Congratulations to the TWO winners of the 2015 Cincinnati Camerata Composition Contest!
“Qui Creavit Caelum”
“How to Survive Vesuvius”
After noting the high quality of work we’ve received from all corners of the globe, the jury this year decided that we needed to award not only the winning $500 prize, but also a second prize of $250. We are so encouraged to see a constant increase in the creative submissions each year that plans are underway to make this expansion of the contest permanent!
First Prize: Cristopher Artley
Chris Artley was born in 1963 in Leeds, England and studied Music at Bristol and Auckland Universities respectively. He has spent 30 years teaching music in schools in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, where he is now resident and teaches at King’s College, Auckland. Chris has a classical piano background but has always enjoyed improvising and playing jazz. He also sings baritone in the Graduate Choir of New Zealand.
Chris is one of New Zealand’s leading choral composers and his works have received worldwide attention from performers including, The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir and Orchestra, Graduate Choir of NZ, Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, Amadeus Choir of Toronto, Lutheran Youth Choir of North America, Metropolitan Chorus of Tokyo, National University of Singapore Choir and Age of Discovery, Auckland.
Chris has won several international composing competitions and had numerous choral pieces published by Helbling Verlag in Austria and Pana Musica in Japan. He is also a fully registered composer with SOUNZ. Chris is delighted to be Composer in Residence for the New Zealand Choral Federation’s triennial conference, Sing Aotearoa, in October 2016.
Other accolades for Mr. Artley’s works:
- March 2013: First equal in Australian and New Zealand Viola Society Composition for two or more Violas, with ‘Ah Waiheke’
- Nov 2011: Winner of Amadeus Choir of Toronto’s 2011 Seasonal Song-Writing competition, Adult Amateur SATB Accompanied category, with ‘The Ashwell Carol’
- May 2013: Winner of Lutheran Youth Choir of North America 2013 International Choral Composition Contest, with ’The Lord is my Shepherd’
- May 2013: Winner of European Choral Association competition in the frame of Youth Choirs in Movement, with ‘The Mock Turtle’s Song’
- May 2014: Joint Winner of Recital Music Sixty-Second Song Competition in United Kingdom, with ‘Houses of Dreams’
- June 2014: Winner of XIIth International Composers Competition Jihlava 2014 in Czech Republic, with ‘Cantate Domino’
- August 2015: 3rd Prize winner in 1st International Japanese Choral Composition Competition, with ‘Agnus Dei’
To read more about Mr. Artley and hear more samples of his works, visit his page on the SOUNZ website.
While the work is SATB, here it is sung in all voices by American tenor Matthew Curtis, whose other works can be found on SoundCloud here (username: @choraltracks)
We asked Cristopher to relay some information about his winning composition, “Qui Creavit Caelum”. This is what he shared:
Finding an inspiring text is always an important starting for me. I have written a number of choral pieces in Latin and was immediately taken with the text in Qui Creavit Caelum. The natural rhythm and flow of the words, together with their medieval origins, suggested a lilting modal melody.
I experimented with different harmonisations of the melody so that each verse would have its own character. I was also keen to explore different textures, ranging from traditional homophonic, polyphonic, call and response, through to more contemporary effects, such as the layered voice effects in verse 3.
I have written a number of similar choral works such as O Magnum Mysterium, Ave Maria and Agnus Dei, which utilize traditional choral writing, infused with hints of jazz.
You can also hear Christoper discuss his competition win and other works further in this recent interview with Radio New Zealand:
Second Prize: Matthew Recio
This isn’t the first success Matthew has seen with his 2015 Camerata Composition Contest Second Prize winning choral work, “How to Survive Vesuvius”! The work will be showcased at the 2016 ACDA convention in Boston this February in a masterclass with Pulitzer prize winner Steven Stucky and vocal ensemble C4. “Vesuvius” was also the first prize winner of the 2015 NOTUS choral composition competition and will have a performance of the work in March 2016 by NOTUS under the direction of Dominick DiOrio.
Other accolades for Mr. Recio:
- One of three finalists in Michael Kerschner’s Young New Yorker’s Choral composition competition and will have a new work premiered with the ensemble June of 2016.
- Three consecutive years of recognition by the Smadbeck Dean’s Prize Competition at Ithaca College.
- Featured collaborator for the Double Exposure Live Film Scoring Initiative in 2015 and 2016.
- Winner of the 2015 IMTA Opus young artist composition competition
- Winner of the 2015 Quartet Nouveau composition competition (resident ensemble of the California Chamber Orchestra.)
- Composition Fellow at the 2015 Valencia International Performing Arts program of Spain where his clarinet piece, “Sea Calls,” was performed by Ausiás Morant (Bass Clarinetist of the BBC Orchestra.)
Here are some of the insights Matthew shared regarding his Second Prize winning work, “How to Survive Vesuvius”:
For the past nine years I have worked with writer and dear friend, Jenna Lanzaro, on all of my vocal and choral works. When I started this commission I wanted to create a work that would combine rhythm, melody and harmony in a way that would sparkle with energy. Her and I both backpacked through Italy a few years ago and one place that has stood out in both of our memories is Pompeii. When I went through the city and saw Vesuvius there was a haunting sensation that overcame me because I saw people frozen in their states from when the ash and lava enveloped the city. The idea behind the poem is that people are doing mundane activities such as eating dinner while they watch this tragedy around them with nowhere to turn. This concept is relevant to us today with the many hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis and blizzards that occur. Nature will always be a prevalent force in our lives and this work explores that natural element.
The opening motive “You are eating dinner with the tumult” is a cell that germinates into an overwhelming force. I overlaid this unison motive in all the voice parts with whispering to create an androgynous sound. I wanted the opening motive to represent lava gradually enveloping this person’s world around them. I used the voices canonically so that it would feel like these warning calls were approaching the listener from all different angles. The haunting harmonies and melodies gradually unfold into a complex cacophonous climax and conclude with that opening material from which the piece is generated.
I generally write music based on my own experiences or perceptions of the world which is how this piece came into fruition. I am especially thankful to have a friend that writes such evocative and poignant text. This is actually my second piece about Vesuvius. Five years ago, I wrote a piece for trumpet and piano called Italian Visions that explores the different cities that I visited. One of the movements I entitled Pompeii which is of a completely different aesthetic than How to Survive Vesuvius. I tend to write a lot of pieces on natural phenomena and this piece explores a trip that I remember so vividly.