BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.), in collaboration with the BMI Foundation (BMIF) has announced the six winners of the 69th Annual BMI Student Composer Awards. Each year these awards recognize superior musical compositional ability with educational scholarships totaling $20,000. This year’s group of talented composers, aged 18 to 27, were showcased across BMI’s and BMIF’s digital platforms in honor of their outstanding accomplishments.
“It is such a pleasure to honor these deserving and talented young composers, especially after the challenging year that our entire industry has faced,” said Deirdre Chadwick, BMI Executive Director of Classical and BMIF President. “Their creativity is alive and well, and we look forward to not only seeing their future works and achievements but also hopefully celebrating them in person at next year’s celebration.”
The 2021 award winners are:
● Micangelo Ferrante, age 18, studies with Dr. Jules Pegram, also awarded the Carlos Surinach Prize, honoring the youngest winner of the competition. (Winning work: Đóa Quỳnh for soprano, tenor, chorus, and gamelan [6′])
● Elizabeth Gartman, age 24, awarded the William Schuman Prize for most outstanding score, studied with Susan Botti at Manhattan School of Music. (Winning work: [Weight] for soprano and fixed media [8′])
● Grey Grant, age 27, studies with Paul Schoenfeld at University of Michigan. (Winning work: Michigan Trees: A Guide to the Trees of Michigan and the Great Lakes Region, an opera in 11 parts for soprano, folk baritone, string quartet and percussion)
Lucy Chen, a 16-year-old private student of Yiming Wu, and Sofia Ouyang, a 21-year-old student of Andrew Norman’s at The Juilliard School, received honorable mentions in this year’s competition.
The audio streams for all six 2021 award-winning works as well as the video greetings from Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and Deirdre Chadwick are available on the BMI website.
Preliminary panelists included Alexandra du Bois, Jeremy Gill, Trevor Weston, and David Schober and the final judges were Pulitzer Prize-winner John Adams, Daniel Roumain, Kristin Kuster, and Sean Shepherd. Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Music among many other accolades, serves as the permanent Chair of the competition.
This year, over 500 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.