First Place Winner
This composition offers improvisation, lively syncopation derived from jazz and rock music, impressionistic harmonies, and minimalist textures in a neo-classical setting. The sonic design of the work includes frequent 7th, 9th and 13th chords interspersed with modal passages. Tension and repose is often created through the juxtaposition of consonant pandiatonic sections with those employing the dissonant diminished scale which is based on alternating half and whole steps.
The music of Peter Lieuwen has been commissioned, performed and recorded by orchestras, small ensembles, and artists throughout North America and Europe. The composer has received honors, grants and awards from The National Orchestral Association, Meet the Composer, Inc., League of Composers - ISCM, Musicians Accord, The Arts Council of Wales and The Texas Composers Forum.
Peter Lieuwen’s symphonic music has been hailed as “an attractive array of shimmering, shuddering sonorities” (The New York Times). His orchestral works have been introduced by such orchestras as The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Saint Louis Symphony, Mexico City Philharmonic and the Pacific Symphony Orchestra.
The composer’s chamber works have been presented by various ensembles and artists including The Cassatt String Quartet, The Ravel String Quartet, Enhake, New Mexico Brass Quintet, Quintessence Winds, The Core Ensemble, Ensemble Bash (UK), clarinetist David Campbell (UK), percussionist Steven Schick and pianist Marc Andre Hamelin. Peter Lieuwen is currently Professor of Music and Composer-in-Residence in the Department of Performance Studies at Texas A&M University. His compositions are published by Keiser Classical and recorded on Albany, Crystal, Naxos, Pro Arte/Fanfare and New World labels.
Second Place Winner
This composition was written expressly for “The Doc Severinsen International Composition Contest.” Therefore, during the creative process, I was mindful of the unique legacy that master trumpeter and band leader “Doc” Severinsen has given to music community. A former lead-trumpet player myself, I was inspired by the fact that world-class virtuosos Vince DiMartino and Allen Vizzutti would be involved.
From 1970-1974, I studied trumpet with John R. Lindenau at The Interlochen Arts Academy, a private arts boarding school in the northwest corner of Michigan’s lower peninsula.
Mr. Lindenau had a profound impact on my young life, and I pursued a friendship with him for the past 40 years. John is (was) a rugged individualist and an astounding trumpeter who has demonstrated an undying love for nature and the outdoors. In the latter days of his teaching career and subsequent retirement from Interlochen, he established a business chartering his boat, “Infinity” on the waters of Lake Michigan. So my desire to honor this man and all that he gave me and his students has been realized in the title of this work.
The other element of the title refers to my occupation with black belt martial arts. I am currently a 3rd degree Black Belt in Chun Ma (“flying horse”) Korean-style Tae Kwon Do, studying for advancement to Tae Kwon Do “Master” (4th degree) with GrandMaster Jeon, Gyeong Ho in Fairlawn, Ohio. The term “Tao” (The process of nature by which all things change) is often used to denote “the way of things” in martial arts; hence, “The Tao of Kung fu,” or “The Tao of Tae Kwon Do.”
The musical language of the work demonstrates an eclectic harmonic palate, melodic lyricism, and animated, “beat” oriented rhythms. The harmonic mix includes mild dissonant counterpoint, clusters, quartal structures, and extended tertian harmonies reminiscent of “Big Band” jazz in the 60’s and 70’s (one of my primary jazz influences as a trumpeter and composer was the “Stan Kenton Orchestra.”). The melodic component (referring mainly to the trumpet solo) typically presents a more “narrative” approach (as opposed to a “phrase-period” structure) with developmental extensions likened to jazz improvisation.
The “beat” orientation of the music is often heard as static rhythmic “grooves” in the bongos and maracas/shakers. Pizzicati cellos and basses were written as quasi walking bass lines to create the impression of a “rhythm section” within the orchestral accompaniment. The middle section, complete with flugel horn, is ballade oriented music with lush, extended tertian (jazz) harmonies in the strings, and consonant counterpoint between the flugel horn solo and other secondary soloists in the orchestra.
