January 15, 2002


Two Composers Receive Special Distinction

ASCAP FoundationThe winner of the 22nd annual ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Award was announced today by Marilyn Bergman, President of The ASCAP Foundation. The Nissim Prize has been awarded to John C. Ross for After a Line by Theodore Roethke, a ten-minute work for soprano and orchestra, selected from among 245 submissions. Ross will receive a prize of $5,000. He is the head of Theory & Composition at Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas.

John C. Ross received a Bachelor of Music degree in Horn Performance from Covenant College on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee; a Master of Music in Composition from Florida State University; and a Ph.D. in Music Composition from the University of Iowa. Prior to his current position at Pittsburg State, Ross has taught at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, and at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. In addition to receiving grants from ASCAP and the John W. Work III Foundation, Ross was awarded a Fulbright grant to study with Philippe Manoury at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Lyon, France. He has been the recipient of several commissions and his music has been performed throughout the Midwest, at the University of Miami (as the winner of the Abraham Frost Prize in Composition), at the Society of Composers, Inc. National Forum, and in Paris and Fontainebleau, France (as winner of the Maurice Ravel Prize). Ross’s works are published by Cimarron Music in Dallas, Texas.

The Nissim Jury recognized two composers for Special Distinction: Laurence Bitensky, of Lancaster, KY for ... a perfect rest for orchestra (duration 12’) (http://web.centre.edu/bitensky), and Jonathan Leshnoff of Baltimore, MD for Seven Nightmares for full orchestra (duration 14 ‘) (http://www.towson.edu/music/theory).

The judges for this yearís Nissim Award were: Emily Freeman Brown, Music Director and Conductor of the Bowling Green Philharmonia and the Opera Theater at Bowling Green University (OH), and President-elect of the Conductors Guild; Paul Lustig Dunkel, Music Director of Westchester Philharmonic, and Co-Director of Music from The Copland House; and Mark Laycock, Associate Conductor of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, and Music Director of the Princeton Symphony Orchestra (NJ).

The Nissim Competition is funded by The ASCAP Foundation, through a bequest of the late Dr. Rudolf Nissim, former head of ASCAPís International Department. Nissim joined the ASCAP staff immediately after emigrating to the United States from Austria in 1940.

The Nissim competition is open to all ASCAP composer members with concert works requiring a conductor, that have not been professionally performed. To encourage the professional premiere of the prize-winning work, ASCAP makes supplementary funds available. For more than twenty-five years, The ASCAP Foundation has been dedicated to nurturing gifted composers, and preserving our musical legacy by serving the entire music community through a variety of educational, professional and humanitarian programs.