SFCM was extraordinarily well represented this year among winners of the American Prize, a series of national competitions spanning musical categories. Faculty member David Garner ’79 (pictured) won first prize in the chamber music composition professional division for his String Quartet No. 2, commissioned for the 2014 San Francisco-Shanghai International Chamber Music Festival at SFCM. Derek David ’08 won in the chamber music category for student composers and current student Kyle Randall ’16 won in the student choral composition category. Heather Hsun Chang, a Pre-College student of Corey McVicar, won the American Prize for solo piano performance in the high school division.
Composer Kyle Randall (also pictured), a student of David Garner, received his M.M. at the Conservatory last May and returned to pursue a postgraduate diploma in music scoring and recording in SFCM’s Technology and Applied Composition (TAC) program. He says he’s not surprised Conservatory composers are winning national recognition, given the philosophy that governs the composition department. “Instead of pushing their own aesthetic on the students, the school's teachers take it upon themselves to understand their students’ voices, and to work to enable them to achieve what they’re imagining more effectively and compellingly.” Randall won the prize for his master’s thesis, a choral mass (sung here by New Yorks Choral Chameleon). Now, he says, learning music technology and production in the TAC program will add to his skill set – and his earning potential. “Our careers often unfold as a patchwork of interlocking specialities and types of income. It's very exciting and fun, but it means you have to know how to do everything, especially when composing for media.”
American Prize jurors also recognized Sahba Aminikia ’13, second place winner in professional chamber music composition, Brian Mark ’06, who received an honorable mention in student orchestra composition, and composition finalists Joshua Fishbein ’09 and Michael Kaulkin’97.