December 9, 2004
Okay, so I pretty much never win anything. I won the New York Youth Symphony’s First Music competition in 1999, and that was a thrill, because it meant a commission and a world premiere in Carnegie Hall.
But that was just about it. And it wasn’t for lack of trying.
I entered the ASCAP young composer competition every year from the time I was about 16 years old. Year after year, I lost. And it’s not like they only give one, two, or three prizes. Every year, there are, like, 20 or more winners. And every year, I wasn’t one of them. Each year I’d think, “maybe this is The Piece.”
But it wasn’t, as I’d learn when that rejection letter would show up with the typical “there were so many strong entries this year, and the judges were impressed by everybody but you.”
You can only enter the ASCAP competition through the age of 29, and finally, at the age of 29, the panel took pity on my string of losses and gave me an award for the orchestra version of “Redline Tango.” I lost almost 15 years in a row, though. I was the Susan Lucci of young composers.
The point of all of this history is that I just found out that I won the 2004 Walter Beeler Memorial Composition Prize. This is pretty thrilling, and I’m psyched. It’s the biggest prize I’ve ever won, and in addition to the award, there’s a performance by the Ithaca College Wind Ensemble and a professionaly-produced recording.
So, it’s a good day. Plus, in a few hours, I’m getting a haircut! Quite a fine day, indeed.