Graham Sommer 2019 Finalists

2021 Competition Finalists

Alec Hall

Potrait of Alec Hall

Born in Toronto in 1985, Alec Hall lives in New York City, where he works on the nature of acoustic materials in the post-Avant-Garde musical landscape. Through samples and field recordings, he engages non-musical subjects within an extensive body of work that focuses on labor conditions in China, environmental destruction in Canada, state violence in America, animal cognition, (un)wellness, and beyond.

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Hall’s music has been premiered by some of the most preeminent ensembles and soloists throughout the world, among them his own collective, Qubit, which produced his opera, “The House of Influence” in 2018. He has been the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fromm commission, and the 2019 Jules Léger Prize.

Laurence Jobidon

Potrait of Laurence Jobidon

Quebecois composer and organist, Laurence Jobidon studied at the Conservatoire de Musique de Québec where she illustrated herself notably by winning the Teachers’ Scholarship given to the most promising advanced student. Since 2014, she has gone back to composing and further trained with Juno Award winning composer Andrew P. MacDonald. Laurence has written for a variety of ensembles, notably chamber, solo, vocal and orchestral music.

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She won the 2015 New Generation Orchestra Composition Competition for her piece “Le Harfang et Le Loup” and the 2018 Prix Trois femmes—Mécénat Musica with Pascale St-Onge, librettist, for their chamber opera “L’hiver attend beaucoup de moi ”, which will be premiered by Opéra de Montréal Atelier Lyrique next march. Her music has been performed at the SMCQ, Canadian Opera Company noon concert series, Tapestry Opera and Salle Claude-Champagne. Laurence collaborates regularly with Quebecois musicians and ensembles involved in contemporary music, with recent performances by Louis Brouillette (organ, Qc), Raphael Ashby (organ, Qc), Maja Smilianic Radic (organ, Serbia), Myriam Genest-Denis (flute, Qc), Vivien Shotwell (mezzo, Can/USA), Minji Kwon (piano, USA) and Ensemble 3 Femmes (Suzanne Rigden, soprano, Kristin Hoff mezzo and Jennifer Szeto piano).

Michael Kim-Sheng

Potrait of Michael Kim-Sheng

I am a producer and composer between musical worlds. Born into a musical family, I started piano lessons at the age of 4. The music of Chopin and Debussy was always playing in the background at home, and they continue to resonate in my compositional voice. As a teenager, my friends introduced me to new genres of music, and I was driven to learn electric guitar, drums, and sound recording. My musical work is a meeting between these backgrounds, falling between classical and popular genres, and combining acoustic instruments with electronic rhythms and textures.

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I pursued formal studies in composition at Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, and at McGill University. I won the SOCAN grand prize for emerging composers in 2018. Emerging from my studies, I have been refining my unique voice as a creator, and honing my craft in electronic music production, culminating in the release of my debut EP Haven of Lavender in 2019. I have also been working as a piano instructor, a video game composer, and I manage my own youtube channel. These additional activities challenge and develop my engagement as a composer in my community.

As an artist, I am always considering the feelings that composition can evoke in my body, and it is often a sensation that drives me to create. Many of my compositions have come from a spontaneous feeling of being moved, and I consider it my job to bring these feelings to life through music.

Jared Miller

Potrait of Jared Miller

Described as a “rising star” by MusicWorks magazine, Canadian-American composer Jared Miller’s eclectic music is “playful” (New York Times), “hypnotic” (Sequenza 21), “phantasmagorical” (Lucid Culture) and “highly personal” (CBC Radio). He has worked in collaboration with many ensembles both in North America and internationally including the American Composers Orchestra, ...

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... the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Nashville Symphony, the symphony orchestras of Vancouver, Toronto, and Edmonton, the Juilliard Orchestra, The Attacca Quartet, Latitude 49 Ensemble, the New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute, the Emily Carr String Quartet, Standing Wave and a long list of soloists that include pianists Sara Davis Buechner, Jani Parsons, Robert Fleitz and Imri Talgam, and violinist Francisco Fullana.

His music has been featured and recognized in the New York Philharmonic’s Biennial (2014), the ISCM World Music Days (2017 & 2019), Vancouver’s Queer Arts Festival (2010, 2015 & 2019) and the Vancouver and Victoria Symphony’s New Music Festivals (2015-2019.)

A passionate advocate for musical education and outreach, Miller has taught and performed in several initiatives including The Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Connects Program, the BC Health Arts Society, Vancouver’s Opera in the Schools and for New York’s Opportunity Music Project. He is currently on the composition faculty of New York’s Special Music High School.

Born in Los Angeles in 1988, Miller holds Masters and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from the Juilliard School where he studied with Samuel Adler and John Corigliano. He has also studied composition with Stephen Chatman and Dorothy Chang and piano with Sara Buechner and Corey Hamm at the University of British Columbia. In 2014, Miller was named the Victoria Symphony’s composer-in- residence – a position that he held until June of 2017. He is currently based in New York City.

Matthew Ricketts

Potrait of Matthew Ricketts

Matthew Ricketts (b. 1986, British Columbia) is a Canadian composer currently based in NYC. His music moves from extremes of presence and absence, from clamor to quietude, at once reticent and flamboyant. Matthew’s music has been noted for its “effervescent and at times prickly sounds” and “hypnotically churning exploration of melody” (ICareIfYouListen) as well as its “tart harmonies and perky sputterings” (The New York Times). He is a 2019 Guggenheim Fellow and a 2020 Gaudeamus Prize nominee.

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His works have been performed internationally by JACK Quartet, Mivos Quartet, Flux Quartet, the Fromm Players, Quatuor Bozzini; vocalists Margot Rood, Ellen Wieser, Tony Arnold, Sharon Harms and Ekmeles; Yarn/Wire, le NEM, Wet Ink, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players, Ensemble Paramirabo, Argento Ensemble, Talea Ensemble; the Aspen Philharmonic (Robert Spano, cond.), Esprit Orchestra (Alex Pauk, cond.), the Minnesota Orchestra (Osmo Vänskä, cond.) and the Montreal Symphony Orchestra (Kent Nagano, cond.).

Matthew is the recipient of fellowships from Civitella Ranieri (2020), the MacDowell Colony (2019), the Tanglewood Music Center (2018) and the Aspen Music Festival (2017), in addition to the 2016 Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund Prize, the 2016 Jacob Druckman Prize, the 2016 Mivos/Kanter Prize, the 2015 Salvatore Martirano Memorial Composition Award, a 2013 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award and eight prizes in the SOCAN Foundation’s Awards for Young Composers.

Matthew holds degrees from McGill University (B.Mus. 2009) and Columbia University (DMA 2017). Matthew’s principal mentors include Brian Cherney, John Rea, Chris Paul Harman, George Lewis and Fred Lerdahl. He is currently a Core Lecturer at Columbia University.

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