SAN FRANCISCO – December 5, 2015 – The winners of Chanticleer’s fifth Student Composer Competition are San Francisco School of the Arts high schooler Elio Bucky for “Shalom!” and Estonian Academy of Music and Theater student Karin Kuulpak for “Journey.” The competition is designed to encourage current composition students to write quality works for high school-level choirs.   The winning compositions will be premiered at Chanticleer’s second National Youth Choral Festival on March 30, 2015 at Davies Symphony Hall by more than 300 high schoolers from across the United States.   

Winner Elio Bucky is a senior at the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts.  He was introduced to choral music as a member of the San Francisco Boys Chorus and continues to sing as a member of the Asawa SOTA Vocal Department.  He is currently the Vocal Department’s Student Conductor.  “Shalom!” is a setting of two Jewish folksongs, quoting both “Shalom Chaverim” and “Hevenu Shalom Aleichem.”

Winner Karin Kuulpak is majoring in choral conducting at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater in Tallinn.  Among other groups, she sings with the Estonian TV Girls’ Choir and is president of their singers’ board.  About her winning composition, “Journey,” she says, “It’s a song about making your own decisions and following your dreams.  In today’s busy world full of confusion and violence, it’s important to stay on your path and not let anyone take you down.”

The competition drew 70 submissions from international and domestic students, representing 12 countries and 19 states.  Due to the quantity and quality of submissions, the following 8 competitors are named as finalists:

  • Kari Betton, from Columbia College Chicago for “Morning Psalm”
  • Yie-Eun Chun from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music for “Misty Sunrise”
  • Ed Frazier Davis from Chicago College of Performing Arts for “My Beloved Spoke”
  • Ronald Harris from University of North Texas at Denton for “O, My Soul”
  • Jihyun Kim from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music for “Lullaby for Sleepless Nights”
  • Julie LeDuc from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music for “Kyrie”
  • Spencer Robelen from University of Miami’s Frost School of Music for “Like an Eagle”
  • Daniel Sabzghabaeil from University of North Texas at Denton for “Delbaré”

Requirements for the competition are that compositions must be for a cappella SATB High School level choir and three to five minutes in duration. The submitted work must not have had prior public performances or recordings. Only one work per composer was allowed.  Composers were currently enrolled as students at time of submission.  Works representing cultural heritage were encouraged.

Select finalists were offered a workshop opportunity with the Louis A. Botto (LAB) Choir, Chanticleer’s honors small ensemble for Bay Area singers ages 14-20.  The LAB Choir was able to make recordings of these works for the composers to use in furthering their careers.

Eric Barnum’s 2004 winning entry “She Walks in Beauty” was so successful that Chanticleer incorporated it into its touring program the following year.  The work is now published by Hinshaw Music.

Other winners and honorable mentions from past competitions include: Yi-Wen Chang (2009), Steve Kim (2008), Vicente Chavarria (2006), Erica Glenn (2006), Blake R. Henson (2006), Matthew Peterson (2006), Philip Rice (2006), Jorge Sosa (2006), and Dale Trumbore (2006), Mark Fromm (HM, 2006), Samuel Hunter (HM, 2006), Kelly Crandell (2001).