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Bio’s for Volunteer Judges for the 3rd Annual Violettes Youth Composition Competition

Becky Chaffee

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Published: September 9, 2015 at 10:29 AM [UTC]

Violettes by Becky holds an Annual Youth Composition and Songwriter Competition for ages 10 thru 18. For details, see Violettes by Becky.

Our 2 Judges For Younger division (Ages 10 thru 14):

Ben Mulholland's love of composition started with his discovery of blank staff paper. Around the age of 9 he'd try to embellish and alter melodies he'd hear or learn in his French Horn lessons or whenever his mother would practice. Long since then, his compositions have been played on radio, movie soundtracks and trailers, as background music at health spas, and (most favored) at live events.
Ben is also a prodigious arranger, his arrangements can be heard by a wide variety of ensembles of all skill levels throughout the country. [He even arranged his own wedding's processional music for 8 part Horn choir]
He can be heard performing his and other peoples music in a wide variety of settings in, and around, Philadelphia. He is currently a member of the chamber ensemble Beta Test, the Philadelphia Wind Symphony, and is the Composition Teaching Artist at Play On, Philly!'s St. Francis de Sales site. He attended Shenandoah University's Conservatory majoring in French Horn Performance and minoring in Music Theory.

John Callahan is a pianist and composer, whose work has been heard in more than 30 cities across the United States. He is a two-time winner of the National Young Composers Challenge, and studied with Robert Aldridge and David Dzubay at The Brevard Music Center. Recent commissions include “Volando,” which was written for pianist Julian Toha’s Immersion Tour and “Pulsar,” which was commissioned and premiered by The Orlando Philharmonic with conductor JoAnn Falletta. He is a graduate of Florida State University, where he studied piano performance with Read Gainsford.

Here's a link where you can hear some of: Mr. Callahan’s compositions

Our 2 Judges For Senior division (Ages 15 thru 18)

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Kevin James is a noted composer, trombonist, educator and thinker. NY Times critics named the works of his Vanishing Languages Project among the “Best of 2013”. The project received a feature story on PRI’s, The World, and Chicago Classical included them among its “Top Ten Performances of 2011”. Kevin’s won awards, grants and commissions from a goodly number of impressive-sounding organizations. He feels privileged when great musicians play his music and loves to have the chance to sit among great musicians to play his horn. Now and then his music airs on the radio. Which is cool. He loves trying new things and working with the human voice in its “natural state”. You may also know him from his other works, such as 100 Waltzes for John Cage, The Portraits Project, or his cantata, Sadako. Kevin holds advanced degrees in Music and Philosophy & Religion, from DePauw University and Brooklyn College. Kevin is currently the Education Director for the American Composers Orchestra, teaching composition to students in several of New York City’s specialized high schools for the arts as well the ACO Compose Yourself! program. He’s acted as a consultant and advisor to a wide range of organizations including the Brooklyn Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Bang on a Can and a variety of colleges and Universities.

Laura Elise Schwendinger is a Professor and head of composition at The University of Wisconsin Madison. She is the first composer to win the American Academy in Berlin Prize, and one of the leading composers of her generation. Her music has been performed by leading artists or our day including Dawn Upshaw (Tour 1997-2013; Voices of Our Time, TDK/Naxos DVD), the Arditti and JACK quartets, violinists Jennifer Koh, Janine Jansen, and Miranda Cuckson, groups such as the International Contemporary Ensemble, Eighth Blackbird, New Juilliard Ensemble, Collage New Music, StonyBrook Premiere, Boston Musica Viva, Aspen Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex, Lincoln Trio, Trinity Choir and Novus and the American Composers Orchestra (an UnSafe series Commission at Carnegie Hall 2012) and Franz Liszt Chamber Orchestra of Hungary; At venues including, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Wigmore Hall, Berlin Philharmonic, Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, Times Center, Symphony Space, BargeMusic, National Arts Centre CA, Corcoran Gallery, Theatre du Chatalet, Tanglewood, Aspen, Bennington and Ojai Music Festivals. She will be a League of Composers/ New Music USA Resident composer with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra in 2016.

Her honors include a Guggenheim, Koussevitzky and Fromm Foundations, Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, Copland House, Harvard Musical Association, Chamber Music America Commission, League of American Orchestra/ New Music Alive residency with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra Orchestra, Chamber Music America commission, American Academy of Arts and Letters (Goddard Leiberson Fellowship for “mid-career composer of exceptional gifts” and Ives scholarship) and first-prize of the 1995 ALEA III Competition. Residencies at MacDowell and Yaddo colonies, and Rockefeller’s Bellagio Center, American Academy in Rome, Tyrone Guthrie Center, and Bogliasco.

Here's a lovely video of Julian Wachner conducting Sinfonietta with Trinity Novus Wall Street online by Ms. Schwendinger

And High Wire Act, movements 3, 4 and 5 by Christina Jennings and Pendulum New Music by Ms. Schwendinger

For more Competition Details, Guidelines and Registration see Violettes by Becky.

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