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James O'Callaghan and Symon Henry share SOCAN Foundation's John Weinzweig Grand Prize

July 10, 2014

The SOCAN Foundation today announced 17 recipients of the 23rd Annual SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers.

This year’s competition attracted 193 entries, awarding $29,250 to the prizewinners. “The jury chose to award the grand prize jointly to two composers, both based in Montreal, for works that complement one another in every way,” said Rick MacMillan, Manager, SOCAN Foundation.

The Annual SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers recognize Canadian composers 30 years of age and under for specific musical works in five categories of concert music. The competition was judged anonymously by a jury of three prominent composers: Dr. Rodney Sharman of Vancouver (who has served as composer-in-residence with the Victoria Symphony, National Youth Orchestra of Canada and Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and whose works have been performed in more than 30 countries), Dr. James Harley (associate professor in the Faculty of Music at the University of Guelph, ON, and a multiple award winner in his own right), and Monique Jean of Montreal (who specializes in electroacoustic music and sound installations, including collaborations with choreographers and visual artists).

“The electronic elements in James O’Callaghan’s Isomorphia make use of a number of environment sounds,” says Harley.” This work shows real imagination.”

"The electronic elements in O'Callaghan's Isomorphia make use of a number of environmental sounds," says jury member Harley. "This work shows real imagination."

Symon Henry’s Que mon silence portera à son plus petit doigt struck Sharman as “a beautifully and precisely notated score. I found it imaginative, compelling and politically engaged; the theatrical elements are organically incorporated into the piece. I hope very much to attend a live performance.”

The John Weinzweig Grand Prize celebrates the best overall work submitted in the competition, and is valued at $3,000 ($1,500 to each winner). O’Callaghan’s work was also recognized with the $3,000 first prize in the competition’s Sir Ernest MacMillan Awards category, while Henry’s work shared the top prize in the Pierre Mercure Awards category with Thierry Tidrow’s Violon et clarinette.

Other major winners include Luke Nickel, who took the $3,000 first prize in the Godfrey Ridout Awards category for Kyrie, as well as a shared second prize of $1,125 in the Sir Ernest MacMillan Awards category for whole beauty now lies in memory, along with Matthew Ricketts, who also won $1,125 for Burrowed Time; Eliot Britton, who took the $2,225 first prize in the Serge Garant Awards category for Metatron; and Charles-Philippe Tremblay-Bégin and Pierre-Luc Lecours, who shared second prize ($1,500 each) in the Hugh Le Caine Awards, for Valsalva and Impacts discret, respectively.

ther award winners include: Alec Hall (third prize) in the Sir Ernest MacMillan Awards; Stephen Spencer (second prize) and Julien-Robert Legault Salvail and Carmen Vanderveken (shared third prize) in the Serge Garant Awards; Remy Siu (second prize) and Taylor Brook (third prize) in the Pierre Mercure Awards; Cecilia Alexandra Livingston (second prize) and Thierry Tidrow (third prize) in the Godfrey Ridout Awards; and Enzo Marceau and Guillaume Barrette (shared third prize) in the Hugh Le Caine Awards.

About SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Audio-visual Composers
The SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Audio-visual Composers is open to Canadian citizens 30 years of age and under.

About SOCAN Foundation
Founded in 1992, SOCAN Foundation is dedicated to fostering musical creativity and promoting a better understanding of the role of music creators in today's society. The Foundation is an independent organization guided by its own board of directors. The board, which consists of composers, songwriters and music publishers, reflects concert music and popular music genres as well as the geographic and linguistic regions of Canada. It is closely aligned to the interests of the members of SOCAN – the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada.

Media Contact: Rick MacMillan, 416-445-8700, ext. 3815,



The John Weinzweig Grand Prize
Grand Prize awarded for the best overall work submitted in the competition

Shared: $1,500 –Symon Henry, 29, Montreal, QC – Que mon silence portera à son plus petit doigt, for percussion solo

Symon Henry holds a Bachelor’s degree in classical piano and Master’s degrees in composition and musical analysis from the Montreal Music Conservatory. Deeply marked by a quest for identity and an interest in the visual arts and literature, his work has also been strongly influenced by his studies in Stuttgart (Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart) and Paris (University of Paris-IV, Sorbonne) and at the Centre d’Arts Orford, as well as by his African djembe drum studies (with Aboulaye Koné Moriké). His compositions have been performed by such ensembles as the HSO Symphony Orchestra Stuttgart, the Aventa Ensemble and Nouvel Ensemble Moderne.

