<June 2019>

Award Winners

The Elaine Lebenbom Eighth Annual Memorial Award

Britta Byström

Missy Mazzoli

Britta Byström was born in Sundsvall, Sweden in 1977 and began her musical career as a trumpet player. In her teens, she began to compose music and studied composition at the Royal University of Music in Stockholm 1995-2001, where her main teachers were Pär Lindgren and Bent Sørensen.

Byström has composed for most sizes of orchestras and contexts including chamber music, vocal music and opera, but the emphasis has been on orchestral music. Some of those who have performed her music are the BBC Symphony Orchestra, the Gürzenich Orchestra, the Norwegian Radio Orchestra and the International Youth Wind Orchestra. In 2010, she was the subject of a ”weekend composer portrait” at the Stockholm Concert Hall, and in 2014 she was the Swedish Radio Orchestra's “spring composer,” with several orchestral performances.

Among the works could be mentioned Der Vogel der Nacht, which was first performed by the Swedish Radio Orchestra, Esa-Pekka Salonen during the Baltic Sea Festival in 2010 and the orchestral work Picnic at Hanging Rock, a tone poem inspired by Peter Weir's film. Byström has described it as music with disappearance as a main motiv. The piece was awarded with the Christ Johnson prize in 2012. In 2014, the viola concerto A Walk After Dark received the da capo-prize at the Brandenburger Biennale.

During 2015, Byström has created a new stage work based on a Sami legend, which will premiere at the Canadian new music festival Soundstreams. LatByström is also one of the finalists in the composition contest "Feeding Music" in Milano. A new CD with her music, Invisible Cities, was nominated to a 2015 Swedish Grammy and selected as "the classical album of the year" in several magazines.

Byström's music demonstrates a special attention to sound and sensitivity for the music's resonance that could be described as impressionistic.

Byström's music is published by Edition Wilhelm Hansen.

The Elaine Lebenbom Fifth Annual Memorial Award

Missy Mazzoli

Missy MazzoliMissy Mazzoli was recently deemed "one of the more consistently inventive, surprising composers now working in New York" by the New York Times, and "Brooklyn's post-millennial Mozart" by Time Out New York.  Her music has been performed all over the world by the Kronos Quartet, eighth blackbird, the American Composers Orchestra, New York City Opera, the Minnesota Orchestra, the South Carolina Philharmonic, NOW Ensemble and many others.  Upcoming projects include the spring, 2012 premiere of her first multimedia chamber opera, Song from the Uproar, at venerable New York venue The Kitchen.  In 2011 she will premiere a new orchestral work, performed by the League of Composer's Chamber Orchestra at New York's Miller Theater, as well as a new solo work for violinist Jennifer Koh, commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. 

Missy was also recently commissioned by Carnegie Hall, Bard College Conservatory, and the Whitney Museum of Art.   She is the recipient of four ASCAP Young Composer Awards, a Fulbright Grant to the Netherlands (2002-2004), and grants from the Jerome Foundation, American Music Center, and the Barlow Endowment. In 2006 Missy taught composition in the Music Department of Yale University, and is now Executive Director of the MATA Festival in New York City, an organization dedicated to promoting the work of young composers.  She is an active pianist, and often performs with Victoire, an "all-star, all-female quintet" (Time Out New York) she founded in 2008 dedicated exclusively to her own compositions.  Their album, Cathedral City, was released on New Amsterdam Records in 2010 and named one of the year's best classical albums by NPR, the New York Times and Time Out NY. 

Missy attended the Yale School of Music (M.M. 2006), the Royal Conservatory of the Hague (post-graduate studies 2002-2004) and Boston University (B.M. 2002).  Her principal teachers were Louis Andriessen, Martijn Padding, Richard Ayres, David Lang, Martin Bresnick, Aaron Jay Kernis, Charles Fussell, Richard Cornell, Martin Amlin and John Harbison.  Her music is published by G. Schirmer.

Commissioned Work: River Rouge Transfiguration
Premiered: May 31, 2013

The Elaine Lebenbom Fourth Annual Memorial Award

Du Yun

Du YunDu Yun was born in Shanghai, China and currently resides in New York City. She is an alumna of the Shanghai Conservatory, Oberlin Conservatory and Harvard University. Since 2006, Du Yun has served on the composition faculty at the State University of New York Purchase and is a founding member of the critically acclaimed International Contemporary Ensemble (I.C.E.). Equally adept at writing for concert halls, art shows, experimental theatres and dance, her compositions can be heard on record labels Wugui (Beijing), Shanghai Classical Music, ATMA Classique, New Focus and Oxingale.

Du Yun is currently involved in multiple composing projects including a work for string quartet, a dance and multimedia project with Moving Theater at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City and a multimedia collaboration with visual artist David Michalek for flutist Claire Chase. Highlights of recent seasons include premieres and performances in Switzerland, Finland, Canada, Norway, Argentina, Mexico, Germany, The Netherlands and China. Her scores for the silent films of Alice Guy-Blaché can be viewed at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City from November 2009 to January 2010.