The goal in the writing of “The Tao of Infinity” was to create idiomatic, virtuosic solo music with a music language that brings together classic concert music with Big Band jazz composition reminiscent of “The Tonight Show” band led by “Doc” Severinsen.
I appreciate Mr. Severinsen’s directive in the contest guidelines, “The piece ‘should have a melody and should feature a balanced dialogue between the trumpet and ensemble.’” In the contemporary concert music community, it is difficult to find new music that is attractive to performers and audiences without an occupation with extreme dissonance, athematicism, and musical anomaly. I am grateful to have been able to submit “The Tao of Infinity” in this arena and to have participated in the artistic community of ideas.
Daniel McCarthy is Professor and Chair of The Composition and Theory Section at The University of Akron School of Music. He formerly held the Theodore Dreiser Distinguished Creative/Research Award at The Indiana State University School of Music where he was Co-director of The ISU Contemporary Music Festival with The Louisville Orchestra.
U.S.A. Today describes his music as “intriguing, inviting, shimmering...” while The Cleveland Plain Dealer has written that his music is “Colorful, infectious and touching—.” His music has been described as “Contemporary in the best sense of the word” by The Music Connoisseur magazine, and 21st Century Music Magazine proclaims his music to be “Sassy, foreboding, refreshing and kicky—it’s called style.”
McCarthy’s has over 30 recordings of his music on Albany, Centaur, d’Note Classics, Gasparo, and Klavier Records, and over 100 publications of his his titles with C. Alan Publications. He is a recipient of numerous awards for his music including The American Prize, Harvey Phillips Excellence in Composition Award, New Generations Orchestra Commissioning Award, The Sackler Award, The International New Music Consortium Prize (New York University), Belgrade ppIANISSIMO Composition Prize, The Ohio Arts Council Excellence in Composition Award (5), The Indiana Arts Commission Artist Award (2), The Indiana State University Distinguished Creative Professor Award and Arts Endowment Grant (5), The Ohio Adult Composers Award (3), OMEA Composer of the Year, and a special tribute for his life’s work as a composer by The State of Michigan Legislature.
Third Place Winner
This piece is inspired by the loneliness and excitement of the times from twilight to sunrise, when most sensible people are asleep.
Trumpeter/Composer Scott Dickinson is a doctoral candidate in the Studio Music and Jazz Department at The University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. He also is the recipient of a Master’s Degree in Jazz Composition from DePaul University, and a Bachelor’s in Jazz Studies from the University of North Florida. As a performer, Scott has had the opportunity to share the stage with celebrated artists such as Marc Broussard, Michael Feinstein, and Mason Bates. He has also been a finalist in several performance competitions including the National Trumpet Competition, The International Trumpet Guild Competition, and the Chicago Union League Jazz Competition. Some of the many venues Scott has performed at include New York’s Smoke, Chicago’s Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, as well as jazz festivals in Jacksonville, Chicago, France, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and China.
Scott also maintains an active career as a composer and arranger. Scott’s pieces have been played by professional ensembles across the country including the Jazz Conceptions Orchestra, Rob Parton’s JazzTECH Big Band, as well as Bob Lark’s DePaul Alumni Big Band. Scott’s arrangements have been performed by such artists as vocalist Annie Sellick, and legendary saxophonist Phil Woods. Scott has also been commissioned to create arrangements for orchestra, choir, and high school all-state bands and has won two Downbeat awards for big band arrangement. Most recently he completed a “Chamber Jazz” project featuring a jazz influenced ensemble with a sampling of orchestral instruments complete with strings, woodwinds, french horn, and harp. Scott contributed original compositions to this project as well as arrangements of pieces by artists as varied as Hoagy Carmichael, Radiohead, and even Barry Manilow.Press release and Doc Severinsen’s Comments on the winners.
Deadline for Submissions: Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013; noon MT