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2022 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Awards Announced

ASCAP Foundation Logo with Morton Gould Awards header

The ASCAP Foundation has announced the 23 recipients of its 2022 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards as well as 15 additional composers who received honorable mentions. The awards, which encourage talented young creators of concert music ranging in age from 13 to 30, are selected through a juried national competition. These composers may be American citizens, permanent residents or students possessing U.S. student visas. The 38 compositions of the composers recognized in 2022 were among the more than 500 scores that were seen by this year’s judges (who are all ASCAP-member composers): Svjetlana Bukvich, Daniel Felsenfeld, Yotam Haber, Felipe Lara, Fang Man, Jessica Mays, Shawn Okpebholo, and Jorge Sosa.

Below is a complete alphabetical list of the 2022 Morton Gould Young Composer Award recipients and their award-winning works (with links to audio recordings of them and additional information where available):

Benjamin Thoreau Baker (b. 1998 in Pleasant Plain, OH; currently based in Kansas City, MO): Primordial (2019) for saxophone and live electronics [ca. 9′];

Alex Berko (b. 1995 in Cleveland, OH; currently based in Houston, TX): Oh Me! Oh Life! (2021) for unaccompanied chorus [ca. 11′];

Paul Berlinsky (b. 1994 in Miami Beach, FL; currently based in Kansas City, MO): Book of Birds (2021) for flute and electronics [ca. 27′];

Anuj Bhutani (b. 1993 in Houston, TX; current based in Austin, TX): On Letting Go (2020-21) for solo cello and live electronics [ca. 16′];

Aiyana Braun (b. 1997 in Ardmore, PA; currently based in Philadelphia, PA): Refractions (2019 rev. 2022) for orchestra [ca. 6′];

Cao Shengnan (b. 1992 in Beijing, China; currently based in Kansas City, MO): Fantasia Nirvana (2021) for full orchestra [ca. 11′];

Bryn Davis (b. 1992 in Richmond, VA; currently based in St. Paul, MN):
☞︎□︎❒︎ ❄︎□︎❍︎ 👍︎◆︎❒︎❒︎⍓︎ (2019) for tuba septet [ca. 10′];

Baldwin Giang (b. 1992 in Malvern, PA; currently based in Chicago, IL): roses (2021) for sinfonietta [ca. 15′];

Soomin Kim (b. 1995 in Uijeongbu, South Korea; currently based in Minneapolis, MN): star / ghost / mouth /sea (2021) for full orchestra [ca. 9′];

Joel Kirk (b. 1996 in Manchester, United Kingdom; currently based in Buffalo, NY): update status, always (2021) for solo violin [ca. 7′];

Cheng Jin Koh (b. 1996 in Singapore; currently based in New York, NY): Luciola singapura (Singapore Firefly) (2021) for sinfonietta with blended yang qin [ca. 6′];

Sam Kohler (b. 1996 in Eugene, OR; currently based in New Orleans, LA): sun-splash color-room (2021) for flute, clarinet, violin, piano, and percussion [ca. 10′];

Daniel Leibovic (b. 1995 in Richmond, VA; currently based in Houston, TX): Padamu Jua (2020) for 16 voices and small gongs [ca. 9′];

Maxwell Lu (b. 2002 in Dayton, MD; currently based in New York, NY): shatter (2021) for full orchestra [ca. 6′];

JP Merz (b. 1992 in Janesville, WI; currently based in Los Angeles, CA): gun, fire (2021) for full orchestra [ca. 15′];

Celka Ojakangas (b. 1992 in Springfield, MO; currently based in Pasadena, CA): Bantam Winds (2021) for oboe, bass clarinet, and French horn [ca. 10′];

Siddharth Pant (b. 2004 in California): Dodecahedron (2021) for string quartet [ca. 5′];

Marco-Adrián Ramos Rodríguez (b. 1995 in Betonville, AR; currently based in New Haven, CT): Five O’Hara Songs (2020) for soprano and piano [ca. 13′];

Lucy Shirley (b. 1997 in Indianapolis, IN; currently based in Kansas City, MO): Stretch Marks (2021) for soprano voice, clarinet, and piano [ca. 7′];

Sage Shurman (b. 2005; based in Los Angeles, CA): what’s left behind (2021) for string orchestra [ca. 9′];

Tian Songfeng (b. Daqing City, Heilongjiang Province, China; currently based in Kansas City, MO): Winter Solstice for string quartet [ca. 6′];

Meilina Tsui (b. 1993 in Almaty, Kazakhstan; currently based in Orlando, FL) Nomadic Trails (2021) for chamber orchestra [ca. 14′];

Casey Weisman (b. California): Beasts of the Seven Seas for full orchestra and instruments from Asia and Africa [ca. 15′].