Shared: $1,500 – James O’Callaghan, 26, Montreal, QC – Isomorphia, for orchestra and electronics

James O’Callaghan’s music intersects acoustic and electroacoustic media, employing field recordings, amplified found objects and computer-assisted transcription of environmental sounds. Recently, he was commissioned to produce a new work for the Groupe de Recherches Musicales (INA-GRM) in a co-production with Le Vivier. It will be completed as part of a residency at the GRM studios in Paris, where it will have its premiere in 2015. In 2014, Isomorphia was nominated for a JUNO Award for Classical Composition of the year. His works have been performed across North America, in Europe, New Zealand and Japan, and featured in various festivals. He received a Master of Music degree in composition from McGill University in 2014, studying with Philippe Leroux, where he also taught an introductory course in Electroacoustic composition.

The Sir Ernest MacMillan Awards
For compositions for no fewer than thirteen performers up to a full symphony orchestra, which may include vocal participation and may be scored to include electroacoustics

First Prize: $3,000 – James O’Callaghan, 26, Montreal, QC – Isomorphia, for orchestra and electronics

Bio listed under The John Weinzweig Grand Prize

Second Prize (shared): $1,125 – Matthew Ricketts, 28, New York, NY (originally from Victoria, BC) – Burrowed Time, for chamber ensemble of 15 players

Matthew Ricketts studied theory and composition at McGill University with Brian Cherney, Chris Paul Harman and John Rea, and is currently pursuing a DMA at Columbia University with George Lewis and Fred Lerdahl. He has won three previous SOCAN Foundation awards since 2010, including two first prizes for In What Language? and Graffiti Songs. In 2012 his opera No Masque for Good Measure (with a libretto by Lauren J. Rogener) was produced to great acclaim at Winnipeg’s Cluster New Music Festival. Activities this year include premieres with Ekmeles Vocal Ensemble in New York City and Argento Ensemble in California, as well as participating in the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne’s 2014 FORUM in Montreal.

Second Prize (shared): $1,125 – Luke Nickel, 25, Winnipeg, MB – whole beauty now lies in memory, for soprano and wind ensemble

Luke Nickel is an experimental composer currently pursuing a PhD in music composition at Bath Spa University in Bath, UK, under the tutelage of Prof. James Saunders. He began his career composing traditionally notated works for various ensembles, including the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the McGill Wind Symphony and the Harrington/Loewen Duo. Lately he has begun to investigate other forms of notation, leading to experimental works that defy the boundaries of music and performance art, encouraging a mode of listening more focused on experience.

Third Prize: $750 – Alec Hall, 29, New York, NY – HyperWarp, for ensemble of 13 players

Alec Hall is a native of Toronto and lives in New York City, where he is enrolled in the Doctor of Musical Arts program at Columbia University. He holds a Master’s degree in composition from the University of California, San Diego. His works have been performed throughout Europe and North America, including premieres by Ensemble Intercontemporain, Talea Ensemble and the JACK Quartet. He has won five prizes in the SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers and was a finalist in the 2011 Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music. Since 2010, he has been the co-founder/director of Qubit, a New York-based organization promoting new experimental music and technologies.

The Serge Garant Awards
For instrumental compositions for a minimum of three performers to a maximum of twelve, with or without voices and/or electroacoustics

First Prize: $2,225 – Eliot Britton, 30, Winnipeg, MB – Metatron, for amplified percussion ensemble and electronics

Eliot Britton integrates avant-garde electronica and instrumental music with an energetic and colourful personal language. His creative output expresses an eclectic musical experience, including sound designer/producer, orchestral and jazz performer, DJ, technical director, and sometimes instrument builder. He is currently finishing a PhD in music research and composition in the Schulich School of Music at McGill University under the supervision of Sean Ferguson. Britton has worked as a course lecturer, studio assistant and composer in residence for McGill’s Contemporary Music Ensemble, Digital Composition Studios, Wind Symphony and Percussion Ensembles.

