The 2009 IHS Composition Contest received a record 85 entries from 16 nations. Winning First Prize was Luis Saglie for his Evocación for horn and piano. Second Prize went to Laurence Lowe for his Sonata No.2 for Horn, Soprano and Piano. Honorable Mention was given to: James Naigus, Three for Five for five horns; Martin Rokeach, Delicate Fear for horn and piano; Kazimierz Machala, Concerto for horn, winds and percussion; and Israel Neuman, Turnabouts for horn and tape. The following information was provided by the composers.
First Prize Winner ($1,500)
Luis Saglie, Evocación for horn and piano
Evocación is Spanish for reminiscence or memories. The work was written for my friend and colleague, Jan Janković, hornist of the Vienna Philharmonic. It is through Janković that I discovered my deep love and respect for the horn. While studying and living in Vienna, we shared a wonderful bond that nurtured to our amazement and love for the horn's powerful effect in the world of film. Conversations on this topic were always paired up with listening, analyzing and performing the concert repertoire from which this musical character evolved – that being the works of Mahler, Strauss, and Bruckner, among others.
My goal with this composition was to reach out to my friend with a gesture of gratitude for having helped me discover this musical love in my life. I aimed to offer him a firstclass work that reminisces on that impressive hornistic feel of film music. These efforts were paired with my freedom to have the work customized to Janković's extraordinary virtuosic technique and musicality. With all of this at hand, my creativity took limitless strides to finalize a work that above all, renders my personal musical thoughts, language, and message.
Luis Saglie has been hailed internationally as a composer by the public, professional musicians, and the press. He has collaborated as composer with soloists of the Vienna Philharmonic, Radio Orchestra of Vienna, Niederösterreichisches Tonkünstler Orchestra, the Herbert von Karajan Centrum in Vienna, the Theodor Körner Fonds of Austria, Musikwerkstatt Wien, Florisdorfer Chorvereinigung Harmonie, professors at the University of Music in Vienna, the Split Chamber Orchestra in Croatia, the Chilean Ministry of Culture as well as professional soloists in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia, Mexico, and the USA.
Saglie's horn repertoire as a whole has been highly praised by major horn professionals and composers such as Jan Jankovic of the Vienna Philharmonic who shares, "Whether through his solo repertoire, chamber works or larger scale compositions with horn, Saglie is establishing himself as a pioneer of his time, standing side by side with the most respected composers such as W.A. Mozart, G. Mahler, and R. Strauss." The legendary Peter Damm said, "Luis Saglie seeks to takes advantage of the expressive possibilties of the horn." Also in 2009,
he was the selected composer-delegate to represent Chile in the Global Climate Change Music Project during the 2009 United Nations COP meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark. Currently, he is in planning stages for his second opera, as well as working on an indepentent feature film, a feature documentary film and a short film while taking on a commission as arranger for a CD recording of Mexican tenor, Jesus Leon.
Luis Saglie was born in Oslo in 1974 and spent his early years in his native Chile. In 1981, his family moved to Los Angeles. He was a self-taught composer from the age of nine, later leading to formal studies in piano and composition at UCLA. In 1996, he moved to Vienna where he established a twelveyear residency. Ther, he pursued extensive studies in orchestral and opera conducting as well as in musical composition at both the Hochschule für Musik and the Vienna Conservatory. Luis Saglie holds a Master of Arts, a Bachelor of Arts, and a Conservatory Diploma. In 2008 Saglie moved back to Los Angeles where he presently resides.
Second Prize Winner ($1,000)
Laurence Lowe, Sonata No.2 for horn, soprano and piano
I finished composing the Sonata No. 2 for horn, soprano and piano in 2005. Shortly after beginning the drafts of the 1st movement, I was in Hawaii playing chamber music concerts. Three days into the trip, the retina in my right eye tore severely. Much of the Sonata was written during the long, painful recovery, when it was by no means sure that my vision would return intact.
