January 13, 2014

Matthew Peterson Receives ASCAP Foundation Nissim Prize for Hyperborea

Stephen Feigenbaum, Justin Ralls, Michael Schachter and Mark Zanter Receive Special Distinction

matthew peterson

Matthew Peterson
Photo credit: Lotta Gustavsson

New York, NY, January 13, 2014: The ASCAP Foundation President, Paul Williams, is pleased to announce that Matthew Peterson has been named recipient of the 34th annual ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize. The Prize was awarded for Hyperborea, an 11-minute work for orchestra. Selected from nearly 270 entries, the Nissim Prize honors the memory of Dr. Rudolf Nissim and his dedication to ASCAP’s Concert Composers by hosting this annual competition, for which a panel of conductors awards a prize of $5,000 to the best score submitted.

Dr. Rudolf Nissim, former head of ASCAP's International Department and a devoted friend of 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.

Matthew Peterson was born and raised in Grand Forks, North Dakota and currently resides in Stockholm, Sweden. Commissioned and performed by musicians and ensembles in the United States, England, and Sweden, over fifty of Peterson’s works have been performed across North America and Europe. His broad output includes two award-winning chamber operas, seven orchestral scores, an oratorio, numerous choral works, pieces for soloists, chamber ensembles, and electronic media, and post-rock songs for his band in Sweden.

The 2013-14 season features the premiere of Badlands by the Freya String Quartet (Pittsburgh), the professional premiere of Dawn: Redeeming, Radiant by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the premiere of Mass for soprano and percussion by Sonja Tengblad and John Hess (Boston), the premiere of The River for orchestra and chorus by Grand Forks Central High School (ND), the premiere of A Winged Heart by the University of North Dakota band, the premiere of And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands by the Uppsala Chamber Orchestra, and performances of Näcken for violin, Bound and Unbound for piano, and other works by artists and ensembles including InnoVox, Alejandro Drago, North-South Consonance, and New Music Conflagration. Matthew has received grants, awards and recognition from the Fulbright Program, ASCAP, BMI, the Minnesota Orchestra, Aldworth Philharmonic Orchestra, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Vista, National Opera Association, Manhattan Beach Music, Musik i Uppland, Third Angle ensemble, New Lens concert series, North-South Consonance, as well as Chanticleer and VocalEssence. Matthew’s orchestra work Dawn: Redeeming, Radiant was recently featured on American Public Media’s Performance Today and broadcast on NPR stations across the United States.

Peterson holds degrees from Gotlands tonsättarskola (artist diploma), Indiana University Jacobs School of Music (M.M.), and St. Olaf College (B.M).  His former teachers include Per Mårtensson, Henrik Strindberg, Sven-David Sandström, Claude Baker, and Justin Merritt. He previously served on the faculty of the Gotland School of Music Composition (Visby, Sweden) and as an Associate Instructor at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Hyperborea for orchestra (3333 / 4331 / timp, 3 perc, hp / strings) is an 11-minute musical journey inspired by ancient Greek mythology and the horizons of the far North, especially the sea and sky of Sweden's Baltic coast. The work is loosely based on a fragment from Pindar's 10th Pythian Ode: "Never the muse is absent from their ways: lyres clash and flutes cry and everywhere maiden choruses whirling. Neither disease nor bitter old age is mixed in their sacred blood; far from labor and battle they live... But whatsoever splendors we mortals may reach...neither by ship or on foot would you find the marvelous road to Hyperborea." Hyperborea was commissioned and premiered by conductor Steven Amundson and the St. Olaf (College) Orchestra. For more information, visit www.matthew-peterson.com.

The Jury also awarded Special Distinction to: Stephen Feigenbaum (Winchester, MA) for My Shade, an 11-minute work for orchestra; Justin Ralls (Portland. OR) for Tree Ride, a 14-minute work for orchestra; Michael Schachter (Ann Arbor, MI) for Freylekhe Tanzen, a 9-minute work for orchestra; and Mark Zanter (Huntington, WV) for Lament and dream, a 12-minute work for string orchestra, piano and percussion.

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; Ken-David Masur, Principal Guest Conductor of the Munich Symphony, Associate Conductor of the San Diego Symphony and Co-Artistic Director of the Chelsea Music Festival; and Michael Morgan, Music Director and Conductor of the Oakland East Bay Symphony (CA), Artistic Director of Oakland Youth Orchestra and Music Director of the Sacramento Philharmonic and Opera.

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. www.ascapfoundation.org

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Tim Hayes
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