Second Prize: $1,500 – Stephen Spencer, 23, Montreal, QC – Méditations dans l’urgence, for violin, horn and piano

Stephen Spencer is a Master’s student in the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, where he studies composition with Brian Cherney and Philippe Leroux. Although his main focus is electroacoustic music, he is an active jazz pianist and improviser, and he regularly performs improvised music in Montreal. His music can be described as an attempt to unite lyricism with abrasion; he often seeks to discover a type of beauty using sounds that are not normally considered beautiful. His recent musical interests include developing new frameworks for electroacoustic improvisation, creating new models for transcribing and analyzing improvised music, and the perception and cognition of musical timbre.

Third Prize (shared): $750 – Julien-Robert Legault Salvail, 29, Montreal, QC – Flash point, for violin, cello, flute, clarinet, piano and electronics

Julien-Robert Legault Salvail uses technology to integrate video into his mixed music. He has composed commissioned works for ECM+, Ensemble Paramirabo, Vidéographe, [iks] and the SMCQ. His dance and short film music has been performed in many festivals including the Cannes Short Film Corner, the Rendez-Vous du Cinéma Québécois and the Juste pour rire festival. In 2009, he completed a Master’s degree in mixed music at the University of Montreal under the direction of Denis Gougeon and Jean Piché, as part of a mixed music/video project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Third Prize (shared): $750 – Carmen Vanderveken, 21, Montreal, QC – Les actes de discours, for wind quintet and tape

Carmen Vanderveken started studying classical piano at the age of five. Having completed her college-level performance training at École de musique Vincent-d’Indy, she is now an undergraduate student at the Montreal Music Conservatory, where she is studying instrumental composition with Michel Gonneville. This new direction developed organically as music composition acquired increasing importance in the artist’s output over recent years.

The Pierre Mercure Awards
For solo or duet compositions, with or without voices and/or electroacoustics

First Prize (shared): $1,500 - Symon Henry, 29, Montreal, QC – Que mon silence portera à son plus petit doigt, for percussion solo

Bio listed under The John Weinzweig Grand Prize

First Prize (shared): $1,500 – Thierry Tidrow, 27, Ottawa, ON – Violon et clarinette

Thierry Tidrow obtained his Bachelor of Music degrees in honours composition and theory in the Schulich School of Music at McGill University, and in 2011 he received his Master’s degree from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, where he studied under Richard Ayres. In June 2013 he completed his Advanced Studies diploma at the Hochschule für Musik Freiburg under Brice Pauset. He has collaborated with many ensembles, including the Asko-Schönberg Ensemble, the New York Miniature Ensemble, the Bozzini String Quartet, Berlin’s Ensemble Apparat and the Dutch National Opera Academie (DNOA), which premiered his opera Less Truth More Telling in January 2013.

Second Prize: $1,500 – Remy Siu, 23, Vancouver, BC – maybe, whisper, for amplified voice, violin and piano

Remy Siu studied at Simon Fraser University Contemporary Arts with David MacIntyre, Owen Underhill, Jeffrey Ryan and Barry Truax. His work has been performed by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Victoria Symphony, Turning Point Ensemble, Erato Ensemble and Quatuor Bozzini. He also composes and performs with Dissonant Disco (a Vancouver music collective) and Hong Kong Exile (an interdisciplinary art collective). He has worked with Henry Daniel, Steven Hill, Rob Kitsos and MACHiNENOiSY, among others in the Vancouver arts community. The Vancouver Sun described his music as “characterized by vibrant, driving rhythms and brash sonorities.”

Third Prize: $750 – Taylor Brook, 28, Toronto, ON – Sui Generis, for steel-string acoustic guitar with electronics

Taylor Brook has studied composition with Brian Cherney in Montreal, Luc Brewaeys in Brussels, and Richard Carrick and George Lewis in New York. He has also studied Hindustani musical performance in Kolkata, India, with Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya. His music is often concerned with finely tuned microtonal sonorities. He has won numerous awards and prizes for his compositions, including four SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers. His music has been performed by ensembles and soloists such as Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, Quatour Bozzini, Talea Ensemble and Ascolta Ensemble. He holds a Master’s degree in music composition from McGill University. He currently resides in New York, where he is pursuing a doctorate in music composition at Columbia University with Georg Haas and serving as Assistant Conductor to Jeffrey Milarsky and the Columbia University Orchestra.

