November 16, 2009


Prizes include Cash Awards and New Song Commissions

Lotte Lehmann Foundation

Frances Richard, ASCAP Vice President and Director of Concert Music and Linn Maxwell, President of the Lotte Lehmann Foundation (LLF) have announced the winners of the third ASCAP/Lotte Lehmann Foundation Art Song Competition. The competition, named for legendary soprano Lotte Lehmann, was established to encourage and recognize gifted young composers who write for voice.

Commenting on the competition, Frances Richard said, "It is in the great tradition of ASCAP to encourage gifted young composers to set inspiring texts for voice. We are proud to join with the Lotte Lehmann Foundation in this exciting biannual commissioning program. The winning composers were selected through a rigorous juried competition open to composers under the age of thirty. We thank our dedicated judges, and congratulate the winners."

Linn Maxwell, mezzo-soprano and President of the Lotte Lehmann Foundation, said, "We are excited to welcome these talented young composers to the winners' podium. I am confident that their contributions will inspire singers to pursue excellence in the spirit of Lotte Lehmann, whose legacy we uphold and celebrate. Congratulations to each of them."

The First Prize ($3,500) has been awarded to Zhou Tian, age 27, of Los Angeles, CA. Zhou will receive a commission to write a song cycle for voice and piano to be published by E.C. Schirmer. The commissioned song cycle will be performed in three major American cities.

Second Prize ($1,000) was awarded to Eric Guinivan, age 25, of Los Angeles, CA, and Third Prize ($500) was awarded to Juhi Bansal, age 25, of Pasadena, CA. Both Second and Third Prize winners receive commissions to compose an art song for voice and piano.

The Damien Top Prize ($500) was awarded to Joni Greene, age 28, of Bloomington, IN. The Damien Top Prize is a commission to set a poem by Andrée Brunin to be premiered at the 2010 Albert Roussel International Festival in France.

The following composers received Honorable Mention: Aaron Alon, age 28, of Pearland, TX, Kris Becker, age 27, of Houston, TX, and Melissa Dunphy, age 29, of Philadelphia, PA.

The competition judges were composers Stephen Dembski, Daron Hagen, John Musto, and Larry Alan Smith.

Bios of the winning composers are included below.

World famous soprano Lotte Lehmann (1888-1976) was one of the great musical artists of the 20th Century. Lehmann's glorious, expressive voice and interpretive talent enthralled audiences with repertory ranging from opera to Lieder (classical German song). Lehmann fled her native Germany for the U.S. in 1938, and became an American citizen. After her singing career ended she continued to write books, give master-classes and helped found the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, CA. Her influence in the world of opera, art song and education was enormous.

About The Lotte Lehmann Foundation
Founded in 1998, The Lotte Lehmann Foundation is devoted to the preservation of the magnificent Lehmann artistic and teaching legacy, and to her commitment to educating the public to appreciate art song. Art song, (also called classical song, solo song, Lieder or mélodie) is music written for classically trained voice and piano, set to pre-existing poetry.

Zhou Tian

Zhou Tian

Zhou Tian is an award-winning young composer whose music has been performed by the Pittsburgh Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, St. Cloud Symphony, Curtis Symphony, Guangzhou Symphony, Arditti Quartet, and Tanglewood Festival Chorus. Zhou earned music degrees from both Curtis and Juilliard, is a first-prize winner of the Washington International Composers Competition, and a three-time winner of The ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award. Zhou's compositions have received multiple performances in prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center in New York, and the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. His CD "Symphonic Suite: The Grand Canal" was recorded by the Guangzhou Symphony and released by China's largest label Pacific Audio & Video. Recently Grammy Award-winning label Cedille Records released Zhou's work in "The Billy Collins Suite", a recording which was named Chicago Tribune's CD of the Week. Zhou's recent premieres include First Sight, commissioned and premiered by the Minnesota Orchestra under Sarah Hicks, and Blowing Westward, premiered by award-winning percussionist Pius Cheung at Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall. For more information, please visit

Eric Guinivan

Eric Guinivan

Eric Guinivan's music has been performed across the United States as well as in France, Japan, and Greece. His music has been performed by the Young People's Symphonic Orchestra of St. Louis, the Delaware Youth Symphony Orchestra, USC Thornton Symphony and Contemporary Music Ensemble, Ensembles at Indiana University and University of Southern California, and Quey Percussion Duet. Eric's music has received several awards and honors, including the 2008 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award, 2007 BMI Student Composer Award, and a nomination for Best Original Score in the 2005 New England College Film Festival. Guinivan has received commissions from New York Youth Symphony and the Delaware Youth Symphony Orchestra. His compositions for percussion are published by HoneyRock Percussion Publishers and are available through Steve Weiss Music.

