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2011 Composition Competition Winner and Finalists

And the 2011 winner is…Christopher Culpo

Selected by ETHEL after an extensive review process, ClefWorks looks forward to bringing composer Christopher Culpo from Paris, France to Montgomery, Alabama for a date with ETHEL.  ETHEL will perform his winning score “Of Ground, of Air, or Ought”.

Christopher is both an active jazz composer and performer.  His prior awards include recognition from the New York State Council on the Arts, ASCAP and the French Ministry of Culture.  Christopher has degrees in composition from Boston University and The Julliard School. Following his studies at Julliard Christopher was personal assistant to Aaron Copland and an active Teaching Artist for the Lincoln Center Institute.  Since receiving a Fulbright scholarship to study in Paris in 1991, he has been based in Europe.

Recent activities as a performer have taken him to Belgium, South Africa, Italy, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand, and he has released three albums over the past five years: Portrait in Black & White with saxophonist Jean Charles Richard, Love & Bananas Are Here with the Culpo/Richard/Herbert Trio and the newly released Fresh Frozen with clarinetist/saxophonist Achille Succi and tubist Oren Marshall.

Bravo to these Finalists!

Second Place: that’s a new dog by Francis Kayali. Francis is a Franco-American composer currently living in the San Francisco Bay area.  Recent performances include his Astronomies of the Mind for symphony orchestra and Sheepless for trumpet and piano.  Kayali holds a DMA in composition from the University of Southern California.

Third Place: String Quartet #1 by Jonathan Russell.  Jonathan is a composer, clarinetist, conductor, and educator who is active in a wide variety of music, from classical to experimental to klezmer to church music.  Mr. Russell is a member of the heavy-metal-inspired Edmund Welles bass clarinet quartet, the Sqwonk bass clarinet duo, and the new music ensemble Hotel Elefant, and he has appeared as clarinetist with many other performing groups and ensembles.  He has served on the Music Theory Faculty at San Francisco Conservatory and on the Composition Faculty at the Conservatory’s Adult Extension and Preparatory Divisions, and he has led workshops in Composition and Bass Clarinet Performance around the country.   He has a BA in Music from Harvard University and an MM in Music Composition from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and he is currently a student in the Composition PhD program at Princeton University.

Fourth Place: Septendecim by Bradley Sowash.  Bradley is a creative pianist, multi-instrumentalist, recording artist, composer/arranger, collaborator, author and educator from Columbus, Ohio.  He has performed with such luminaries as The Cab Calloway Orchestra and The Mills Brothers, and he has garnered enthusiastic reviews in national publications such as The Village Voice and Billboard Magazine over a two-decade career as a soloist and bandleader.  His broadcast credits include National Public Radio and he has been a frequent guest on the PBS-TV series The Piano Guy for seven seasons.  His publications include several volumes of jazz hymn arrangements and educational jazz piano books, and he writes and arranges for ensembles of all sizes from string quartets to big bands and full orchestras.

Applause, please for Impressive Runners-up

Mountain Suite by Ezra Donner, Lumina by Daniel Valentine, Jackass by Ruben Naeff and Boker Or by Adam Starr.  For more on our Runners-up and their compositions, click here.