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ABA Sousa/Ostwald Award

A history of the American Bandmasters Association's annual Sousa/Ostwald Award for best new composition for symphonic band.

Peter Graham (2002)

2002: Peter Graham, Harrison's Dream

Peter Graham was born in 1958 in Lanarkshire, Scotland, and currently teaches composition at the University of Salford. He has previously served as Music Associate with the famous Black Dyke Band (1997–2004) and as composer-in-residence with Her Majesty's Coldstream Guards Band. Graham received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Edinburgh, and a PhD in composition from University of London’s Goldsmiths College, where he studied with Edward Gregson.

Graham has worked regularly as an arranger for BBC Television and Radio and has specialized in composition for the British style brass band. He lived briefly in New York City where he served as a freelance composer, arranger, and publications editor with the S.A. Music Bureau.

Graham’s compositions have been recorded and performed by many of the world’s leading ensembles, including the Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra and the Royal Norwegian Navy Band. His album of xylophone music commissioned for virtuoso Evelyn Glennie by BMG/RCA Red Label, was nominated as Best Classical Crossover Album at the 1999 Grammy Awards held in Los Angeles.

Harrison's Dream, commissioned by the United States Air Force Band in Washington, D.C., won the 2002 ABA Ostwald Award for composition. The work is inspired by clockmaker John Harrison’s efforts to develop a life-saving nautical navigation instrument in the early 1700s. 

Recordings at SCPA

  • ABA Archives 2002, U.S. Air Force Concert Band, ABA 68th Annual Convention, 2002
  • ABA Archives, U.S. Air Force Concert Band, Signatures
  • Midwest 2003, Tokyo Kosei Wind Orchestra, Live in Chicago, 4341
  • ABAD2982 CD, Brigham Young University Wind Symphony, [March 2, 2005]

John Mackey (2005, 2009)

2005: John Mackey, Redline Tango

2009: John Mackey, Aurora Awakes

John Mackey (b. 1973) holds degrees from the Juilliard School and the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with John Corigliano and Donald Erb, respectively. He has received commissions from the Alvin Ailey Dance Company, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, the Parsons Dance Company, the New York Youth Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, the Dallas Theater Center, New York City Ballet, the Dallas Wind Symphony, the American Bandmasters Association, and many universities, high schools, middle schools, and military bands. His trombone concerto, Harvest, composed for New York Philharmonic principal trombonist Joseph Alessi, has received dozens of performances worldwide and been commercially recorded three times. Mackey has served as composer-in-residence at the Cabrillo Contemporary Music Festival, the Vail Valley Music Festival, and with youth orchestras in Minneapolis and Seattle.

Mackey won the ABA/Ostwald Prize in 2005 for Redline Tango, an arrangement for wind ensemble of a work originally commissioned by the Brooklyn Philharmonic. He received the Ostwald Award again in 2009 for Aurora Awakes, which also received the NBA/Revelli Prize. Mackey was inducted into the American Bandmasters Association in 2013.

Recordings at SCPA

Redline Tango

  • ABAR3233 CD (Michalski collection), Kansas University Wind Ensemble, Redline Tango
  • ABAR3354 CD, Dallas Wind Symphony, ABA 72nd Annual Convention, 2006
  • Midwest 2006, Dallas Wind Symphony, 6796-MCD

Aurora Awakes

  • ABAR3204 CD, Ithaca College Wind Ensemble, ABA 77th Annual Convention, 2011
  • Midwest 2009, San Jose Wind Symphony, 8552-MCD

Michael Daugherty (2007)

2007: Michael Daugherty, Raise the Roof

Born into a musical family in Iowa, Michael Daugherty (b. 1954) earned degrees in music composition from North Texas State University, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Yale School of Music, where he studied with Jacob Druckman, Earle Brown, and Roger Reynolds. Since 1992, he has taught composition at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Daugherty has been a composer-in-residence with numerous orchestras, including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, and has received commissions from dozens of ensembles in the United States and Europe. The League of American Orchestras reports that he is one of the ten most performed living American composers. Daugherty has received numerous awards, distinctions, and fellowships for his music, including the Kennedy Center Friedheim Award for his compositions Snap! and Blue Like an Orange, fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, the Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and three Grammy awards.

Many of Daugherty’s compositions draw from jazz and popular music and are directly inspired by popular culture, including his Metropolis Symphony, Dead Elvis, and Jackie O. Raise the Roof, a concerto for timpani and concert band which won the ABA Ostwald Award in 2007, was commissioned and premiered by the University of Michigan Symphonic Band. The composer notes that the work was inspired by the construction of grand architectural wonders such as the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and the Empire State Building in New York City.

