Well, it was a struggle, but we have whittled down our composition contest pool from 504 to 3. And it was not without its struggles: more than 150 hours of judging time was needed; 143 cups of coffee were drunk; 34.5 arguments were fought; one very large bag of M&Ms was consumed.
The contest is a partnership between MakeMusic, the American Composers Forum and eighth blackbird, and we thank our partners in this process for their significant financial, administrative and moral support.
All eighth blackbird members took part in the process, and, surprisingly, there was a significant amount of group consensus throughout the process.
The three finalists are: Andy Akiho of New Haven, Conn., Eric Lindsay of Bloomington, Ind., and Kurt Rohde of San Francisco, Calif. Each finalist will receive a cash prize and will write a piece for eighth blackbird, which will be workshopped and performed in the ensemble’s Chicago studio. One composer will be chosen to receive the final prize, which includes an additional cash award and a future public performance by eighth blackbird.
We were floored by the quality of submissions, and thought it fair to recognize twelve additional composers, whose pieces made it to our last internal round of judging. They were of such a uniformly high standard, with such diverse and distinctive voices, that we had to give them some sort of recognition.
Alex Freeman (Northfield, Minn.)
Sean Friar (Princeton, N.J.)
J.M. Gerraughty (Nashua, N.H.)
Aaron Gervais (San Francisco, Calif.)
Yotam Haber (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Derek Johnson (Carmel, Ind.)
Amy Kirsten (New Haven, Conn.)
Zibuokle Martinaityte (New York, N.Y.)
Douglas Pew (Erlanger, Ky.)
Jeremy Podgursky (Bloomington, Ind.)
Mike Solomon (Gainesville, Fla.)
Daniel Wohl (New Haven, Conn.)
For more information, you can visit the American Composers Forum website. We will provide more details (with dates and location) of the finalists’ workshop sometime in the near future. Thanks to all who entered, and rest assured that there were many marvelous, creative, bizarre, accomplished composers who didn’t make it into the final 15.