Baldwin Giang was further recognized by the panel with the 2022 Leo Kaplan Award, created in memory of the distinguished attorney who served as ASCAP Special Distribution Advisor. The award is funded by the Kaplan Family.

Below is a list of the additional composers who received Honorable Mention and their works:

Orkun Akyol (b. 1992 in Istanbul, Türkiye; current based in Davis, CA): uneasy in my easy chair (2021) for oboe, harp, percussion and electronics [ca. 6′];

KiMani Bridges (b. 2002 in Louisville, KY; currently based in Bloomington, IN): Healer (2021) for 2 voices, spoons, and cardboard box [ca. 6′];

Victor Cui (b. 1998 in Beijing, China; currently based in Baltimore, MD): Onyx is the Color during the Silence of Järvenpää for flute and electronics [ca. 10′];

Matthieu Foresi (b. 2005 in Geneva, Switzerland; currently based in Washington): The Monster in the Closet (2019) for full orchestra [ca. 6′];

Aidan Gold (b. 1997 in Seattle, WA; currently based in New York, NY): Ripple the Ocean of Eyes (2022) for full orchestra [ca. 15′];

Camilo Gonzalez-Sol (b. 1999 in Takoma Park, MD; currently based in Austin, TX): Four Brainscapes (2021) for fixed media in stereo [ca. 9′];

Liu Yizhang (b. 1995 in Hunan, China; currently based in Kansas City, MO): Phanstasmal (2021) for string quartet [ca. 5′];

Chuyi Luo (from New York): In The Conversation… for full orchestra [ca. 6′];

Quinn Mason (b. 1996; based in Dallas, TX): Symphony No. 4 ‘Strange Time’ (2019-21) for expanded wind ensemble [ca. 20′];

Jordan Millar (b. 2006; based in New York City): Masquerade (2021) for flute, violin, viola, and classical guitar [ca. 7′];

Chris Neiner (b. 1994 in Burnsville, MN; currently based in Cleveland Heights, OH): Many Universes (2019) for chamber orchestra [ca. 14′];

Luca Pasquini (b. 2004; based in Denver, CO): Where am I in the Sublime? for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano, and percussion [ca. 7′];

Grant Shueh (from New Jersey): Arrival for string quartet [ca. 6′];

Eunike Tanzil (b. 1998 in Medan, Indonesia; currently based in New York, NY): Veni Vidi Vici (2020) for clarinet and orchestra [ca. 8′];

Isabelle Tseng (from Florida): Ringlorn for violin and cello [ca. 10′].

Established as The ASCAP Foundation Young Composer Awards in 1979 with funding from The ASCAP Foundation Jack and Amy Norworth Fund, the program was dedicated to Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Morton Gould’s memory following his death in 1996 to honor his lifelong commitment to encouraging young creators. A child prodigy himself, Gould’s first composition was published by G. Schirmer when he was only six years of age. Gould served as President of ASCAP and The ASCAP Foundation from 1986 to 1994. Founded in 1975, The ASCAP Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting American music creators and encouraging their development through music education and talent development programs. Included in these are songwriting workshops, grants, scholarships, awards, recognition and community outreach programs, and public service projects for senior composers and lyricists. The ASCAP Foundation is supported by contributions from ASCAP members and from music lovers around the world.

Photos of all the winners and honorable mentions in the 2022 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards

Celebrating New Music Awards Week

It has been a week of non-stop new music-related celebrations in New York City this week. Fresh from our own NewMusicBox LIVE and New Music USA Benefit Evening (thanks again to everyone who joined us), we now have time to report on some of the other highlights.

