ACF Names 2014 National Composition Contest Winner
American Composers Forum (ACF) has named Todd Lerew (CalArts) the winner of the 2014 National Composition Contest for his work, flagging entrainment of ultradian rhythms and the consequences thereof. As a reward, Lerew has been given a cash prize of $2,000 and his piece will be toured by So Percussion in future seasons. The piece was commissioned by ACF along with the works of two other competition finalists -- Michael Laurello (Yale School of Music) and Kristina Warren (University of Virginia) -- which were workshopped by So Percussion as part of the the group's Summer Institute at Princeton University and premiered on July 20.
Based in Los Angeles, Lerew (b. 1986) works with invented acoustic instruments, repurposed found objects, and unique preparations of traditional instruments. He is the inventor of the Quartz Cantabile, which uses a principle of thermoacoustics to convert heat into sound, and has presented the instrument at Stanford's CCRMA, the American Musical Instrument Society annual conference, the Guthman Musical Instrument Competition at Georgia Tech, and Machine Project in Los Angeles. He is the founder and curator of Telephone Music, a collaborative music and memory project based on the children's game of Telephone, the last round of which was released as an exclusive download to subscribers of music magazine The Wire. His solo piece for e-bowed gu zheng, entitled Lithic Fragments, is available on cassette on the Brunch Groupe label. His pieces have been performed by members of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, the Wet Ink Ensemble (New York), the Now Hear Ensemble (Santa Barbara), and the Canticum Ostrava choir (Czech Republic).
The National Composition Contest is open to composers currently enrolled in graduate and undergraduate institutions in the United States; this year's installment drew more than 250 applicants from 39 states. Each finalist received an award of $1,000 plus an additional stipend of $750 to help defray expenses associated with attending the workshop and studio performance.
"The Forum is thrilled with the opportunity to connect new voices with extraordinary ensembles like So Percussion," said John Nuechterlein, Forum president and CEO. "Similar to our previous collaborations with eighth blackbird and JACK Quartet, the discovery process is exhilarating for the performers and immensely rewarding for the selected composers. We were delighted that Todd, Michael and Kristina were able to network with so many composers and performers during the So Percussion Summer Institute"
Says Adam Sliwinski of So Percussion, "The American Composers Forum competition offered So Percussion a chance to reach out and find exciting young compositional talent. We expressly requested to judge blindly, and the three finalists all caught our ears in unique ways. There were so many excellent submissions. The ACF has established a wonderful precedent for a competition that is favorable for everybody involved, and we're ecstatic to get three new pieces out of it!"