“First Praise” Wins Robert Starer Composition Award

My First Praise for mixed chamber ensemble was recently honored with the CUNY Graduate Center’s Robert Starer Composition Award, which is given annually to an exceptional student work. The official Music Department announcement can be viewed here.

First Praise was written for the Cygnus Ensemble, who premiered the work in 2012 during a residency at the Graduate Center.  The work is scored for flute, oboe, violin, cello, guitar, and mandolin.  An alternation version for Pierrot ensemble was premiered in this past January on the Firebrand Concert Series as part of their local composers spotlight.


“Twisted Blue” to be premiered by Alex Kollias and HICO

This weekend, the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra with soloist Alexander Kollias will premiere Twisted Blue for clarinet and chamber orchestra.  Commissioned by the orchestra, this project has been two years in the making, and I am thrilled to see it come to fruition.  Hailed as “an invaluable addition to the Hartford musical scene, both for its presentation of the rich chamber orchestra repertoire, and its commitment to newer and commissioned works,” HICO performs 8pm on Saturday, April 20 at Trinity Episcopal Church of Hartford and 8pm on Monday, April 22 at Founders Hall, Central Connecticut State University. Tickets are available at the door – $15 ($10 with student ID) at Trinity and donations accepted at Founders Hall.

To give you a taste of what you’ll hear at the concert, here is a clip from a preview performance of the second movement featuring HICO with soloist Dan Liptak.

[mp3j track=”″ title=”Listen to Movement II (Excerpt)” flow=y]


Presentations at NECMT, N_SEME, and More

On April 13, I will be giving a paper entitled “Disruption and Development: Pitch Processes in the Music of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich” at the annual meeting of the New England Conference of Music Theorists.  This research is a small portion of my in-progress dissertation, which will provide an overview of Zwilich’s music from a transformational perspective.  In recent weeks, I have presented similar material at the Women Composers Festival of Hartford Forum, the National Student Electronic Music Event/Temple University New Music Symposium, and the CUNY Graduate Center Composers Forum.

NECMT will be taking place at Tufts University April 12-13, and my presentation will be included on the 9:00 am session Saturday.   A complete program and registration information can be found at NECMT’s website,

Boston Metro Opera Advocacy Award

Cygan-Beck3I am pleased to announce that “To Think on You” (2012) for tenor and piano recently received the Boston Metro Opera Contempo Festival’s Advocacy Award.  The announcement of this and many other awards can be found here.  Created for the 2013 season, the Advocacy Award recognizes works that foster awareness through both music and text.  The selected works will received featured performances as part of the Boston Metro Opera Project’s regular season and will become part of the standard repertoire for the Educational and Outreach divisions.

The photo above shows Chad Cygan, tenor and Steve Beck, piano performing the work as part of the Composers Now Festival in New York city.  Check back soon for a recording!