Movement 1 is in a kind of overture form, though the music is in the new romantic style. It starts with a contemplative introduction. This segues into a wild allegro, with rips to high c" and fast, light tonguing. The furious pace is broken up with lyrical passages. Some are passionate, some are gentle. Others are hesitant, then hopeful. Then the movement ends much like it begins. This movement, most of all, captures the poignant emotions that colored everything I did as my sight slowly began to return.
Movement 2, Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier, is a piece that I have been performing, in a simpler arrangement, for years as a duet for two sopranos and piano. My daughter and I improvised the original soprano and piano parts. We have performed it, with her sister on the other vocal part, many times. Since it was always improvised, each performance was unique. For the Sonata I added the brooding horn and piano introductions and interludes, and gave one of the soprano parts to the horn.
Movement 3, Rondo, was inspired by movie music, which I record often, and the heroic use of the horn in so many scores. As the title suggests, it is a rondo, though each theme is different in tempo and style. Though there are no direct quotes in the three contrasting sections, the opening Allegro was inspired by a particular western and a particular player in Los Angeles. It would be crass to divulge which one.
Laurence Lowe has established a national reputation as a horn soloist, orchestral player, composer and teacher. A prizewinner at the 1996 McMahon International Solo Competition, he has performed at eight International Horn Workshops. Orchestral and chamber music engagements have taken him to Europe, the Far East, Brazil, Mexico, Hawaii, Carnegie Hall and the Blossom Festival in Cleveland. His first solo CD, Four American Sonatas for horn and piano, is available on Tantara Records. His Sonata No.1 for horn and piano won an honorable mention in the 2005 International Horn Society Composition Contest. Lowe is principal horn of The Orchestra at Temple Square in Slat Lake City. He was professor of horn at Missouri University from 1983-1993, and is currently Professor of horn at Brigham Young University.
James Naigus, Three for Five for five horns
I wrote this piece in 2009 as a "closer" for my senior undergraduate recital. Playing with me were four of my good friends to whom this piece was dedicated. Each movement embodies an aspect of their personalities, from adventuresome, to harmonious, leading finally to a heroic and idolized duo. The title denotes three movements for five players, but also represents a numerical sequence symbolizing the closeness of friendship the five of us built over the years. This piece offers a brief journey through the contrasting styles and sonorities of the horn and in doing so also tells a story about a few fellow horn players and friends.
James recently completed the undergraduate degree in horn performance and music education from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He has studied horn with Adam Unsworth, Bryan Kennedy, Søren Hermansson, and Carl Karoub. Recently, James "student taught" at Saline High School, a public school in Michigan, assisting the director with the four symphonic bands and marching band. He plans to attend graduate school in horn performance as well as continue his passion in music education and composition.
Martin Rokeach, Delicate Fear for horn and piano
Storms blow through us, sometimes powerfully, sometimes delicately. To my ear this is the emotional landscape of the piece.
The music of composer Martin Rokeach has been performed by the Berkeley Symphony, San Francisco Concerto Orchestra, US Army Orchestra, Pacific/Mozart Ensemble, Chameleon Arts Ensemble (Boston), Cygnus Ensemble (NY) Dunsmuir Piano Quartet (San Francisco), League of Composers (NY), Duo Sforzando (Geneva), the Chicago Ensemble, Musica Nova (Macedonia), Wyck Trio (UK), Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, the St. Petersburg (Russia) Chamber Players, the Sheridan Players (Chicago), the Webster Trio (Houston), Guitarinet (Poland), and many other outstanding ensembles and soloists throughout the US, Europe, and Australia. His works have earned honors in twelve national or international composition competitions, most recently those sponsored by Audio Inversions of Austin, International Clarinet Association, and the Chicago Ensemble, and he has been commissioned to write music for New York's Cygnus Ensemble, Switzerland's Dobrzelewski/Marrs Duo, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Music Teachers Association of California, California Association of Professional Music Teachers, New York's Eight Strings and a Whistle, San Francisco Symphony principal hornist Robert Ward, and numerous other soloists. His music has been published by Kagarice Brass Editions, Northeastern Music, Fallen Leaf, Go Fish Percussion Publications, and ALRY, and recorded on the Albany, Furious Artisan, Arizona, Emeritus, North/South, Capstone, and Amie labels. He has been a featured composer and speaker at the Hartt Conservatory of Music, New York University, and Wichita State University, and concerts devoted exclusively to his music have been held at Washington State University and Western Carolina University.