The top half of a BMI Student Composer Award plaque

On Monday, May 18, the BMI Foundation in collaboration with Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) announced the winners of the 63rd annual BMI Student Composer Awards. The awards were presented by BMI President Mike O’Neill, BMI Foundation President Deirdre Chadwick, and composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (who serves as the permanent chair of the Student Composer Awards) in a private ceremony at the JW Marriott Essex House Hotel, a lavish Art Deco space facing Central Park that was built in 1931. There were a total of nine awardees who received scholarship grants to be applied toward their musical education totaling $20,000. There were also two honorable mentions, which has happened rarely in the history of these awards.

Mike O’Neill standa at a podium as Ellen Taaffe Zwilich and Deirdre Chadwick sit to his left.

BMI President Mike O’Neill (right) welcomes attendees as composer Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (left) and BMI Foundation President Deirdre Chadwick prepare to announce the award winners.

Two composers—Max Michael Grafe and Daniel Silliman—tied for the William Schuman Prize, which is awarded to the most outstanding score among the submissions. Grafe and Silliman chatted with us and each other about sharing this honor.

(Later in the week, Silliman’s award-winning work, strain for cello and orchestra, received an ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award and Grafe received a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. More on those award ceremonies below.)

More than 700 online applications were submitted to the competition from student composers throughout the Western Hemisphere in 2015. One of the 2015 winners, Tonia Ko, described her steadfastness in applying for this highly competitive prize. She told us that she has been submitting scores for ten consecutive years; it finally paid off.

Another awardee, Joseph Meland, described the genre-defying piece he submitted that fetched a prize, a composition for chamber orchestra and rock band; Meland feels equally comfortable in both idioms.

The jury members for the 2015 competition were Matthias Pintscher, José Serebrier, Joan Tower, and Barbara White. Alexandra du Bois, Hannah Lash, David Leisner, and Sean Shepherd served as preliminary judges. Below is a list of all the 2015 BMI Student Composer Awardees and their award-winning compositions.

Matthew Aaron Browne (b. 1988): Barnstorming Season for symphony orchestra
Max Michael Grafe (b. 1988): Kheir for clarinet and sinfonietta
Tonia Ko (b. 1988): Blue Skin of the Sea for solo marimba
Thomas Kotcheff (b. 1988): that in shadow or moonlight rises for mixed octet
Joseph Meland (b. 1993): FAUVE for chamber orchestra and rock band
Avik Sarkar (b. 2001): Mirror for chamber symphony
Daniel Silliman (b. 1993): strain for cello and orchestra
Patricia Wallinga (b. 1994): Dreams in War Time for tenor voice and piano
Benjamin P. Wenzelberg (b. 2000): Maelström for orchestra

Sarkar additionally received the Carlos Surinach Prize, an annual award given to the youngest winner in the competition. Imágenes de Guanajuato, a composition for cello and guitar by Luis M. Ruelas Romo, a 23-year-old student at New England Conservatory, and Prelude and Tricotee for violin and piano by Lauren Vandervelden, a 15-year-old private music student in Boise, Idaho, received honorable mention. (Sarkar and Vandervelden’s pieces also received Honorable Mention in the 2015 Morton Gould Awards.)


As they have done annually since 1942, academicians and award recipients sit on the stage of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Auditorium awaiting the commencement of the Ceremonial.

As they have done annually since 1942, academicians and award recipients sit on the stage of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Auditorium awaiting the commencement of the Ceremonial.

On Wednesday, May 20, the American Academy of Arts and Letters held its Ceremonial in the 730-seat auditorium of the second of the three landmarked Beaux Arts buildings it owns in northern Manhattan. An annual tradition since 1942 (the very first ceremonial took place in 1941 on the main stage of Carnegie Hall but it has taken place in their own 156th Street space since the year following), the event is one of the few times in American cultural life that visual artists, poets, novelists, and composers share a stage to honor achievements in a broad range of disciplines. And the reception following the Ceremonial, which—when it’s not raining, and sometimes even when it is (luckily for once it wasn’t!)—is one of the great spring parties in New York City, was a great opportunity for people across disciplines and generations to connect with one another.

The official seal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters

The coming together of these disparate artistic practices felt even more meaningful during this year’s event because several of the awards in one discipline were announced by practitioners of other disciplines; this was perhaps most poignant when composer John Harbison presented a Gold Medal, the Academy’s highest honor, to poet Louise Glück, whose verse he has set to music three times thus far–in one of the movements of his Symphony No. 5 for soprano, baritone, and orchestra (2007), The Seven Ages for mezzo-soprano and Pierrot sextet (2008), and most recently in his 2013 composition Crossroads for soprano, oboe, and strings. Composer Yehudi Wyner, who is the academy’s current president, described how difficult it has been to build bridges between the artistic disciplines but stated that it is something the academy has been steadfast in its efforts to do.