The Godfrey Ridout Awards
For works of any number of voices with or without instrumentation and/or electroacoustics

First Prize: $3,000 – Luke Nickel, 25, Winnipeg, MB – Kyrie, for SATB choir

Bio listed under The Sir Ernest MacMillan Awards

Second Prize: $1,500 – Cecilia Alexandra Livingston, 29, Toronto, ON – Two Dreams, for soprano and string quartet

Cecilia Livingston explores memory, place, childhood, and solitude, in a lush yet spare musical language that reveals the strange made familiar and the familiar made strange. Her first one-act opera on Edgar Allan Poe’s Masque of the Red Death was premiered by Opera 5 in Toronto in October 2013 and her music has been heard at Eastman’s Women In Music Festival, the Vancouver International Song Institute, the Scotia Festival of Music, Tapestry Opera’s Composer-Librettist Laboratory, and the Canadian Contemporary Music Workshop. Upcoming projects include work with Opera 5, FAWN Opera, and Young Voices Toronto. Her doctoral research in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music, supervised by Christos Hatzis, explores the interactions of the grotesque and the sublime in 20th-century opera, with a particular focus on the connections between these and minimalism, text-setting, and musical silence.

Third Prize: $750 – Thierry Tidrow, 27, Ottawa, ON – Less Truth More Telling, an opera for four singers and large ensemble

Bio listed under The Pierre Mercure Awards

The Hugh Le Caine Awards
For live or recorded electroacoustics, where the intended performance is, at least in part, through loudspeakers. Works in this category may be multi-media and may include acoustic instruments or voices, live or pre-recorded. The principal element in the work must be electroacoustic

First Prize: Not Awarded

Second Prize (shared): $1,500 – Charles-Philippe Tremblay-Bégin, 23, Montreal, QC – Valsalva

Before completing his B.A. at the Montreal Music Conservatory, Charles-Philippe Tremblay-Bégin discovered the world of composition through Michel Tétrault at Cégep de Saint-Laurent. As a member of the Projet-K collective, he is now completing, under the Conservatory’s Serge Provost, a Master’s degree dealing primarily with computer-assisted composition and the use of new technologies. His musical material and its formal application are frequently based on extra-musical data, showing an approach to music as a metaphor for reality.

Second Prize (shared): $1,500 – Pierre-Luc Lecours, 30, Montreal, QC – Impacts discret

Pierre-Luc Lecours began his music career as a guitarist and composer for the Music for Money experimental group, with whom he produced three albums and nearly 100 concerts. He also creates program music and film, theatre, digital application and advertising sound designs. Having developed an interest in electroacoustic music in his earlier capacity as his band’s songwriter, he is now enrolled in the University of Montreal’s electroacoustic composition program.

Third Prize (shared): $750 – Enzo Marceau, 22, Montreal, QC – Irezumi

Enzo Marceau first studied drumming as his main instrument, and later pursued his musical training in jazz performance. As he completed an Attestation of College Studies (AEC) in Scoring and Recording, he discovered electroacoustic composition as one of Gilles Gobeil’s students. Highly curious about this genre, he attended the University of Montreal and developed his technical abilities and unique style under the direction of Georges Forget, Martin Bédard and Robert Normandeau.

Third Prize (shared): $750 – Guillaume Barrette, 26, Montreal, QC – Résurgence, for guitar and tape

After completing the Music and Natural Science program of Cégep de Sainte-Foy, near Quebec City, Guillaume Barrette combined his fields of interests by entering a University of Montreal electroacoustic music composition program. A first- and third-prize winner in the 2010 and 2012 editions of the SOCAN Foundation’s Awards for Young Composers, he was a two-time finalist (2011 and 2009) in the JTTP (Jeu de temps/Times Play) competition. In 2010, he pursued his creative interests at De Montfort University in Leicester (U.K.), and is now completing, under the supervision of Jean Piché, a Master’s degree involving the designing of an augmented guitar to be used for compositional purposes.