Rokeach earned the Ph.D. in composition and theory from Michigan State University, and bachelor's and master's degrees from San Francisco State University. He teaches at Saint Mary's College of California, and is one of the founders and artistic directors of San Francisco's contemporary music concert series, Composers, Inc.
Kazimierz Machala, Concerto for horn, winds and percussion
My original intention was to expand the horn repertoire with a practical work that can be performed with a wind ensemble, symphony orchestra without strings (although there is a double bass in the piece) or a band. My other goal was to explore sound sonorities and present them in a way in which the listener doesn't feel the absence of strings. The final objective was to create an enjoyable work for the soloist, ensemble and audiences at large.
A native of Poland, Kazimierz Machala is an active performer, composer, and teacher. Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois and presently Visiting Professor of horn at the Frederic Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, Machala was the first horn player in Juilliard's history to receive the DMA degree and received third prize at the 1974 International Music Competition for Woodwinds and Brass in Prague.
Professor Machala has performed on numerous occasions with the New York Philharmonic and the Frankfurt Radio Symphony Orchestra, among others. He has been a member of the American Woodwind Quintet and the Australian Wind Virtuosi. During 1994-1996 he performed with the St. Louis Brass Quintet. He also has served as principal horn with the Cracow Radio Symphony and was principal horn with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Australia for seven years. Immediately prior to Professor Machala's appointment at the University of Illinois, he was Associate Professor of horn at the University of Georgia.
Israel Neuman, Turnabouts for horn and tape
The premises of Turnabouts are rooted in the perception of music as transformation of energy. Potential energy is transformed to kinetic energy with the release of the first statement and with other following events. The ratio between repetition and change determines the efficiency of energy utilization. Change creates a forward motion; repetition creates only the illusion of motion.
Systematic organization of extended techniques, which are manipulated through various matrix operations, forms the fundamental structure of the piece. Both the horn part and the tape part are products of this system. The sound source of the tape is derived from audio recordings of the horn's extended techniques. In two sections of the piece the performer is asked to choose a path within an array of musical choices presented to him in a cyclic notation. These unpredictable repeated cycles are the inspiration for the title of the piece.
Turnabouts incorporates various levels of approximation mainly due to the choice of material for the horn. While the tape part is fixed, the horn part allows some flexibility in its performance, as long as important points of alignment are maintained. Those points of alignment are marked in the score with vertical dashed lines. The tension created by this approximation is a structural feature of the work.
Israel Neuman is a PhD student in composition at the University of Iowa. He received a B.Mus degree from the University of Hartford CT, and a MA degree from the University of Iowa. He is the studio assistant for the Electronic Music Studios at the University of Iowa. He served as the instructor of the 2008 fall semester electronic composition class. Neuman studies composition with Lawrence Fritts, and he is a former student of David Gompper and John Rapson. He studied bass with Gary Karr, Michael Klinghoffer (Israel), Diana Gannett, Volkan Orhon, and Anthony Cox. He performed and recorded with Robert Paredes, John Rapson, Brent Sandy, Jimmy Green, Wayne Escoffery, and Steve Davis. His compositions were performed at the 2008 Electronic Music Midwest Festival (Illinois), and at the 2007 (Indiana) and 2008 (Iowa) Midwest Composers Symposium. In 2001 Neuman was commissioned to score music for the documentary film Class 2000 (by Yuval Cohen and Tammy Grosse), which was broadcasted by the Israeli First TV Channel.