Although most of the awards that were given out during the course of the Ceremonial have already been announced, it still feels like a complete surprise to Scott Johnson, who received one of this year’s two Goddard Lieberson Fellowships in Music. He even wore a tie for the occasion!

It is certainly far from anti-climactic for the winners to share the stage with their counterparts in other fields as well as with many of the 250 celebrated composers, writers, and visual artists who comprise the academy’s membership, as composer/pianist Billy Childs, one of four winners of a 2015 Arts and Letters Award in Music, told us:

Another one of the winners, Erin Gee, one of two 2015 recipients of the Charles Ives Fellowship, described how being amidst people involved in so many different kinds of creative endeavors is really inspirational:

Although Emily Cooley, one of six Charles Ives Scholarship recipients, was disappointed that two of her favorite authors, who are members of the academy, were unable to attend this year and so she did not have a chance to meet them:

These awards, however, are much more than an opportunity to hob-nob with luminaries. They also offer important financial support to emerging artists for whom finding a balance between creative work and economic sustenance is frequently a challenge, as Alex Mincek, recipient of the Benjamin H. Danks Award in Music, pointed out:

But aside from how valuable these awards are to emerging and mid-career composers, writers, and visual artists, both in terms of offering peer validation and significant monetary support, they are a rare opportunity to honor achievements from practitioners from many different generations. The academy’s most significant award for an éminence grise, the Gold Medal, two of which are given each year to people who have already been inducted among the 250 Academicians as an honorific, is one of the ways that the academy attempts to establish a continuity between emerging and established creators. In addition to awarding Louise Glück the Gold Medal for Poetry, the academy awarded a Gold Medal in Music to composer George Crumb, who at 85 remains a vital force. Even though he has already received so many important accolades throughout his illustrious career, Crumb seemed genuinely exuberant in response to the academy’s recognition:


The stage of Merkin Concert Hall with a screen projecting "2015 ASCAP Concert Music Awards" and some people in the audience.

The stage is set for the opening of the 2015 ASCAP Concert Music Awards at Merkin Concert Hall.

Finally, ASCAP presented its 16th annual Concert Music Awards on the stage of Merkin Concert Hall on Thursday, May 21. The centerpiece of the ceremony was the formal presentation—by composers Charles Fussell, James Matheson, Lisa Bielewa, and Paul Moravec along with ASCAP’s Cia Toscanini and Michael Spudic—of the 2015 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards which were announced in March (and can be found here). Brief excerpts from recordings of award-winning pieces by each of the composers who were present were played.

We spoke with several of the composers who were in attendance about their award-winning compositions. Scott Lee from Durham, North Carolina, and Paris Lavidis from New York City, described their very different approaches—Lee, in his Bottom Heavy for small ensemble, incorporates hip-hop grooves and other popular music elements whereas Lavidis explores extended techniques in what he describes as a “semi-tonal realm” in his String Quartet No. 2:

Anahita Abbasi, who was born in Iran and is now based in San Diego, described the structure of her composition Distorted Attitudes II/Labyrinth for flute (doubling on piccolo and bass flute), soprano saxophone, bassoon, two violins, cello, and doublebass:

Composer, singer-songwriter, and classical and jazz pianist Gabriel Zucker described spending more than a year creating Evergreen, an evening-length work which he also just recorded for future release:

After opening remarks from the afternoon’s master of ceremonies, composer, conductor and radio broadcast journalist Bill McGlaughlin, ASCAP’s new CEO Elizabeth Matthews, and John Titta, ASCAP’s executive vice president of creative services, composer Alex Shapiro presented J. P. Redmond with the Charlotte V. Bergen Scholarship, which has been awarded annually since 2006 to the top ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer age 18 or under. Redmond then went over to the piano to play the third movement of the work for which he received the award, Northeastern Sonata.

