freshman, studying with Lawrence Dillon. He has taken advantage of numerous opportunities at the school, writing for Eighth Blackbird, the Attacca String Quartet, UNCSA Cantata Singers and the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra. In the summers, he has attended Interlochen Summer Music Camp, where he had works for chorus and percussion ensemble premiered and earned the Fine Arts Award, and Curtis Summerfest, where he worked with David Ludwig. This most recent summer Tyson was a composer apprentice with National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America(NYO-USA) and Antonio Pappano,  who premiered his work Delicate Tension, a piece that was commissioned by the American Embassy in Berlin for the 30th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The work was performed in Berlin, Edinburgh, and Hamburg. Since then, Tyson has started as an undergraduate at The Juilliard School where he continues his studies in composition and is a recipient of the Jerome L. Green Fellowship.


Julián Fueyo’s (b. 1996) compositions explore the mythological dimensions of music in relation to collective memory and psychology. His pieces have been performed by Peter Otto (Concert Master of The Cleveland Orchestra), Shannon Lee (Queen Elizabeth Competition laureate); and have won 1st prize at The Robert Avalon International Competition and the Cleveland Composers Guild Composition Contest. Originally from Tampico, Mexico, Julián studied at Interlochen Arts Academy with Cynthia Van Maanen and the Cleveland Institute of Music with Keith Fitch, and will begin his graduate studies at Yale in the fall.

Patrick Holcomb (b. 1996) is pursuing his master's degree at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, where he was awarded the Composition Department Graduate Assistantship, the 2019 Georgina Joshi Composition Commission Award, and the 2019/2021 Jon Vickers Film Scoring Award. Holcomb earned his undergraduate degree from Ithaca College, from which he graduated top of his class in the School of Music. He has been a member of American Mensa since age nineteen.


Maya Miro Johnson (b. 2001) is a composer, conductor, and interdisciplinary artist who currently holds the Tureck Bach Research Institute Fellowship at the Curtis Institute of Music. She has begun her career by working with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra & Tito Muñoz, Sarasota Music Festival & Jeffrey Kahane, pianist Inna Faliks for Sono Luminus, conductor Toby Thatcher for Zeitgeist, bassoonist Brad Balliett, media-artist David Michalek, & by studying at the 2020 Aspen, 2019 Cabrillo, 2019 soundSCAPE, & 2019 Fresh Inc. Festivals, and as the 2018 BU Tanglewood Institute ASCAP Scholar and 2017 NYO-USA Apprentice Conductor. Mentors include Marin Alsop, Chaya Czernowin, Simon Holt, Devin Maxwell, & Missy Mazzoli. 



Grant Luhmann (b. 1994) is a Minnesota-born composer and  earned his undergraduate degree at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and his masters degree at the Yale School of Music. Upcoming projects include a concerto for electronically-processed flute and band for Meera Gudipati and the U.S. Coast Guard Band. In the fall of 2020 he will matriculate at Weill Cornell Medical College, where he hopes to explore the intersection of humanities and medicine. 


Jane Meenaghan (b. 2001) is a sound artist, composer, cellist, and incoming freshman to the Columbia-Juilliard Program who frequently seeks to synthesize, recontextualize, and dichotomize diverse aesthetics in hybrid electroacoustic soundscapes. Her works embrace the dimensionality of sound and theatricality of performance to deliver visceral, multisensory experiences. She has received top honors from ASCAP, National YoungArts, and others, and has worked with ensembles including Los Angeles Philharmonic, International Contemporary Ensemble, and Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra.


Ruby Turok-Squire (b. 1993) studied Composition and English Literature at Oberlin College and Conservatory. She was then awarded a Watson Fellowship, to spend a year researching the music of animals. Her first poetry collection, The Phantom Fundamental, was published in 2017 by Lapwing Press. Ruby is studying for a Masters in English and Drama at the University of Warwick, while studying composition with David Jaeger. Ruby sings with the University of Warwick Chamber Choir, Concordia Vocal Octet and Opera Warwick. She teaches Shakespeare to secondary school students and English as a Second Language to refugees.