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Alain Barker
IU Jacobs School of Music

Linda Cajigas
IU Jacobs School of Music

Last modified: Tuesday, June 5, 2007

National composer awards go to four IU students

June 5, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Three Indiana University Jacobs School of Music composition students and one alumnus have been named winners in the 55th Annual BMI Student Composer Awards competition. No other school or university had more than one winner.

BMI Awards Chairman Milton Babbitt (left), stands with Eric Guinivan, Matthew Peterson, Bryan Christian, BMI President Del Bryant, Clint Needham, and BMI Foundation President Ralph N. Jackson.

Print-Quality Photo

IU captured four of the total 11 awards that went to young classical composers ranging in age from 15 to 25.

Indiana University students Bryan Christian, 22, Clint Needham, 25, and Matthew Peterson, 22, won three of the awards. IU alumnus Eric Guinivan, 23, who now studies at the University of Southern California, took home the fourth award.

Needham also was named the winner of the William Schuman Prize, which is awarded to the score judged "most outstanding" in the competition.

In 2005, two IU Jacobs School of Music students walked away with BMI Student Composer Awards.

"Held annually since 1951, the BMI Student Composer Awards are perhaps the most prestigious of the young composer contests in the Western Hemisphere," said David Dzubay, chair of the composition department in the IU Jacobs School of Music and director of the New Music Ensemble.

The BMI Student Composer Awards recognize superior creative talent and winners receive scholarship grants to be applied toward their musical education. In 2007, more than 400 manuscripts were submitted to the competition from throughout the Western Hemisphere, and all works were judged under pseudonyms. Cash awards totaled $20,000.

"We are proud to have Clint Needham, Matthew Peterson, Bryan Christian and alum Eric Guinivan representing the Jacobs School of Music Composition Department so well," Dzubay said. "IU composition majors have won 29 BMI Student Composer Awards over the years, including at least one nearly every year since 1987.

"Though awards are not the goal of our program, I believe the emphasis the department places on performance of compositions, on working intensively with the talented performers in the Jacobs School, leads to the creation of music that is effective and worthy of the kind of recognition that the BMI awards provide," Dzubay continued.

BMI has given 514 scholarship grants to young composers over the years, and many of today's most prominent and active classical composers received their first recognition from the BMI Student Composer Awards. Eleven former winners have gone on to win the coveted Pulitzer Prize in music.

The BMI Student Composer Awards competition is co-sponsored by BMI and the BMI Foundation, Inc. The BMI Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1985 to support the creation, performance and study of music through awards, scholarships, commissions and grants.

For a complete list of winners and their biographical information, go to: