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ANNOUNCEMENT: 2020 Call for Scores Winners

We are thrilled to announce the results of our second annual Call for Scores!

Three outstanding works have been chosen: two composers received Honorable Mention, and one received First Prize.

We are grateful to have learned about many fantastic composers, and we look forward to diving further into their music. Many thanks to all who submitted work!

Many thanks also to our reviewing panel: Dr. Erica Neidlinger (DePaul University), Augusta Read Thomas (University of Chicago), and Catherine O’Shaughnessy (Chicago Fringe Opera).

Learn more about these three outstanding composers below.

We look forward to performing these works when large ensemble gatherings are again possible!

First Prize

phases of the moon by Stephanie Orlando

Stephanie describes her work: “phases of the moon finds inspiration in the natural patterns that happen all around us. Sonically and texturally I employed two patterns in the work: the fibonacci sequence and the harmonic series. The beginning of the work employs the fibonacci numbers as the rate of growth of the ensemble, while most of the harmonic material is derived from the acoustic scale, which resembles the eighth though 14th partials of the harmonic series. While both of these patterns are meticulously calculated, they work against the natural pattern of our breath– approximately three seconds inhale and three seconds exhale. This prompted me to think about other patterns that can influence our emotions and physical beings, such as the seasons, the weather, or as some people believe, the phases of the moon." Click here to listen!

Please click here to explore Stephanie's works, and read more about her below.

Stephanie Orlando (b.1993) is a composer based in Toronto. Her work has been performed by ensembles such as Femmeldoy Chamber Music Collective, Stereoscope Saxophone DuojunctQin Keyboard CollectiveThin Edge New Music CollectivePenderecki String Quartet, and the Arcady Singers. She has also collaborated with choreographers Kylie Thompson and Ming-Bo Lam, playwright Laureen Damarren, and visual artist Diane Eastham.

She is the 1st place recipient of the SOCAN Young Composer Pierre 

Mercure Award 2019, and runner up for the 2018 Creative Women at the end of the First World War Composition Competition for her work Scatterbrain for soprano and flute. She also held a residency with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada in the 2019 season supported by the SOCAN Foundation workshopping her piece phases of the moon for string orchestra.

Her catalogue contains works for standard ensembles to less common performing forces—orchestra, amplified pill bottles, and everything in between. Her current interests include mixed media composition, creative coding, and using technology in combination with classical instruments.

Her music engages with contemporary classical influences, while exploring them through the lens of her own inspiration. One of her current projects is a series of works that explore various types of mental health treatment. Through this long term project she seeks to create honest and vulnerable works and connect with listeners who see themselves in her work and feel represented in bringing such concepts to the concert stage.

Stephanie holds a Bachelor Degree in Music Composition from Wilfrid Laurier University, a Masters degree in Music in Composition from the University of Toronto, and an ARCT diploma in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition at the University of Toronto. She is an Associate Composer of the Canadian Music Centre and a board member of the Association of Canadian Women Composers (ACWC). Upcoming projects include a new work for Megan Thibeault for piano and electronics, and a new work for Duo D'Entre Deux for two tenor saxophones and electronics.

Honorable Mention

Sandia Reflections by Liza Sobel

"The breathtaking Albuquerque Sandia Mountain vistas and the exhilarating tramway ride I took up the mountains inspired Sandia Reflections. As my fellow passengers and I quickly ascended the mountains, we often abruptly stopped to allow trams coming from the opposite direction to pass us. I recreated my experiences on the tram by having the orchestra frequently rise from the lowest registers of the ensemble and then suddenly stop on one note. As the orchestra climbs higher and higher, eventually the excitement of nearly reaching the summit overtakes the pauses on certain notes.

Once I reached the pinnacle, I felt a profound calmness with an almost meditative attitude. My perspective altered, and everything I observed from the peak transformed. In some cases, the mundane became riveting, and the critical morphed into the unimportant. I depict this blissful feeling in my piece.

Although I savored my deeply calming summit experience, remarkably the tram ride was my favorite part of the experience. My experience fulfilled the proverb, 'It’s more about the journey than the destination.' " – Liza Sobel

Please click here to explore Liza's works, and read more about her below.

Liza Sobel’s compositions are often influenced by current social issues. Recent inspirations include anxiety and stress in today’s society, the negative impact of social media and its links to depression and suicide, sexual assault, neurodiversity, and other health issues, including the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Liza’s music has been performed in numerous worldwide venues, including at Carnegie Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, Symphony Space, Bang on a Can, the Aspen Music Festival, Eighth Blackbird's Creative Lab, Aldeburgh Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, the Young Composers Meeting in Apeldoorn, Brevard Music Institute, Bowdoin’s International Music Festival, and nief-norf Summer Festival. Performers that have played her music include: the Orchestra of St. Luke's, the Minnesota Orchestra, Ensemble Dal Niente, Spektral String Quartet, Cygnus Ensemble, Third Coast Percussion, Nouveau Classical Project, Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble, orkest de ereprijs, West Point Woodwind Quintet, and Joseph Lin, first violinist of the Juilliard String Quartet. Current commissions include: a chamber opera for the Zafa Collective (in which Liza will sing) and a new orchestral work for the New York Youth Symphony to be performed at Carnegie Hall.