Guinivan began studying percussion at age 10 and is an active performer currently based in Los Angeles. Currently the Principal Timpanist of the YMF Debut Orchestra and a founding member of the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, Guinivan has performed with the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic Orchestra, Bloomington Indiana Symphony Orchestra, Los Angeles Monday Evening Concerts, ensembles at Indiana University and University of Southern California, and at the 2005 and 2006 Midwest Composers Symposiums. In 2005 and 2006 Guinivan was awarded the Indiana University School of Music's Performer's Certificate for exceptional solo performance, becoming one of a select few undergraduates to twice receive the honor.

Active in Music Education, Guinivan is currently a Graduate Teaching Fellow at the University of Southern California where he teaches Music Theory and Aural Skills. Since beginning study at Indiana University in 2002, Guinivan has taught high school wind ensembles and percussion ensembles in Indiana and Delaware and has written and arranged music for several high school wind ensembles in Indiana, Delaware, and North Carolina. Guinivan has presented guest masterclasses and percussion clinics at venues such as Chapman University in Orange, California and at Sakuyo Kurashiki University in Okayama, Japan.

Born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, Guinivan received Bachelor of Music Degrees in Composition and Percussion Performance from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music and a Master of Music Degree in Composition from the University Of Southern California Thornton School of Music. Guinivan is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts Degree at USC where he currently studies Composition with Stephen Hartke. His past composition teachers include Donald Crockett, Claude Baker, P.Q. Phan, Don Freund, David Dzubay, and Tamar Diesendruck. Eric has studied percussion with Gerald Carlyss, Anthony Cirone, Steve Houghton, Richard Holmes, Jack Van Geem, and Craig Hetrick. For more information, please visit

Juhi Bansal

Juhi Bansal

Juhi Bansal, an Indian composer raised in Hong Kong, is currently working towards a doctorate in music composition at the University of Southern California, studying under Donald Crockett. Her previous teachers have included Erica Muhl, Frank Ticheli, Frederick Lesemann, and Stephen Hartke.

Her music, with its eclectic mix of ethnic and colouristic elements, is starting to gain international acclaim. Recent performances have included her Piano Trio (played by Pacific Music Festival orchestra academy members) at Kitara hall in Sapporo, Japan, and her flute and percussion trio, T'tuooll, at the SICPP New Music festival in Boston. Her music has also been performed by percussionist Scott Deal and vocalist Jenna Lyle, at Indiana University, Purdue, and Cleveland State University, respectively, as well as numerous performances in Los Angeles.

Recent commissions include a solo work for piano for Giorgi Latsabidze (while will be premiered in Europe in May 2009), and two multi-percussion solos for recitals at the University of Southern California. Recent awards and honours include 2009 and 2006 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, a fellowship to attend the Pacific Music Festival, the Peter David Faith Endowed Award in Composition from USC, and scholarships from USC. For more information, please visit

Joni Greene

Joni Greene

Joni Greene's music has been described as "pure," "colorful," and "melodic, using close-knit harmonies." Having spent the first 20 years of her life in Austin, Texas, Greene was exposed early to a community devoted to the arts. Many of her works draw from her deep passion to illustrate the simplicity and beauty of acoustic music.

Greene has had her works performed by VocalEssence, the Indiana University Concert Band, Indiana University Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, West Laurens High School Wind Ensemble, Pride of Indy Concert Band, European-American Musical Alliance summer workshop chorus, Indiana University Concert Orchestra, and the 2008 Indiana University summer music clinic. She has had her music performed at festivals and workshops including the Essentially Choral Reading Session, Middle Georgia Composers Exchange, Oregon Bach Festival, EAMA workshop, IU Choral workshop, The Ball State New Music Festival, CHASM New Music Festival at Florida State University, and the North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) Conference. Recent awards and commissions include the 2nd International Manhattan Beach Frank Ticheli Band Competition, VocalEssence Essentially Choral Readings, Indiana University Contemporary Vocal Ensemble Composition Competition, and The Middle Georgia Composers Exchange Commissioning Prize. Greene was also a finalist for the 2008 Sorel Medallion Choral Competition and recent honorable mention for the Forecast Music Composition Contest. Greene's music is published through Manhattan Beach Music and BRS. Music.

