League of Composers/ISCM Composers Competition 2009

The League of Composers/ISCM US Section announces its annual composers’ competition. One winner will be selected and will receive an award of $500 (US) and possible performance in New York City. Up to five finalists may also be selected. The winning piece and all five finalists will be submitted to represent the US in the ISCM World Music Days Competition.

Announcing this year’s winners!
Mark Berger
D.J. Sparr


Chris Dietz, Gharra : Performed on the June 10, 2009 concert at Miller Theatre
The music of Christopher Dietz has been recognized by honors and awards from the Banff Centre, Copland House, the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, the Minnesota Orchestra Reading Sessions and Composer Institute, and several other organizations. In the fall of 2009 he will be in residence at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France. He holds a Ph.D. in Composition and Theory from the University of Michigan as well as degrees from the Manhattan School of Music and the University of Wisconsin. He is currently a visiting assistant professor at the Oberlin Conservatory.

The term “Gharra,” as it is used here, refers to a type of sudden and violent rainstorm that occurs in the deserts of North Africa. The music is not a literal, programmatic depiction, but rather uses the image of a passing storm as a general dramatic model. The long arc of the work is articulated by a series of extended solos in the winds, while the strings, piano and percussion provide accompaniment and commentary. Gharra was commissioned by the Utah Arts Festival Orchestra in 2007.

John Aylward, Dragonfly: Performed on the February 7, 2009 concert at Tenri Cultural Institute
Composer and pianist John Aylward is currently and Assistant Professor of Music Composition and Theory at Clark University in Massachusetts. Aylward’s work as an active pianist grounds his music in the experiential, focusing on rigorous technique and experimental formal, textural and harmonic concepts. His work with electronic media captures the youthful energy of our contemporary culture as it intersects with more technologically based modes of artistic expression. Aylward’s music has been performed within the U.S and abroad by numerous ensembles including the New York New Music Ensemble, The Lydian String Quartet, Third Angle, The Bard Symphony Orchestra, Juventas, The Aspen Contemporary Ensemble and others. His work has also been championed by internationally touring soloists Steven Gosling, Elizabeth Keusch, Karina Sabac , Daria Binkowski and Alex Lipowski. Aylward has received grants and awards for his compositions from numerous national institutions including The MacDowell Colony, The Wellesley Composer Conference, The Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, The Society of Composers, ISCM, and more. Before his post at Clark University, Aylward taught at Tufts University and at Brandeis University.

Dragonfly was written in 2003, while I was studying with David Rakowski at Brandeis University. Davy provided great guidance during my work and so I dedicated the piece to him as well as to a close relative of mine, Paul Aylward. The work begins with a dramatic cello cadenza followed by a floating response in the piano that sets a new tone. When the cello enters again, the two converse until they find a new way to achieve the floating textures in the piano, this time mimicked in the cello.

Matthew Fields, Fireheart : Performed on the February 7, 2009 concert at Tenri Cultural Institute
Matthew H. Fields was born in Milwaukee and grew up in Deerfield, Illinois before earning degrees in music composition, mathematics, and computer science at Oberlin, Stanford, and University of Michigan. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. By day he programs computers for a hospital; by night he writes solos, chamber music, symphonies, and choral music; and he catches up on rest and life on the weekends.

Passion brings us together to celebrate the joy of being together; the impermanence of life adds urgency to our loves. Here we get a music of interpenetrating melodies rising and falling like breaths and pulses and racing hearts, unrelentingly driving towards climactic ecstasy, a musical reflection on our most urgent passions. “This piece also serves as a complete concerto in 8 minutes for 6 virtuosos.

The 2010 League of Composers Competition is open to all US composers. There are no stylistic limitations. Works must be between 5 and 20 minutes in length, though closer to 10 minutes is encouraged. The piece may be for solo instrument, small ensemble, or any combination up to a chamber orchestra. The work may have one soloist (instrument or vocal) but no chorus. Works with additional media, and/or electronic components will be considered as well. All compositions utilizing texts must show proof of all necessary copyright permissions.

We can accept up to three pieces per composer. Each piece requires its own upload & PayPal fee.
Next Entry Deadline: July 1, 2010.