Recordings at SCPA

  • ABAR3364 CD, The United States Army Field Band, ABA 74th Annual Convention, 2008
  • ABAR3195 CD, Rutgers Wind Ensemble, Strange Humors
  • Midwest 2007, Marcus High School Wind Symphony, 7316-MCD

Yo Goto (2011)

2011: Yo Goto, Songs for Wind Ensemble

Yo Goto (b. 1958) is currently the executive director of the Japan Academic Society of Wind Music and a committee member of the Japan Band Clinic. He received his bachelor of music education degree from Yamagata University and a performance diploma from the Tokyo College of Music, where he studied composition with Shin-ichiro Ikebe. At the University of North Texas, he studied composition with Cindy McTee and earned his MM and MME degrees.

Goto has held clinics and guest-conducted at several international conferences, including the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles (WASBE) and the Midwest Clinic, and has won awards for conducting and composition including the Academy Award from the Academic Society of Japan for Winds and Band in 2000.

His Songs for Wind Ensemble, commissioned by the Hamamatsu Cultural Foundation in Japan, won the American Bandmasters Association Ostwald Award in 2011. This piece calls for 24 parts, each played by a single player, and features soloists performing melodies freely.

Recordings at SCPA

  • ABAR3252 CD, United States Army Field Band & Soldiers' Chorus, 78th Annual Convention, 2012

Michael Gandolfi (2012)

2012: Michael Gandolfi, Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme

Michael James Gandolfi (b. 1956) is chair of the composition department at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he also earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Gandolfi studied with Leonard Bernstein and Oliver Knussen as a fellow in 1986 at the Tanglewood Music Center, where he is now the coordinator of the composition department. He has served on the faculty of Harvard University, Indiana University, and the Phillips Academy at Andover and was composer in residence with the New England Philharmonic.

Gandolfi’s works have been performed by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the New World Symphony, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and many others.

Flourishes and Meditations on a Renaissance Theme, a work concert band that won the ABA Ostwald award in 2012, was commissioned by the “President’s Own” United States Marine Band. The piece contains seven variations on an anonymous Renaissance melody called Spagnoletta.

Recordings at SCPA

  • ABAR3208 CD, United States Marine Band, ABA 77th Annual Convention, 2011
  • ABAR3242 CD, U.S. Marine Band "The President's Own," Flourishes and Meditations

Aaron Perrine (2013)

2013: Aaron Perrine, Pale Blue on Deep

Born in McGregor, Minnesota, in 1979, Aaron Perrine earned his bachelor's degree in trombone performance and music education with high distinction from the University of Minnesota at Morris and a master’s of music in composition from the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis, where he studied composition with Judith Zaimont and jazz arranging with Dean Sorenson. Perrine is currently pursuing his PhD in composition from the University of Iowa, studying with David Gompper and Lawrence Fritts.

Perrine has received many awards as a student and professional, including the Edna Murphy Morrison Award, Daisy Hansen Award, Chancellor's Award, and multiple awards in composition from the Minnesota Music Educators Association while he was studying at the University of Minnesota at Morris. His works for concert band include April, which was a finalist in the Frank Ticheli Composition Contest, and Pale Blue on Deep, which won the 2013 American Bandmasters Association Ostwald Award. The composer describes Pale Blue on Deep as a reflection of the “power and serene beauty” of Lake Superior.

Recordings at SCPA

  • ABAR3582 CD, University of South Carolina Wind Ensemble, 80th Annual ABA Convention, 2014

Steven Bryant (2014)

2014: Steven Bryant, Concerto for Alto Saxophone

Steven Bryant (b. 1972) is a composer and conductor of works for wind ensemble, orchestra, electronics, and chamber music. He has studied composition with John Corigliano at the Juilliard School, Cindy McTee at the University of North Texas, and Francis McBeth at Ouachita University.

Bryant has received commissions from the Juilliard Orchestra, the Indiana University Wind Ensemble, the US Air Force Band of Mid-America, the Calgary Stampede Band, and other ensembles. The National Band Association has awarded Bryant the William D. Revelli Award for three compositions: Radiant Joy, Suite Dreams, and Ecstatic Waters.

Commissioned by Howard J. Gourwitz as a gift to saxophonist Joseph Lulloff and the Michigan State University Wind Symphony, Bryant’s Concerto for Alto Saxophone won the 2014 Sousa/Ostwald Award. The three movements of the work are based on a single motive derived from the opening notes of Paul Creston's Sonata for Alto Saxophone. Bryant has written that he “strove to create a work that explores and celebrates the idiomatic characteristics of the saxophone.”