Liza’s most recent piece, Reverse Forward, was commissioned by the Civic Orchestra of Chicago’s 100th anniversary virtual concert. The original concert was canceled as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and seven composers were commissioned to create new pieces both inspired by the pandemic and the Civic Orchestra’s originally scheduled performance of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5. Her Ticking Time Bomb was selected for the 2020 Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute.  Her Requiem won the American Prize in the choral division and was a finalist in the BMI Young Composers Award. Liza's orchestra piece Tocsin was a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers’ Award.  Liza was a Fulbright scholar to the UK.

Liza is a doctoral candidate in composition at Northwestern University.  She teaches a broad spectrum of music courses at Northwestern, including Music Theory, Aural Skills, History of the Symphony, Introduction to Music for non-majors, and Composition for non-majors. She previously studied at Rutgers University’s Mason Gross Conservatory (MA); Cornell University (BA with honors), and Manhattan School of Music.

Photo by David Adamcyk

Honorable Mention


by Zosha Di Castri

Composer's Note

Dedicated to Lorraine Vaillancourt and the musicians of the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne. In loving memory of my Baba, Irene Pawlowski (1930-2012).

~ phonotopography: sound-voice / place / writing.

This piece was first inspired Rirkrit Tiravanija’s giant print project, “Untitled 2008-2011

(the map of the land of feeling)”, which I saw at the MOMA in New York. These three

enormous scrolls, totalling 84 feet in length, involved an intricate overlapping of textures,

materials, fragments of maps and of archaeological sites, mazes, notebook pages, passports,

recipes, and drawings. The result is a complex semi-autobiographical, semi-abstract

cartography. To me these intricate eddies and flows brought to mind rich overlapping

musical textures and segments of a sort of extra-territorial “faux-folk” music. As a fan of

Italo Calvino, I thought back to how he once described wanting to write books that he

himself would like to have read, “the sort by an unknown writer, from another age and

another country, discovered in an attic”. This idea seemed to converge with my desire to

write something in memory of my late grandmother, Irene Pawlowski. I loved how she

would tell us stories about “the-old-country” or of life in Vilna, a small village in Alberta

settled by eastern Europeans. These tales were at once so real in my mind I could almost

convince myself I had personally experienced them, and yet were so foreign and from such a

different time that they were difficult to grasp. The resulting music is a re-imagining of

places and traditions I never fully knew, the sound of a fictitious culture one dreams up to

keep the memories of another generation alive.

Please click here to explore Zosha's work, and read more about her below.

Zosha Di Castri is a Canadian composer/pianist living in New York. Her work (which has been performed in Canada, the US, South America, Asia, and Europe) extends beyond purely concert music, including projects with electronics, sound arts, and collaborations with video and dance. She recently completed a commission titled Hunger for the Montreal Symphony Orchestra with improvised drummer, which is designed to accompany Peter Foldes’ 1973 silent film by the same name. She also wrote Long Is the Journey, Short Is the Memory for orchestra and chorus, that opened the first night of the BBC Proms, featuring the BBC Symphony, the BBC Singers, and conductor Karina Canellakis in July 2019 at Royal Albert Hall. Other large-scale projects include a 25-min piece for soprano, recorded narrator and orchestra entitled Dear Life (based on a short-story by Alice Munro), and an evening-length new music theatre piece, Phonobellow (co-written with David Adamcyk) for ICE with performances in New York and Montreal. Phonobellow features five musicians, a large kinetic sound sculpture, electronics, and video in a reflection on the influence of photography and phonography on human perception.

Her orchestral compositions have been commissioned by John Adams, the San Francisco Symphony, New World Symphony, Esprit Orchestra, the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, and the BBC, and have been featured by the Tokyo Symphony, Amazonas Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra among others. Zosha has made appearances with the Chicago Symphony, the L.A. Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players in their chamber music series and has worked with many leading new music groups including Talea Ensemble, Wet Ink, Ekmeles, Yarn/Wire, the NEM, Ensemble Cairn, and JACK Quartet. She was the recipient of the Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music for her work Cortège in 2012, and participated in Ircam’s Manifeste Festival in Paris, writing an interactive electronic work for Thomas Hauert’s dance company, ZOO.

Other recent projects include a string quartet for the Banff International String Quartet Competition, a piece for Yarn/Wire for two pianists, two percussionists and electronics premiered at her Miller Theatre portrait concert, a solo piano work for Julia Den Boer commissioned by the Yvar Mikhashoff Trust Fund, a piano/violin duo with Jenny Koh, and a string octet premiered by JACK Quartet and Parker Quartet at the Banff Centre. Upcoming projects include a Koussevitzky commission from the Library of Congress for percussionist Steve Schick and ICE and a commission for the Grossman Ensemble in Chicago.

Zosha completed her bachelors of music in piano performance and composition at McGill University, and has a doctorate from Columbia University in composition. She is currently the Francis Goelet Assistant Professor of Music at Columbia, and just finished a year-long fellowship at the Institute for Ideas and Imagination in Paris. Her debut album, Tachitipo, released November 2019 to critical acclaim, can be found on New Focus Recordings.

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