Benjamin Taylor, MM Composition May 2011, was one of eleven winners of the 59th Annual BMI Student Composer Award. The BMI Student Composer Awards recognize superior creative talent and winners receive scholarship grants to be applied toward their musical education. In 2011, more than 500 manuscripts were submitted to the competition from throughout the Western Hemisphere, and all works were judged under pseudonyms. Cash awards totaled $21,000. Ryan Chase and David Hertzberg tied for the William Schuman Prize, which is awarded to the score judged “most outstanding” in the competition. This special prize is given each year in memory of the late William Schuman, who served for 40 years as Chairman, then Chairman Emeritus, of the BMI Student Composer Awards. Additionally, the Carlos Surinach Prize, awarded to the youngest winner in the competition, went to Yeeren I. Low.
The distinguished 2011 jury members were: Robert Beaser, Ingram Marshall, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, Steven Stucky and Michael Torke. The preliminary judges were Chester Biscardi, David Leisner, Shafer Mahoney, Sean Shepherd and Bernadette Speach. Ellen Taaffe Zwilich is the permanent Chair of the awards.
BMI has given 554 scholarship grants to young composers over the years. Many of the most prominent and active classical composers in the world today received their first recognition from the BMI Student Composer Awards. The BMI Student Composer Awards competition is co-sponsored by BMI and the BMI Foundation, Inc.
(Submitted by Marilyn Shrude)