James Kendrick, president of Schott/European American Music, presented Brian Heim with this year’s Leo Kaplan Award, which has been given annually since 1995 to the composer of the score judged “most outstanding” in ASCAP’s Young Composer Awards. Heim’s award-winning piece, Two Portraits After Moby Dick, was inspired by the classic Herman Melville novel as he explained to us:

In addition to all of the awards presented to the emerging composers, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME), now in their 10th anniversary season, was honored by composer and former Manhattan School of Music President Robert Sirota for “the virtuosity, passion, and commitment with which they perform and champion American composers.” Composer Timo Andres joined four of the members of ACME—Ben Russell and Caroline Shaw (violins), Caleb Burhans (viola), and ACME’s artistic director Clarice Jensen (cello)—for a performance of Andres’s Piano Quintet, another one of the Morton Gould award-winning pieces. We spoke briefly with cellist Jensen outside Merkin Hall:

Finally, Julia Wolfe was honored by retired ASCAP Vice President for Concert Music and current ASCAP consultant Frances Richard for being awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music as well as the 2015 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts. Wolfe spoke with us briefly about how much she enjoys sharing the stage with all these young composers:

Mark Lanz Weiser Receives Nissim Prize

Mark Lanz Weiser

Mark Lanz Weiser has been named the recipient of the 35th annual ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize. The prize was awarded for his Symphony No. 2 (Sinfonia Magalhães), a 30-minute work for orchestra which was selected from among 160 entries by a panel of conductors. The $5,000 prize is presented annually to an ASCAP concert composer for a work requiring a conductor that has not been performed professionally.

Weiser, a Los Angeles-based composer, has composed three operas, numerous songs and song cycles, and works for voice and orchestra.  His music can also be heard in a number of commercial and independent films.

His Symphony No. 2, subtitled Sinfonia Magalhães (Magellan Symphony), is a musical impression of the first circumnavigation of the globe led by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in 1519. Sailing for Charles the First of Spain, Magellan was tasked with finding a westerly route to the Spice Islands. The voyage led to the discovery of the straits in the southern tip of South America, and the first crossing of the Pacific Ocean. Magellan personally would not return to Spain, as he was killed in a battle with Prince Lapu Lapu in the Philippines. The last remaining ship, The Victoria, led by Juan Sebastián Elcano, would return to Seville almost three years after the day of the fleet’s departure. The symphony is in seven connecting sections: Departure, Easter Mutiny, The Strait, Pacific Crossing, Lapu Lapu and the Death of Magellan, The Victoria, and Return.

Jeremy Podgursky

The jury also awarded Special Distinction to Jeremy Podgursky of Bloomington, Indiana for As a Spell, Against Falling Objects (or How I Learned to Love Gravity), a 16-minute work for sinfonietta.

The Nissim Prize honors the memory of Dr. Rudolf Nissim and his dedication to ASCAP’s concert composers by hosting this competition. Nissim, former head of ASCAP’s International Department, established the prize through a bequest to the ASCAP Foundation.

The judges for this year’s Nissim Prize were: George Manahan, music director of the American Composers Orchestra and the Portland Opera, and director of orchestral activities at the Manhattan School of Music; Ryan McAdams, whose upcoming conducting engagements include Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Wordless Music Orchestra, Santa Fe Symphony, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Vancouver Symphony, ECCE Ensemble, and Talea Ensemble; and Diane Wittry, music director of the Allentown Symphony (PA), artistic director and conductor of the Ridgewood Symphony (NJ),  artistic director (USA) for the International Cultural Exchange Program for Classical Musicians through the Sarajevo Philharmonic (Bosnia), and artistic director for Pizazz Music and the Pizzaz Symphony Orchestra.

(–from the press release)

27 Orchestras Honored with 2013-14 ASCAP Awards For Adventurous Programming

Albany Symphony. David Alan Miller, music director

Albany Symphony. David Alan Miller, music director

Twenty-seven American orchestras will be recognized with 2013-14 ASCAP Awards for Adventurous Programming at the League of American Orchestras’ national conference currently underway in Seattle.
ASCAP and the League present the awards each year to orchestras of all sizes for programs that challenge the audience, build the repertoire, and increase interest in the music of our time. Approximately $750,000 has been bestowed on orchestras since the awards were established in 1947.