Du Yun will also be composing a chamber opera with composer Ken Ueno at The Flea Theater (NYC) in May 2010 and a score for video artist Shahzia Sikander’s film Interstitial, which will tour India, Laos, Pakistan and Japan in early 2011.

Commissioned Work: Kraken

The Elaine Lebenbom Third Annual Memorial Award

Cindy McTee

Cindy McTee Photo Credit-Angilee WilkersonCindy McTee was born in 1953 in Tacoma, Washington and raised in the nearby town of Eatonville. The daughter of musical parents (her father played trumpet and her mother played clarinet), McTee often went to rehearsals of their small dance band where she heard popular music and jazz from the 1940's and 1950's. McTee began piano studies at the age of six with a teacher who encouraged improvisation (the beginnings of her career as a composer), and she began studying saxophone with her mother a few years later.

Another important influence on her musical life was the eminent Polish composer, Krzysztof Penderecki, whom she met in 1974 while a junior majoring in composition at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. Penderecki invited McTee to teach his children English in return for composition lessons. She accepted the invitation and spent an entire year in Poland living with the Penderecki family and studying orchestration, twentieth-century techniques and counterpoint at the Cracow Academy of Music. Lessons with Penderecki were conducted informally, generally at the family dining room table.

In addition to her work with Penderecki, McTee studied with David Robbins and Thomas Clark at Pacific Lutheran University (BM 1975), with Jacob Druckman and Bruce MacCombie at the Yale School of Music (MM 1978), and with Richard Hervig at the University of Iowa (PhD 1981). While in Poland she also studied with Marek Stachowski and Krystyna Moszumanska-Nazar.

McTee taught for three years at her undergraduate alma mater in Tacoma, Washington, and in 1984 joined the faculty of the University of North Texas, receiving promotion to Full Professor in 1995 and to Regents Professor in 2000. She has also participated in leadership roles at UNT, most notably as Chair of the Division of Composition Studies for a total of five years ending in 2000.

Ms. McTee has received numerous awards for her music, most significantly: a "Creative Connections Award" from Meet The Composer; two awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; a Guggenheim Fellowship; a Fulbright Fellowship; and a Composers Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She was also winner of the 2001 Louisville Orchestra Composition Competition, and in 2002 was selected to participate with the National Symphony Orchestra in "Music Alive," a residency program sponsored by Meet The Composer and the American Symphony Orchestra League.

She has been commissioned by the Houston Symphony Orchestra (2007), Hans Graf, music director; wind ensemble consortia (2007, 2001); the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra (2006), James Setapen, music director; the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (2005 and 2000), Andrew Litton, music director; Bands of America (2004), Eugene Migliaro Corporon, conductor; the National Symphony Orchestra (2002), Leonard Slatkin, music director; the Big Eight Band Directors Association (1995); the American Guild of Organists (1993); the Barlow Endowment (1993); the College Band Directors National Association, Western and Northwestern Divisions (1993); and the Pi Kappa Lambda Board of Regents (1991).

According to critic, Charles Ward, McTee's compositions reflect a "charging, churning celebration of the musical and cultural energy of modern-day America." Her music has been performed by leading orchestras, bands, and chamber ensembles in Japan, South America, Europe, Australia, and the United States in such venues as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Sydney Opera House. Among the many ensembles to have performed her music are: the Pacific Symphony, the North Texas and Dallas Wind Symphonies, the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo's NHK Symphony Orchestra, London's Philharmonia Orchestra, the United States Army Field Band, and the symphony orchestras of Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, Rochester, Saint Louis, San Antonio, Seattle, and Sydney.

Commissioned Work: Double Play
Premiered: June 3, 4, 5, and 6, 2010

The Elaine Lebenbom Second Annual Memorial Award

Margaret Brouwer

Margaret BrouwerComposer Margaret Brouwer's music has been praised by The New York Times as "bewitching...with no obvious concessions toward styles of the day". In recognition of her work in the field of musical composition, Ms. Brouwer was named a Guggenheim Fellow for 2004, for her "unusually impressive achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment." She was most recently awarded an Ohio Council for the Arts Individual Fellowship for 2005. Praise has recently come from Wilma Salisbury of Cleveland's The Plain Dealer reviewing the Brouwer-scored dance piece Kinetic Shadows: "The illusion of dancers running across screens and disappearing into darkness was magical...and Brouwer's music, heard in surround sound, blazed with excitement." The American Record Guide also sees in Brouwer's work "a marvelous example of musical imagery." Remarkable for its poetical sensibility, Ms. Brouwer's music reveals musical craftsmanship of the highest order. These qualities are found in music ranging from symphonic works for full orchestra to a variety of chamber combinations such as string quartet, trios, duos and pieces for such diverse solo instruments as the horn, piano, and flute.

