A spotlight on composition: Prize winners and premieres!

Published: 22 November 2022

In anticipation of three prize winning premieres, we thought we should mark the occasion in a celebration of our composition student successes. After two years of pandemic delays, on Tuesday, November 22 at noon we will experience the premieres of Cent traces, sur de vastes plaines by Henri Colombat and Stained Glass, Caustic Fly by Philppe Macnab-Séguin, the 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 Winners of the Luba Zuk Duo Composition Prize in Tanna Schulich Hall. You'll have two chances to hear Chelsea Komschlies work The Sunken Cathedral, Winner of the 2020-2021 Andrew Svoboda Composition Award with the McGill Symphony Orchestra on Friday, November 25 and Saturday, November 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Pollack Hall. If you can't make it in-person, the performance on November 26 will also be webcast live on the Schulich YouTube channel. More compositions are in the works, read on to find out who we'll be hearing in the coming seasons!

The 2021-2022 Luba Zuk Piano Duo Composition Prize, Andrew Svoboda Prize for Orchestral Composition and John Rea Travel Award in Composition winners are:

Lily Koslow (current BMus) wins the Luba Zuk Piano Duo Composition Prize and John Rea Travel Award in Composition, and Francis Battah (current MMus) has won the Andrew Svoboda Prize in Orchestral Composition.  

Lily Koslow is a Montréal-based composer, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist. The aesthetic of their recent work contrasts delicate subtleties of timbral interplay with a dark intensity inspired by surrealist literature, as well as metal music and saturated contemporary music. Lily is often conceptually inspired by extra-musical topics such as bionics, psychedelics, and post-capitalist political theories. They enjoy performing an eclectic assortment of styles, including classical, mixed electroacoustic, rock, and pop music. Lily is currently studying composition with Jean Lesage and piano with Sara Laimon at the Schulich School of Music. 

Francis Battah is a Montreal-based composer and graduate in classical and jazz piano. Francis studied composition with Denys Bouliane, Alan Belkin, Denis Gougeon and Ana Sokolović at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University and the Université de Montréal. Francis is interested in the links between music and literature, especially via the melodrama form. In February 2018, his melodrama for piano, violin, cello and narrator, composed in 2015, has been presented in five Maisons de la culture, as part of the Conseil des arts de Montréal on tour. He has won several prizes in the SOCAN Foundation’s composition competition: third prize in the solo / duo category (2020), first prize for chamber ensemble (2021) and the 2021 Grand Prize. 

Schulich well represented at the 2022 SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers!

This annual competition recognizes Canadian composers 30 years of age and under, for original concert music works in the following categories: large ensemble, chamber ensemble, solo or duet, vocal, and electroacoustics. Congratulations to all our talented students and alumni!

Edwin Ng (BMus '20, current MMus): 1st Prize, Choral music category
Christina Volpini (MMus '17): 2nd Prize, Large ensemble category
Kalen Smith (current BMus): 3rd Prize, Electroacoustic category

Composers under 21:
Kalen Smith (current BMus): Large ensemble category and Solo and duets category and selected participant for the NYO Canada Emerging Composers’ Mentorship Program
Nicholas Ma (current BMus): Choral category

About the Luba Zuk Piano Duo Composition Prize 

The Luba Zuk Piano Duo Composition Prize was established in 2016 by Luba Zuk, LMus 1957, long-time professor of piano at McGill University and member of the Luba and Ireneus Zuk Piano Duo recognized for commissioning and performing new works, especially by Canadian and Ukrainian composers. 

The Prize is awarded annually to an outstanding undergraduate or graduate student in composition in the School for the completion of a work for piano duo. Preference will be given to a work that includes references to Ukrainian or Canadian culture, landscape, history or experience.  

About the John Rea Travel Award in Composition 

The $7,500 John Rea Travel Award in Composition is awarded each year to an undergraduate or graduate student in composition who is travelling during the summer to broaden his or her cultural experience and depth of knowledge. The award was established in 2016 by Professor John Rea. Projects may include, but are not limited to, participating in a masterclass, attending a conference, or taking a course. 

About the Andrew Svoboda Memorial Prize 

The Andrew Svoboda Memorial Prize in Orchestral Composition was created in memory of Andrew Yin Svoboda (BMus 2000, MMus 2004), who died suddenly at the age of 27 in 2004. The prize seeks to recognize excellence in orchestral composition, encourage the creation of new Canadian orchestral works and provide enriched pedagogical opportunities for student composers and performers through an annual commissioning prize of $5,000 for an orchestral piece to be premiered by the McGill Symphony Orchestra. A high quality, non-commercial archival recording of the premiere will also be provided to the composer. 

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