Below is a complete list of this year’s winners:
John S. Edwards Award for Strongest Commitment to New American Music ($3,000)
Albany Symphony—David Alan Miller, Music Director
Morton Gould Award for Innovative Programming ($3,000)
Los Angeles Philharmonic—Gustavo Dudamel, Music Director
Award for American Programming on Foreign Tours
San Francisco Symphony—Michael Tilson Thomas, Music Director
ASCAP Awards for Programming of Contemporary Music
Group 1 Orchestras
First Place: Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra—Kyu-Young Kim, Senior Director of Artistic Planning; Patrick Castillo, former Senior Director of Artistic Planning
Second Place: St. Louis Symphony—David Robertson, Music Director
Third Place: Seattle Symphony Orchestra—Ludovic Morlot, Music Director
Group 2 Orchestras
First Place: Alabama Symphony Orchestra
Second Place: Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra—JoAnn Falletta, Music Director
Third Place: New Jersey Symphony Orchestra—Jacques Lacombe, Music Director

Group 3/4 Orchestras
First Place: Spokane Symphony—Eckart Preu, Music Director
Second Place: New Haven Symphony Orchestra—William Boughton, Music Director
Third Place: Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra—Carlos Miguel Prieto, Adelaide Wisdom Benjamin Music Director and Principal Conductor
Group 5/6 Orchestras
First Place: American Composers Orchestra—George Manahan, Music Director; Derek Bermel, Artistic Director
Second Place: Berkeley Symphony—Joana Carneiro, Music Director
Third Place: San José Chamber Orchestra—Barbara Day Turner, Music Director/Conductor
Group 7/8 Orchestras
First Place: The Laredo Phil—Brendan Townsend, Music Director & Conductor
Second Place: Michigan Philharmonic—Nan Washburn, Music Director and Conductor
Third Place: Pioneer Valley Symphony—Paul Phillips, Music Director and Conductor
Collegiate Orchestras
First Place: Lamont Symphony Orchestra—Lawrence Golan, Music Director & Conductor
Second Place: Cornell Orchestras—Chris Younghoon Kim, Director of Orchestras
Third Place: Peabody Symphony, Concert, and Modern Orchestras—Hajime Teri Murai and Harlan Parker, music directors
Youth Orchestras
First Place: Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras—Allen Tinkham, Music Director
Second Place: New York Youth Symphony—Joshua Gersen, Music Director
Third Place: Orange County School of the Arts Symphony Orchestra—Christopher Russell, Music Director
First Place: Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music—Marin Alsop, Music Director
Second Place: Sewanee Summer Music Festival—Katherine Lehman, Director
Third Place: Aspen Music Festival and School—Robert Spano, Music Director

A complete repertoire list is posted here.

2014 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards Announced

Morton Gould

Morton Gould

Twenty-seven young composers have been selected from nearly 630 submissions to receive 2014 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. They will be recognized at the annual ASCAP Concert Music Awards at Merkin Concert Hall in New York on May 22, 2014.

The award-winning composers share prizes of more than $45,000 and receive complimentary copies of Sibelius software, donated by Avid.
To honor Morton Gould’s lifelong commitment to encouraging young creators, the annual ASCAP Foundation Young Composer program was dedicated to his memory following his death in 1996. The 2014 Morton Gould Young Composer Award recipients are listed below with their current residence and place of origin:

Katherine Balch of Boston, MA (San Diego, CA)
Matthew Browne of Ann Arbor, MI (Monument, CO)
Jason Thorpe Buchanan of Rochester, NY (San Mateo, CA)
Christopher Cerrone of Brooklyn, NY (Huntington, NY)
Alex Dowling of Princeton, NJ (Dublin, Ireland)
Cody W. Forrest of Brighton, MA (Guymon, OK)
Peng-Peng Gong of New York, NY (Nanjing, China)
Eric Guinivan of Harrisonburg, VA (Wilmington, DE)
Takuma Itoh of Honolulu, HI (Japan)
John Liberatore of Olean, NY (Auburn, NY)
Alexander Liebermann of New York, NY (Berlin, Germany)
Benjamin Morris of Coral Gables, FL (New York, NY)
Garth Neustadter of Pasadena, CA (Green Bay, WI)
Emma O’Halloran of Princeton, NJ (Ireland)
Brendon Randall-Myers of New Haven, CT (Northampton, MA)
Sarah Rimkus of Los Angeles, CA (Bainbridge Island, WA)
Daniel Schlosberg of New Haven, CT (Merion Station, PA)
Gabriella Smith of Princeton, NJ (Berkeley, CA)
The following composers received honorable mention:
Corey Cunningham of Austin, TX (Davenport, IA)
Michael-Thomas Foumai of Ann Arbor, MI (Honolulu, HI)
Benjamin Krause of Houston, TX (Carlsbad, CA)
Michael Kropf of Wilton, CT (Danbury, CT)
Wesley Levers of Evanston, IL (Boston, MA)
Geoffrey Sheil of College Park, MD (Dublin, Ireland)