Greene is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree from Indiana University where she recently completed a Bachelor of Music in 2007. Her principal composition instructors include: Sven-David Sandström, Michael Gandolfi, Don Freund, Claude Baker, David Dzubay, Rafael Hernandez, and Kevin Puts. When she is not composing, Greene enjoys serving as clinician and composer-in-residence to middle school and high school bands. For more information, please visit

Aaron Alon

Aaron Alon

Aaron Alon's music has been performed around the world by such acclaimed musicians as Leone Buyse, Ian Davidson, Andrea Ceccomori, Catherine Branch, Mark Whatley, and new music groups Sounds New and the Vientos Trio. His works have been released on three CD labels and awarded numerous national and international composition honors, including those from the National Federation of Music Clubs; the National Association of Composers/USA; the Society of Composers, Inc.; ASCAP; Meet the Composer; the Renée B. Fisher Composer Awards; and Mu Phi Epsilon.

Alon is a member of ASCAP and a past chapter president of Mu Phi Epsilon. He is also highly active as a teacher. He is the composition department head for the American Festival for the Arts and an adjunct instructor of music at Alvin Community College. He has also taught for Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. Current projects include an opera with librettist Michael Remson, a musical with lyricist Joe Barnes, a new solo saxophone work commissioned by Dr. Jeffrey E. Vickers, and a cycle of songs written for bass David Keck.

Alon holds a DMA from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, an MM from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and a BA from the University of Chicago. His past teachers include Karim Al-Zand, Anthony Brandt, Shih-Hui Chen, Jean Milew, Marta Ptaszynska, and Orianna Webb. For more information, please visit

Kris Becker

Kris Becker

Kris Becker has appeared as concert pianist in venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre; on the radio in New York (WQXR) and Houston (KUHF); in concerto collaborations with the SAR Philharmonic, members of the Houston Symphony, and the Shepherd School Symphony; and at the Gilmore, PianoTexas (Cliburn Institute), Kent/Blossom Music, Adamant, and MasterWorks festivals. His competition success includes wins at the Yamaha Young Performing Artist, Lee Biennial International, International Chopin of Texas, Artist Presentation Society, and Shepherd School of Music Concerto competitions. Becker also maintains a career in jazz, rock, and spiritual music. He serves as pianist for Second Baptist Church of Houston, the United States' largest Christian denominational congregation, and plays keyboards for the critically acclaimed rock band The Literary Greats.

Becker's original music is receiving performances, both live and in the studio, by artists worldwide. Performances include Fort Worth, Chicago, Toronto, Vietri sul Mare, and New York. In 2009, Kris was a finalist in The ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Competition.

Pianist, composer, multi-genre keyboardist, and founder of Frozen Heat Records, Becker is a graduate with highest honors of the University of Illinois (B.Mus) and Rice University (M.Mus). For more information, please visit

Melissa Dunphy

Melissa Dunphy

Melissa Dunphy composes in a wide range of styles and mediums, particularly in the realm of theatre, having written incidental music for productions by Harrisburg Shakespeare Festival, Gamut Theatre and the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre. She conducted her large-scale choral work The Gonzales Cantata for the 2009 Philadelphia Fringe Festival, and received rave national press and reviews from the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Harper's Magazine, and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who featured the Cantata twice on The Rachel Maddow Show and called it "the coolest thing you will ever see on this show." Her song for baritone "Black Thunder" was premiered in 2008 at the Kimmel Center by Network for New Music and her electro-acoustic piece "Insects" was featured at the 2009 FEASt Festival in Florida.

Dunphy received her Bachelor of Music (summa cum laude, Pi Kappa Lambda) from West Chester University, where she was a recipient of the Harry Wilkinson Music Theory Scholarship, the Charles S. and Margherita Gangemi Memorial Scholarship for excellence in music theory and composition, and the Janice Weir Etshied '50 Scholarship for academic excellence. She is currently undertaking doctoral studies in composition at the University of Pennsylvania on a Benjamin Franklin Fellowship, and she is the composer-in-residence of the Immaculata Symphony Orchestra. For more information, please visit