Christopher Trapani has been awarded the 2007 Gaudeamus International Composers Award for Sparrow Episodes, a composition for ensemble and electric guitar. Trapani, the first American to win the annual new music prize in over 30 years, also served as the electric guitar soloist with the Asko Ensemble in the work’s premiere performance on September 5, 2007, as part of Amsterdam’s International Gaudeamus Music Week 2007. The cash award of 4,550 euros is intended as a commission for a new work that will be performed at the next edition of the International Gaudeamus Music Week in 2008.
Christopher Trapani, born in New Orleans in 1980, was the first graduate of the New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts to specialize in music composition. Trapani holds a bachelor’s degree in music and English and American literature and language from Harvard University, where he studied composition with Bernard Rands and poetry under Helen Vendler. With the support of a Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship, he traveled to London in 2002 to pursue a master’s of music degree at the Royal College of Music with Julian Anderson. Trapani currently lives in Paris, pursuing his studies with the French composer Philippe Leroux. Starting in September 2007, Trapani will spend a year in Istanbul on a Fulbright grant. Winner of a BMI Student Composer Award (2006) and two Morton Gould Young Composers Awards from ASCAP (2005, 2006), Trapani has also been awarded the Bearns Prize from Columbia University (2006) and the 2005 Wayne Peterson Prize from Earplay. He has twice been chosen to compete for the Gaudeamus Prize: in 2006 with Sing Into My Mouth, and in 2007 with Sparrow Episodes. His music has been performed by the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, ASKO Ensemble, Earplay, the Netherlands Radio Kamer Filharmonie, members of the Philharmonia Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, Ensemble Cairn, members of the Orchestre Nationale de Lorraine, members of the Ensemble Orchestral Contemporain, the Auros Group for New Music, the Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston, and pianist Sergey Schepkin.
The 2007 Gaudeamus Prize was awarded by jury members Mary Finsterer (Australia), Kevin Volans (South-Africa), and Yannis Kyriakides (the Netherlands). For this year’s International Gaudeamus Music Week, which was open to composers under age 31, the Gaudeamus Foundation received nearly 300 scores from all over the world; the jury subsequently selected 17 works to compete for the Gaudeamus Prize 2007. There were three honorable mentions: Marko Nikodijevic (b. 1980, Serbia) for cvetic, kucica, performed on September 3 by the Ives Ensemble in the Muziekgebouw; Stelios Manousakis (b. 1980, Greece) for his tape-work Do Digital Monkeys Inhabit Virtual Trees, which was played back on September 5 in the Bimhuis; and Vedran Mehinovic (b. 1981, Bosnia Herzegovina) for RA, performed on September 8 in the Muziekgebouw by the Holland Symfonia conducted by Fabrice Bollon. Previous recipients of the Gaudeamus Composers Award include international composers Louis Andriessen, Per Nørgård, Karen Tanaka, Unsuk Chin, and Michel Van der Aa, as well as Americans Pauline Oliveros and Daniel Lentz. The previous American recipient of the award was Maurice Weddington in 1973.
The next edition of the International Gaudeamus Music Week will take place from September 1-7, 2008, in Amsterdam. The deadline for applications is January 31, 2008.