Melissa Dunphy wins Simon Carrington Chamber Singers Composition Competition
Lee Hartman of KCMETROPOLIS.org
April 13, 2010
Melissa Dunphy's new composition, "What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach?" has been selected as the winning work for the 2010 Simon Carrington Chamber Singers Composition Competition. The Philadelphia-based composer's choral work sets excerpts of public testimony given before the Maine Senate by Phillip Spooner in a hearing to discuss the Marriage Equality Bill on April 22, 2009.
Melissa Dunphy's new composition, What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach? has been selected as the winning work for the 2010 Simon Carrington Chamber Singers Composition Competition. The Philadelphia-based composer's choral work sets excerpts of public testimony given before the Maine Senate by Phillip Spooner in a hearing to discuss the Marriage Equality Bill on April 22, 2009. Nearly 4,000 people attended the hearing, with marriage equality supporters out-numbering the opposition 4 to 1. On November 2, 2009, Maine voters repealed the bill which allowed same-sex couples the right to marry.
The double world premiere of What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach? is scheduled for the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers' May 29 performances at Grace and Holy Trinity in Kansas City, MO and First Presbyterian Church in Lawrence, KS. The piece was selected from a pool of over 100 submissions, from over 70 composers, hailing from 10 different countries. In addition to having the piece premiered by the Simon Carrington Chamber Singers, Dunphy will also receive a cash prize.
Dunphy states: "What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach? is based on an impassioned speech by a World War II veteran, given in testimony before the Maine Senate on the Marriage Equality Bill. I hope my setting does some justice to how deeply moving his words were to me, and how important they are for all Americans as we strive to uphold the ideals of our nation - freedom and equality."
In choosing the work from a narrowed-down, committee-selected pool of nine finalists, music director and conductor Simon Carrington gave his reasoning behind selecting Dunphy's work as the winner. "There were plenty of excellent pieces in the sweet-sounding modern idiom which SCCS would make very beautiful, but the strongest (and most individual) piece was Melissa Dunphy's What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach? - a bold and highly effective setting of a thought-provoking text."
2010 Simon Carrington Composition Competition Finalists:
WINNER Melissa Dunphy: What do you think I fought for at Omaha Beach?
Philadelphia, PA, USA
Richard McIntyre: Bibamus, Moriendum Est
Phillipsburg, NJ, USA
Kentaro Sato: Gloria from Missa Pro Pace
Hamamatsu, Shizuoka, Japan
Robert Pherigo: If you can't eat
Olathe, KS, USA
John White: Maria Laudate
Westminster, CO, USA
Ivo Antognini: Nunc Dimittis
Dominick DiOrio: O Virtus Sapientiae
Houston, TX, USA
Keith Clark: Ubi Caritas
Portland, OR, USA
Michael Gilbertson: Weep You No More
New York City, NY, USA
ABOUT MELISSA DUNPHY
Melissa Dunphy (b. 1980) has composed in a wide range of styles and mediums, particularly in the realm of theatre. Her nationally acclaimed large-scale choral work The Gonzales Cantata (www.gonzalescantata.com) was performed at the 2009 Philadelphia Fringe Festival and received rave press and reviews from The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Harper's Magazine, and MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, who featured the Cantata twice on The Rachel Maddow Show and called it "the coolest thing you will ever see on this show." Melissa received an honorable mention in the 2009 ASCAP Lotte Lehmann Foundation Art Song Competition for her song for baritone Black Thunder, which was premiered in 2008 at the Kimmel Center by Network for New Music. Her electroacoustic piece Insects was featured at the 2009 FEASt Festival in Florida, the 2009 Beauty, Horror and Silence Festival in Florida, and the 2010 SEAMUS National Conference in St. Cloud, Minnesota. She is the composer in residence of the Immaculata Symphony Orchestra, who premiered her Jack and the Beanstalk suite for orchestra and youth choir at their annual youth concert in February 2010.
Melissa was awarded an Associate Diploma in viola performance from the Australian Music Examinations Board at age 16. She has a Bachelor of Music (summa cum laude, Pi Kappa Lambda) from West Chester University, where she was a recipient of the Harry Wilkinson Music Theory Scholarship, the Charles S. and Margherita Gangemi Memorial Scholarship for excellence in music theory and composition, and the Janice Weir Etshied '50 Scholarship for academic excellence. She is currently undertaking doctoral studies in composition at the University of Pennsylvania on a Benjamin Franklin Fellowship. Her instructors have included Robert Maggio, Larry Nelson, Van Stiefel, Jim Primosch, and Jay Reise.
Melissa is also an accomplished actor, recognized in Philadelphia as "unquestionably the city's leading Shakespeare ingénue." [Philadelphia Inquirer]
For more information visit: http://www.melissadunphy.com
ABOUT THE SIMON CARRINGTON CHAMBER SINGERS
The Simon Carrington Chamber Singers enriches the Kansas City culture through its promotion of excellence in choral music. The ensemble's various activities - from concerts and recordings to commissioning projects and educational programs - aim to extend to our community the vital aesthetic sustenance that music offers. Careful selection of singers from around the United States and Canada allows us to create the specific sound that most accurately reflects the musical ideals of Artistic Director Simon Carrington: a clear, bright sound with a measured use of vibrato which allows for a clear and communicative delivery of the text.
For more information visit http://www.simoncarringtonchambersingers.com