Edwin Fissinger Choral Composition Prizes - Recipients

2017 First Prize: Jacob Beranek

Title: Our Rhyme
Performance Date: March 18, 2018, 2:00 PM – Festival Concert Hall

Jacob Beranek is the winner of the 2017 Edwin Fissinger Choral Composition Prize for "Our Rhyme." He is an 18-year-old musician from Oconomowoc, Wisconsin and a published composer, award-winning pianist, and dedicated enthusiast of Czech culture. Beranek has received many honors for his work throughout Wisconsin, the Midwest, and the nation, and is currently serving as the first-ever composer-in-residence for the Midsummer's Music Festival in Door County, Wisconsin. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Music in Composition at Vanderbilt University's Blair School of Music. His website is www.beranekmusic.com.

Nicholas Ryan Kelly

2016 First Prize: Nicholas Ryan Kelly

Title: The New Moon
Performance Date: October 2, 2016, 2:00 PM – Festival Concert Hall

Nicholas Ryan Kelly is the winner of the 2016 Edwin Fissinger Choral Composition Prize for his composition “The New Moon,” which premiered at the NDSU Concert Choir fall concert on October 2, 2016. Kelly is a composer who resides in Penticton, BC, Canada. Commended by the Vancouver Sun for his 'sophisticated work of such immediate, glittery appeal,' Kelly is an American-Canadian composer who draws inspiration from science, nature, and speculative fiction. His works have been selected for performances and awards by groups such as the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Victoria Symphony, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and the West Point Band. His website is www.nicholasryankelly.com.

Steve Murray

2016 Second Prize: Steve Murray

Title: Paster Noster
Second prize in the 2016 competition goes to “Pater Noster” by Steve Murray, a composer, arranger, performer, and teacher from Richmond, Mass. He is an award-winning composer who has created music in many genres from jazz to classical, from choral to chamber music, orchestral, and music theatre scores. His website is www.berkshiremusic.net.

Paul Ayres

2015 First Prize: Joshua Hummel

Title: May Night
Performance Date: October 24, 2015, 7:30 PM – Festival Concert Hall

Joshua Hummel received the 2015 Edwin Fissinger Choral Composition Prize winner for his work May Night, text by Sara Teasdale. The work premiered at NDSU’s Contemporary Composition in America Choral Symposium during the October 24 concert with the NDSU Concert Choir.

Hummel is the recipient of various composition awards including the prestigious Frederick Fennell Prize and the Leonard Bernstein Award. His music has been performed in Carnegie Hall and throughout the United States, as well as Paris, Croatia, Perugia, Rome, London and Moscow. Hummel holds an M.A. in theatre and a M.Mus. in composition and has studied with professors from the Hartt School of Music, San Francisco Conservatory and Julliard.

Hummel has received several awards for his choral music, including the 2014 Loyola University Maryland Prize for Composition with his setting of God of Our Fathers. His wind ensemble music has been performed throughout the country by some of the nation’s top college bands. In February 2011 the Yale Concert Band premiered his Fennell award-winning composition, Haiku Symphony No. 4, in Woolsey Hall and Carnegie Hall. Hummel composes for Colors in Motion, an arts collective in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and owns Sinensis Music, a composition studio in Hartford, Connecticut.

Learn more at http://www.joshummel.com.

Paul Ayres

2014 First Prize: Paul Ayres

Title: The isle is full of noises
Performance Date: 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 8, 2015, Festival Concert Hall

Ayres's music is widely performed, with pieces commissioned by choirs, ensembles, schools, churches and individual musicians across the world. His works have been awarded prizes in composition competitions in Canada, Croatia, New Zealand, Russia, the UK and the USA. New projects for 2015 include a song-cycle and commissions from I
Cantori of Walla Walla University in Washington State and from Northern Michigan University.

Paul is the regular conductor of City Chorus and the choirs at London College of Music (University of West London), accompanist of Concordia Voices, and associate accompanist of Crouch End Festival Chorus.

