Composer Kevin Walczyk has been named the recipient of the ninth Raymond and Beverly Sackler Music Composition Prize. The competition, organized by the University of Connecticut’s School of Fine Arts, supports and promotes composers and the performance of their new musical works. An international award, the prize offers a substantial recognition including a commission of $25,000 to compose a work for a specific ensemble (which changes each year), public performances, and a recording. This year’s prize is for a concerto for brass quintet (Atlantic Brass Quintet) and wind ensemble.
Walczyk was chosen from among 65 entries from 10 countries and 12 states. Finalists included Justin Dello Joio (New York, NY), Augusta Read Thomas (Chicago, IL), and Roshanne Etezady (Evanston, IL). The 2012 adjudication panel was comprised of Edward Cumming, Tayloe Harding, and Tom Ervin.
A native of Portland, Oregon, Walczyk (b. 1964) is currently professor of music at Western Oregon University in Monmouth, Oregon, where he teaches composition, orchestration, jazz arranging, film scoring, media production, and serves as the graduate music coordinator. Walczyk’s compositions have earned prizes or finalist status from the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble’s Harvey Gaul Competition (commissioning prize), Chamber Orchestra Kremlin’s International-Blitz Competition (2nd Grand Prize), the National Band Association’s William D. Revelli Memorial Composition Contest, College Band Directors National Association, ASCAP, BMI, Lionel Hampton Creative Composition Contest, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia Wind Ensemble Composition Competition, three Masterworks of the New Era recording prizes from ERM Media, Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute, Los Angeles Philharmonic Synergy project, the Lionel Hampton Creative Composition Competition, and Pacific Coast College Jazz Festival Merit of Achievement in Composition. Walczyk was selected as the Midwest Clinic 2010 commissioned composer and was selected for a special commission for the 2011 Midwest Clinic international conference. Recipient of a bachelor of arts in education degree from Pacific Lutheran University in 1987 and master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees from the University of North Texas, Walczyk served as arranger for the University of North Texas One O’clock Lab Band (1988-89). His principal composition instructors have been Larry Austin, Jacob Avshalomov, Thomas Clark, Martin Mailman, and Cindy McTee, plus jazz arrangers Tom Kubis and Frank Mantooth.
The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Music Composition Prize was established in 2002 through a gift from Raymond and Beverly Sackler, major philanthropists and frequent donors to the University of Connecticut. The Sacklers fund several important initiatives at the School of Fine Arts, including an artist-in-residence program, the Master Artists and Scholars Institute, and the Art and Archeology Lecture Series. The Sacklers were also instrumental in forging an academic partnership between the Metropolitan Opera and UConn, the first collaboration of its kind between the opera company and an institution of higher learning. In addition to the fine arts programs, the Sacklers fund many other initiatives at UConn.