Ms. Brouwer's sterling reputation for writing brilliant and riveting music has sparked a recent upsurge of interest in her music. Many of the country's most distinguished ensembles in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Boston, and Cleveland regularly program her works. In New York Ms. Brouwer's music has been programmed by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center; at Steinway Hall, Merkin Hall, and Symphony Space; by the Orchestra of St. Luke's on its "Second Helping" series; and by the Cassatt and Cavani String Quartets. Her works have also been played by the Seattle Symphony; and in Washington D.C. audiences at the Kennedy Center, the Concoran Gallery, and the Philips Gallery have heard her music. Brouwer's music is published exclusively by Carl Fischer.

She is currently head of the composition department and holder of the Vincent K. and Edith H. Smith Chair in Composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music. Honors include grants from the NEA, Ford Foundation, Knight Foundation, Meet the Composer, Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the Indiana Arts Commission, as well as residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Charles Ives Center for American Music. Brouwer was in residence at the Wellesley Composers Conference in 2002 and at the MacDowell Colony in 2001, and was a Norton Stevens Fellow there in 1999. Brouwer's teachers included Donald Erb, George Crumb, Harvey Sollberger, and Frederick Fox. "Aurolucent Circles", a CD of Brouwer's orchestral music featuring Evelyn Glennie, solo percussion and The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra with Gerard Schwarz conducting, was released by Naxos in January 2006. In review of the CD, Lawson Taitte of The Dallas Morning News praises Brouwer saying, "Ms. Brouwer has one of the most delicate ears and inventive imaginations among contemporary American composers... Ms.  Brouwer not only gets seductive sounds out of the instruments, she also creates a dramatic through line that keeps the attention riveted for 27 minutes."

In November 2003 a disc of Brouwer's called "Light," released by New World Records received wide acclaim. In reviewing this release, Sarah Bryan Miller of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch found Brouwer to be "that rarity, a contemporary composer whose music is accessible and engaging for a wide range of audiences, but whose work doesn't sound like movie music. She's not afraid to be spiky when spikiness is indicated, but there's never a sense in any of these works that she's using atonality for its own sake. And often her sonic world is utterly luminous in its beauty." (January 15, 2004) Similarly, Fanfare magazine praised the new disc in the following terms: "Brouwer's music has a sense of stylistic independence and an openness of spirit...The melodies are memorable, their cut Brouwer's own; the instrumental writing is unique, sharp, and always expressive." (May/June 2004) Other recordings of Ms. Brouwer's music can be found on the New World, Naxos, CRI, Crystal, Centaur, and Opus One labels.

Commissioned Work: Rhapsody for Orchestra
Premiered: January 9, 10 and 11, 2009

The Elaine Lebenbom First Annual Memorial Award

Stacy Garrop

Stacy Garrop Photo Credit-Robert BuhlHer works have been performed by the Amarillo Symphony, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Erato Chamber Orchestra, Illinois Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Minnesota Youth Orchestra, National Repertory Orchestra, New England Philharmonic, Omaha Symphony, Santa Cruz Symphony, and the Women's Philharmonic; by the ensembles Ambassador Duo, Artaria String Quartet, Biava Quartet, Callisto Ensemble, EARPLAY, Empyrean Ensemble, Enso Quartet, Helikon Ensemble, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), Lincoln Trio, New EAR, Orion Ensemble, Pilgrim Chamber Players, Seattle New Music Ensemble, Society for New Music, and Third Angle; and by Chicago A Cappella, Murray State University Concert Choir, Peninsula Women's Chorus, Princeton Singers, University of Michigan Chamber Choir, and Volti.  Her works have been choreographed by the a-ha! Dance Theatre of Kansas City, and conducted by Martín Benvenuto, Jerry Blackstone, Cliff Colnot, Karen Lynne Deal, Apo Hsu, Paul Hostetter, Peter Oundjian, Donald Portnoy, Jeffrey Renshaw, Steven Sametz, James Setapen, Stephen Squires, and Victor Yampolsky.

Dr. Garrop was composer-in-residence of Chicago's Music in the Loft chamber music series in 2004/05 and 2006/07.  She has attended residences at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Aspen Music Festival, Banff Centre for the Arts, MacDowell Colony, Millay Colony, Oxford Summer Institute, Ragdale Colony, Round Top Music Festival, Wellesley Composers Conference, and Yaddo Colony. Theodore Presser Company and Hildegard Publishing Company publish several of her works.

Dr. Garrop was guest composer and speaker at the Texas Association for Symphony Orchestras conference in Amarillo, Texas in 2004.  She has guest lectured at the University of Chicago, University of Missouri at Kansas City, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of South Carolina at Columbia, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Amarillo College, Carleton College, and West Texas A&M University.  

She earned degrees in music composition at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (B.M.), the University of Chicago (M.A.), and Indiana University - Bloomington (D.M.).  Dr. Garrop is an Associate Professor in Composition at the Chicago College of Performing Arts of Roosevelt University.

Commissioned Work: Becoming Medusa
Premiered: May 29, 30, 31 and June 1, 2008