Read his full bio here.

Andrew J. Miller

2013 First Prize: Andrew J. Miller

Title: The Tyger
Performance Date: 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 6, 2013, Festival Concert Hall

Miller is an active choral conductor, clinician, vocalist, composer, arranger and educator in Bismarck, North Dakota. He earned his bachelor’s degree in vocal music education from Bemidji State University prior to receiving his master’s degree in choral conducting from Minnesota State University-Mankato. He has been teaching choral music in Minnesota and North Dakota since 2007 and currently serves as director of choral activities for Bismarck State College.

Miller was the founder and artistic director of the Minnesota-based professional vocal ensemble From Age to Age, which has performed at American Choral Director Association (ACDA) state and regional conferences. The ensemble was also featured in Minnesota Public Radio’s A Taste of the Holiday and Regional Spotlight. Miller currently directs a vocal chamber ensemble in Bismarck called Inspiraré andserves as the R & S Chair of Student and Youth Activities for the ND ACDA.

Santa Barbara Music Publishing has distributed several of Miller’s compositions, including If Music Be the Food of Love, I Carry Your Heart with Me, and Seeds. Hope Music Publishing distributed his piece titled Alleluia.

Elizabeth Lim

2013 Second Prize: Elizabeth Lim

Title: The Lark
Performance Date: 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 6, 2013, Festival Concert Hall

A Juilliard graduate, award-winning composer Elizabeth Lim wrote her first song when she was five years old. Since then, her music has been performed throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia.

Elizabeth is an alumnus of Harvard University, where she graduated magna cum laude with highest honors. Last year, VocalEssence co-presented her choral work, The Tempest, during the 2012 Essentially Choral readings, directed by Philip Brunelle. Following the readings, Elizabeth received a commission to write for VocalEssence's WITNESS Concert in February 2013. Her choral music has also been performed by the New Amsterdam Singers, Ghostlight, Convivium, and the International Orange Chorale in San Francisco.

Nancy Cobb Lippens

2011 First Prize: Nancy Hill Cobb

Title: When Music Sounds, text by Walter de la Mare
Performance Date: October 2, 2011

Nancy Hill Cobb is a composer, conductor and director of the Challey School of Music at Indiana State University, Terre Haute, Indiana. Major published compositions include Thredony for chorus and orchestra (Hinshaw, 2004) and The Seven Last Words, for chorus and chamber orchestra (1988, Leawood). Her most recent choral publications are Titania's Lullaby published in 2010 and Invictus, set for release in 2012. Invictus was the third in a series of commissions by the Ohio State University Men's Glee Club. Other recent compositions include Opacity and Translucence, for horn and piano (2010); Suite for Reeds (commissioned by Trio Canna, 2010); and Three Psalms, for tenor, cello and piano (2011).

Christian Martin

2011 Second Prize: Christian Martin

Title: Walls of Glass, text by William Shakespeare

Christian Martin is a senior at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York and he plans to pursue a masters and doctorate degrees in music theory and composition upon graduation. Prior to college, he attended Arizona School for the Arts, was a member of the Phoenix Boys Choir, and performed in the All-Regionals and All-State high school choirs. Christian has also performed with the Temple University Singers, Arizona State Choral Union, and the Binghamton University Chorus. Walls of Glass is dedicated to Mr. Martin's grandmother, Madelyn Marshall, as she was the inspiration behind his choice of text and setting of the music.

Jeremy Bakken

2010 First Prize: Jeremy Bakken

Title: Ask Me No More
Performace Date: March 6, 2011

Jeremy S. Bakken was born in 1981 in Wisconsin, USA. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Music and Mathematics from Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee, and is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Composition and Choral Conducting from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. Bakken specializes in choral composition and arranging; his works have been performed by high school choirs, church choirs, national conference choirs, and university choruses. His compositions and arrangements are available from several U.S. choral publishers or at www.jsbakken.com.


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