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Austin Peay State University announces winners of 25th annual Young Composer’s Competition

Austin Peay State UniversityClarksville, TN – The Austin Peay State University Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts recently announced the winners of its 25th Annual Young Composer’s Competition.

First prize was awarded to Ethan Greene, of Austin, Texas, for his “Dancing as may be Credible” for clarinet, cello and piano. Tonia Ko, of Bloomington, IN, earned second prize for her “Wanderer Moon” for voice and chamber ensemble, and Pierce Gradone, also of Austin, Texas, took home third-prize honors for his “Hearing Voices” for clarinet, violin, cello and piano.

The Austin Peay State University Young Composer’s Competition has been held annually since 1987. It became a national competition in 1993, and the APSU Department of Music and the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts have awarded prizes to composers from such prestigious musical institutions such as Peabody Conservatory of Music, Harvard University, Yale University, the Cleveland Institute, New York University, and the Eastman School of Music.

Its purpose is to encourage young composers by providing professional-level performances of their music as well as financial incentive and support. Those composers winning first prize are traditionally invited to the Austin Peay State University campus for the performance of their music, a vitally important facet of the competition.

This year’s first-place winner, Greene, grew up playing trumpet under the tutelage of Calvin Hughes – former sideman to Billie Holliday and Coleman Hawkins – at the Newark Community School of the Arts. He received his B.A. in music and pre-med studies from Amherst College in 2004, his masters in music composition from Rice University in 2009, and he is currently working toward his Doctor of Musical Arts in composition at the University of Texas at Austin. His work has been performed by the Houston Grand Opera, the East Coast Contemporary Ensemble, Juventas New Music, 20/21 New Music, the Shepherd School Chamber Orchestra, the Chicago Miniaturist Ensemble and by other ensembles in the U.S. and abroad.

Ko was born in Hong Kong and raised in Hawaii. Her music reflects and embraces her multicultural upbringing. She completed her undergraduate degree at the Eastman School of Music, and she is currently a master’s student at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. Ko has participated in festivals such as the Composers Conference at Wellesley College, Brevard Music Center and the UNL Chamber Music Institute. In 2009, she was awarded the Prix Interpretation at the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau.

Gradone is a composer of acoustic and electronic music for dance, film and concert performance. A graduate of Florida State University (B.M.) and the University of Texas at Austin (M.M.), his works have been performed across the country and abroad by the Line Upon Line Percussion, Concert Black, the University of Texas New Music Ensemble and various other ensembles and performers.

During his upcoming visit to APSU, first-prize winner Greene will interact with both undergraduate and graduate students in composition and theory, talking to classes and meeting with composition students.

The Annual Young Composer’s Competition is open to student composers who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States, enrolled in accredited public, private or parochial secondary schools, in accredited colleges or conservatories of music, or engaged in the private study of music with recognized and established teachers, and who are under the age of 30.

For more information, contact the APSU Department of Music at 931.221.7818.


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