January 15, 2015

Mark Lanz Weiser Receives ASCAP Foundation Nissim Prize for Symphony No. 2 (Sinfonia Magalhães)

JEREMY PODGURSKY Receives Special Distinction

Mark Lanz Weiser, Nissim

New York, NY, January 15, 2015: The ASCAP Foundation President, Paul Williams, is pleased to announce that Mark Lanz Weiser has been named recipient of the 35th annual ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize. The Prize was awarded for Symphony No. 2 (Sinfonia Magalhães), a 30-minute work for orchestra. Selected from 160 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.

Mark Lanz Weiser of Los Angeles, California has had performances by notable groups, including the Baltimore and Indianapolis Symphony Orchestras, the Oakland East Bay Symphony, Pulse Chamber Music, the Capitol Quartet, the Peabody Orchestra, and USC Thornton EDGE. He has received numerous commissions, including those from the American Guild of Organists, the New Horizons Chamber Ensemble, the Loudoun Symphony Orchestra, and the Eclipse Chamber Orchestra. Weiser has been in residence at the Yaddo artist colony in New York and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.   

Weiser has composed three operas, numerous songs and song cycles, scenas, and works for voice and orchestra.  Instrumental works include two symphonies, multiple instrumental and chamber compositions, and concertos for organ, marimba, and saxophone quartet. Weiser’s music can also be heard in a number of commercial and independent films.

In February 2015, Opera San Jose will be present the professional world premiere of Weiser’s opera, Where Angels Fear to Tread, libretto by Roger Brunyate after the novel by E. M. Forster.

Mark Lanz Weiser received his bachelor’s degree in piano performance and master’s degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. He has been on the music faculty of several schools and universities including Peabody Conservatory, and is currently faculty in music composition at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.

Weiser’s Symphony No. 2, subtitled Sinfonia Magalhães (Magellan Symphony), is a musical impression of the first circumnavigation of the globe led by Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan in 1519. Sailing for Charles the First of Spain, Magellan was tasked with finding a westerly route to the Spice Islands. The voyage led to the discovery of the straits in the southern tip of South America, and the first crossing of the Pacific Ocean. Magellan personally would not return to Spain as he was killed in a battle with Prince Lapu Lapu in the Philippines. The last remaining ship, The Victoria, led by Juan Sebastián Elcano, would return to Seville almost three years after the day of the fleet’s departure. The symphony is in seven connecting sections: Departure, Easter Mutiny, The Strait, Pacific Crossing, Lapu Lapu and the Death of Magellan, The Victoria, and Return. For more information, visit www.marklanzweiser.com.

The Jury also awarded Special Distinction to Jeremy Podgursky of Bloomington, Indiana for As a Spell , Against Falling Objects (or How I Learned to Love Gravity), a 16-minute work for sinfonietta.   For more information: www.jeremypodgursky.com

The judges for this year’s Nissim Prize were: George Manahan, Music Director of the American Composers Orchestra and the Portland Opera, and Director of Orchestral Activities at the Manhattan School of Music; Ryan McAdams, upcoming conducting engagements include Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Wordless Music Orchestra, Santa Fe Symphony, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Vancouver Symphony, ECCE Ensemble, and Talea Ensemble; and Diane Wittry, Music Director of the Allentown Symphony (PA), Artistic Director and Conductor of the Ridgewood Symphony (NJ),  Artistic Director (USA) for the International Cultural Exchange Program for Classical Musicians through the Sarajevo Philharmonic (Bosnia), and Artistic Director for Pizazz Music and the Pizzaz Symphony Orchestra.

Mark Lanz Weiser
Symphony No. 2 (Sinfonia Magalhães)
Duration: 30 minutes

Piccolo (doubling Flute 3)
2 Flutes
2 Oboes
2 Clarinets in B flat (2nd doubling Bass Clarinet in B flat)
2 Bassoons
4 Horns in F
3 Trumpets in C
2 Tenor Trombones
Bass Trombone

3 Percussion

  • Percussion 1: Glockenspiel, Xylophone, Vibraphone, Large Tam-tam, Large Field Drum, Dabakan

  • Percussion 2: Bass Drum, Tambourine, Bell Tree, Waterphone, Slapstick, Anvil

  • Percussion 3: Triangle, 4 Tom-toms, Suspended Cymbal, Crotales Strings

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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