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Trevor Weston Selected as Winner of First Annual Emerging Black Composers Project

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Additional Prizes Awarded to Composers Jonathan Bingham, Shawn Okpebholo, and Sumi Tonooka

June 16, 2021 by Tim Records

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM), in partnership with the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and the SFCM President’s Advisory Council on Equity and Inclusion, announced today that Trevor Weston will receive the first commission of the annual Emerging Black Composers Project. The San Francisco Symphony, led by Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, will give the world premiere of his new commissioned work in the fall of 2022.

Trevor Weston is professor of music and chair of the Music Department at Drew University in Madison, NJ. His musical education began at Saint Thomas Choir School in New York City at the age of ten; he later graduated from Tufts University and continued his studies at the University of California, Berkeley where he earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in music composition. In addition to his original catalogue of works ranging from orchestral, choral and chamber pieces, Weston completed the re-orchestration of Florence Price’s Concerto in One Movement for piano for the Center for Black Music Research in 2010. As winner of the Emerging Black Composers Project, he will receive a $15,000 commissioning fee, mentorship from committee members, and resources to workshop his piece with SFS, along with its premiere there.

“Winning the first Emerging Black Composer Project is an immense honor and wonderful recognition,” said Weston. “This is an incredible opportunity to develop my music with the mentorship of internationally acclaimed musicians and institutions.”

Weston was selected through an anonymous review process of nearly 100 applications received in this inaugural year of the project. The selection committee, led by Oakland Symphony Music Director Michael Morgan, SFCM Music Director Edwin Outwater, and Salonen, also included music education and industry leaders John Adams, Elinor Armer, Carmen Bradford, Anthony Davis, Germaine Franco, and Joseph Young.

With thanks to supporters Michèle and Laurence Corash and in recognition of the level of skill and talent in the group of finalists, the selection committee also named three additional prizewinners: Jonathan Bingham, Shawn Okpebholo, and Sumi Tonooka, each of whom will receive a commissioning fee of $8,000, mentorship by a composer on the committee, and workshopping along with a premiere of their new work by the Oakland Symphony, SFCM, or the National Brass Ensemble during the 2022-23 season.

“We are proud to name Trevor Weston the recipient of the first commission from the Emerging Black Composers Project," said Morgan, who served as chair for the committee. “We are also thrilled to spotlight three additional promising artists whose careers we will eagerly follow. They remind us that talent is often more abundant than opportunity, and that music can and should bring people together across those lines.”

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