Four Composers Recognized with Special Distinction: Harold Blumenfeld, Daniel James Chan, Arthur Gottschalk, and David Kechley

Roger Zare
New York, NY, January 12, 2009: The ASCAP Foundation is pleased to announce that Roger Zare has been named the recipient of The ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize. The Prize was awarded for Green Flash, a 9-minute work for orchestra. The work was selected from over 220 submissions. Zare receives a $5,000 cash prize.

Dr. Rudolf Nissim, former head of ASCAP's International Department and a devoted friend of contemporary composers, established this annual prize through a bequest to The ASCAP Foundation. The Prize is presented annually to an ASCAP concert composer for a work requiring a conductor that has not been performed professionally. A jury of conductors selects the winning score.

A native of Sarasota, Florida, Roger Zare is currently a master's candidate in the Peabody Conservatory where he is studying with Derek Bermel and Christopher Theofanidis. Zare has been commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra and the New York Youth Symphony. His works have been performed by the Florida West Coast Symphony, the Pine View Chamber Orchestra and Chorus, ensembles at the Sarasota Music Festival, the Santa Monica Symphony Wind Quintet, USC Thornton Symphony and Concert Orchestra, Peabody's Fourth Corner Wind Trio, and by the Starving Composers' Ensemble at USC. In addition to his concert music, Roger has scored and performed in two short student movies that were produced at USC.

Green Flash was performed by Donald Crockett conducting the USC Thornton Symphony as part of the 2007 annual New Music for Orchestra concert. The work was also selected by the American Composers Orchestra (ACO) for the 2008 Underwood Readings. As a result of the reading, Zare received The Underwood Commission from the ACO for a new work to be premiered during the 2009-2010 season at Carnegie Hall. A s the program notes describe it: "A green flash is a rare atmospheric phenomenon that occurs as a sunset reaches its end. If conditions are just right, then a spark of green will hover on the horizon for a fleeting moment as the sun disappears. Green Flash is a musical journey from daybreak to sunset. It focuses on the manipulation of colors and textures throughout its five sections."

The Nissim Jury also recognized the following composers for Special Distinction:
  • Harold Blumenfeld (St. Louis, MO) for Vers Sataniques, a 26-minute work for baritone, Mezzo colorature and orchestra with text by Baudelaire.
  • Daniel James Chan (Los Angeles, CA) for Generations: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, an 18-minute work.
  • Arthur Gottschalk (Houston, TX) for Requiem – For the Living, a 60-minute work for vocal soloists, SATB choir, and chamber orchestra.
  • David Kechley (Williamstown, MA) for Transformations, a 20-minute orchestral triptych.
The judges for this year's Nissim Prize were: Gisele Ben-Dor, Conductor Laureate of the Santa Barbara Symphony, and Conductor Emerita of the Boston Pro-Arte Chamber Orchestra; Emily Freeman Brown, Director of Orchestral Activities and Music Director of Opera at Bowling Green State University (OH); and Mark Mandarano, Artistic Director of the Sinfonietta of Riverdale (NY).

About The ASCAP Foundation
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 throughout the United States.


Pauline Stack