The youngest ASCAP Foundation Young Composer Award recipients range in age from 10 to 17 and are listed by state of residence:
Graham Cohen age 15 (NJ)
Tengku Irfan age 15 (NY)
Rory Lipkis age 17 (PA)
Jonah M.K. Murphy age 14 (NY)
Shashaank Narayanan age 10 (NY)
J.P. Redmond age 14 (NY)
Karalyn Schubring age 15 (AZ)
Renata Vallecillo age 14 (AZ)
Benjamin P. Wenzelberg age 14 (NJ)
Honorable mention in the youngest category:
Rachel Kuznetsov age 13 (MA)
Michael D. Parsons age 17 (NJ)
Avik Sarkar age 13 (MA)
Rubin Zou age 11 (NH)

The ASCAP composer/judges were: Daniel Felsenfeld, Douglas Geers, David Lang, Lowell Liebermann, James Matheson, Tamar Muskal, Robert Paterson, and Melinda Wagner.

Established in 1979 with funding from the Jack and Amy Norworth Fund, The ASCAP Foundation Young Composer Awards program grants cash prizes to concert music composers up to 30 years of age whose works are selected through a juried national competition. These composers may be American citizens, permanent residents or students possessing US Student Visas.

(–from the press release)

Me, Myself, and My Publisher

Small change

Over the holiday break I took advantage of the days off to complete a few tasks that had been hanging over my head and which I really didn’t want following me into the New Year. First and foremost, I finally registered what is called in the state of Maryland a “trade name” (otherwise known as a DBA), and opened up a business checking account under that name. Why does this matter? Well, for almost a year I’ve had a respectably sized royalty check from ASCAP that I have not been able to cash because it’s made out to my publishing company. When one receives royalties from ASCAP, 50% goes to the individual (that’s me), and the other 50% goes to the “publisher” of the individual (composer John Mackey has a very good essay on this topic). As a self-published composer, the publisher is still me, but when you join ASCAP you have to declare a publishing name in order receive 100% of your royalties. So I receive one check made out to my name, and another check made out to my publisher name. The check made out to me is, needless to say, long gone, but the other check has been languishing on my desk, whispering, “cash me…please?”

You know what? It was so ridiculously easy to do this! I cannot even believe how long I’ve been putting it off. Composer Alex Shapiro has written about this process for NewMusicBox in the past, but there appear to be even fewer steps involved now than just a few years ago. Keep in mind that the actual forms and departments that one visits to register a DBA differ from state to state, so some preliminary research will be necessary (it did take a while to hunt down the proper form online). Once I had the very simple one-page form filled out, however, I went downtown to the Department of Assessment and Taxation (you can also do it by mail but it takes at least eight weeks), and was in and out the door in less than 30 minutes! From there I took my new trade name confirmation paper and that ASCAP check over to the bank, and opened up a business checking account right there. I was home in time for lunch.

In many ways, this has not changed life much at all—I have been running a business for years as an individual, using my social security number, filling out a Schedule C with my yearly taxes, and paying quarterly taxes, all of which will continue since this new “business” is a sole proprietorship, and will continue to have my social security number attached to it. The thing that has changed (besides having another ATM card to fit into my wallet) is that I finally have a way to keep my business money separate from my personal money. In the past it has all been thrown in the same bucket, and while I am quite organized about keeping track of what’s what, some of that burden has been lifted now that there is a new bucket. It will be much easier to keep track of business income and expenses, and make things clearer for the IRS as well. Plus, if the business grows, there are plenty of tools and resources available to help make expansion possible.

There are other business structures that one could choose in place of a sole proprietorship—one could incorporate, start an LLC, or for those interested in starting a non-profit organization, register a 501c3. Each has advantages and disadvantages, so it depends what your needs and goals are.

Composers and performers out there who own businesses—please do share what type, and any advice you might have for others!