Composition Competition has Phenominal Judges

Youth Composition Competition, Judge Bios -Senior Division

Violettes' 2nd Annual Composition Competition for Youth has a phenominal line up of judges. Excerpts from the senior composition judges bios are below. All judges are volunteers, and we are extremely grateful for their "giving back" attitudes.

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Last year, for the composition competition, we were lucky to have Grammy Award winning Maestro Lucas Richman to give careful review of the students' scores. We also enjoyed the creative comments from Composer/Writer/Klezmer-Jazz Band Leader Paul Brody.

This year our Volunteer Judges for the Senior Division Composition entries (ages 15 thru 17) are Richard Prior and Esteban  Alvarez. For more detailed bios, please see their web sites.

Richard Prior, Composition Competition Judge

Youth Composition Competition; Richard Prior Volunteer Judge for Violettes' 2nd Annual Composition Competition, Senior Division

Award-winning conductor and composer, Richard Prior is Senior Lecturer in Composition and Director of Orchestral Studies at Emory University where he holds the Edward Goodwin Scruggs Chair and conducts the Emory University and Youth Symphony orchestras. In addition to his conducting duties at Emory University, Prior is also conductor of the Rome Symphony Orchestra (GA) where he holds the Georgia Power Conducting Chair.

His musical training began in his native England, where he received degrees in composition and conducting from Leeds and Nottingham Universities. He has taught at several universities and colleges in the United States and at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford University where he was the 1997 Visiting Fellow in Music.

From music written as a high school student performed in the presence of Queen Elizabeth II to his professional debut in 1988 at London’s Westminster Abbey, Prior’s music has been performed, recorded, and broadcast widely in Europe and North America.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra commissioned …of shadow and light… (incantations for orchestra) which premiered in October, 2013. Subsequent critical review called the work “forbidding and dramatic”, “stunning” and “jubilant and exuberant”; the piece identified Prior as “perhaps the most gifted of the Atlanta composers” citing his mastery of orchestration, lyricism and musical drama. The ASO will present three performances of his Symphony No. 3 in their 2014-2015 Season under the direction of Robert Spano, a work also featured at the finale of Northwestern University’s 2013-2014 Season under the direction of Victor Yampolsky. Reviews and commentary from the Chicago/Midwest premiere called Prior “a symphonic sorcerer” and “one of the most badass composers of all time”.

Esteban Alvarez, Composition Competition Judge

Youth Composition Competition Volunteer Judge for Violettes' 2nd Annual Composition Competition, Senior Division

Esteban Alvarez was born and raised in San Jose, Costa Rica. His passion for music began at the age of 9 when his father brought home a small electronic keyboard. Fascinated by this, Esteban started to play by ear and to compose simple melodies. A year later Esteban began his music studies with Prof. Omar Arroyo. Under his teaching Esteban became proficient at the Electone Organ and electronic keyboard, as well as enhancing Esteban's skill to improvise and multi-tracking recording. At the age of 18 Esteban began his studies in Physics as well as Music at the University of Costa Rica, where he learned the basics of classical music. At the age of 20, he was selected to arrange and conduct the music for the Escazu Folk-Music band at the SIVO Music Festival celebrated in Central Europe

As a composer, Esteban has written music for small ensembles, orchestra, large ensembles, and chamber groups. In 2007 and 2008 Esteban wrote the songs for the National Peace Program of Costa Rica, and the Organization of Costa Rica & Nicaragua. These songs received special awards by Dr. Oscar Arias, Nobel Peace Laureate and President of Costa Rica at that time. In 2008 Esteban traveled to Guatemala, Qatar, and Nepal to represent Costa Rica performing in National Music Festivals, as well as speaking about peace and education. In 2009 Esteban was awarded with the UNT-DC scholarship to work in the Congress of the USA, as well as to serve as a Cultural Attache intern for Costa Rica embassy in Washington D.C.

After completing his master's degree, Esteban relocated to Austin (Texas), where he became a permanent member of the renowned local band "The Brew" as a musical arranger and pianist. Due to his performance and achievements, the Department of Homeland Security entitled him with an O-1 Visa (a nonimmigrant visa for the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics).

Esteban has also been nominated "Good Will Ambassador" and guest Artist to the International Peace Foundation, based in Hong Kong. Esteban has appeared several times in solo concerts during 2012 and 2013 in Hong Kong.


As composition competition judges, these two gentlemen will write constructive comments on the student entries and decide between them the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place senior winners.

Remember that 1st prize for this competition is $1,000!


For Competition Guidelines, See this LINK.

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