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Music Grad Student Wins First Prize in Ninth American Modern Ensemble Composition Competition

Winning work by Vincent Gover to be performed in New York concert next April

Vincent Gover, a master’s student in the music composition program at SMU Meadows School of the Arts, won first place in the American Modern Ensemble (AME) Ninth Annual Composition Competition in August. Gover won in the Tier 1 (young artist, ages 22 and under) category for his seven-and-a-half-minute long composition Brook’s Release. Inspired by a summer trip to Colorado, the piece evokes the wide-ranging movement of a river from quiet flow to rapid whitewater, blending excitement, humor and energy.

Winners of the Tier 2 (emerging artist, ages 18-35) and Tier III (professional, all ages) categories were Gabriella Smith and John Fitz Rogers, respectively.

In addition to receiving a cash prize, the three winners will have their pieces performed by the AME in a New York concert in April 2016 and will receive an archival recording.

“I’m truly honored that the American Modern Ensemble selected my piece as their Tier I winner,” said Gover. “I know they’ll give a wonderful performance of my work, and I can’t wait to be there!”

This year’s contest drew 181 entries from North, Central and South America. The judges were nationally acclaimed composers Margaret Brouwer, Steven Burke and Robert Paterson, AME’s artistic director.

Gover, who earned a Bachelor of Music in composition and horn performance at SMU Meadows in 2014, is no stranger to awards. As a freshman in January 2011, he had his composition Children’s Suite performed at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., by the Saxony-Anhalt Brass Quintet, an ensemble of principal performers from German orchestras on a U.S. tour.  Later that year, he was named 2011-12 William H. Lively Student Composer in Residence with the Irving Symphony in Irving, Texas. Gover has studied with such award-winning composers as Robert Paterson, David Ludwig, Xi Wang, Paul Rudy and Robert J. Frank and has had works performed throughout the U.S., including in Dallas, Philadelphia and Baltimore.

About the American Modern Ensemble

Founded in New York in 2005, the American Modern Ensemble is a contemporary classical music ensemble that spotlights American music via lively thematic programming, performing a wide repertoire by living composers. The mission of AME is to create definitive performances of the highest caliber for the widest possible audience base. It supports its mission by presenting live concerts, making recordings and presenting premieres. AME also conducts an annual competition for composers of all ages. Winners receive a performance with a recording, videography and cash awards.

About the SMU Meadows Division of Music Composition Program

SMU Meadows School of the Arts offers Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees in composition. With approximately 300 music majors within the Division of Music, composition students write for solo instruments, voice and ensembles. Students are offered considerable individual attention and direct access to facilities, guests and collaborators, as well as the camaraderie that only an exceptional program of small size can offer. Admission is very selective for the composition degree program.

Student composers frequently collaborate with Meadows students in dance, theater, creative computation, video and film for performances in a wide variety of venues both on and off campus. In addition to a robust classical music program, students also benefit from the Division of Music’s active commitment to new music performance and state-of-the-art electronic and computer music. The program of study is flexible and designed to encourage independent stylistic development, technical skill and artistic excellence.

Faculty consists of active, internationally known composers, including Robert J. Frank, Kevin Hanlon and Xi Wang. All composition majors study with faculty from the first lesson – not with graduate students. Frequent guest composers are a regular part of studies in the Meadows School of the Arts, and students have opportunities to make personal connections with composers when they are in Dallas to premiere works with the Dallas Symphony, Voices of Change and other professional ensembles.

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