2016 ISB / David Walter Composition Competition

The International Society of Bassists biennial composition competition is dedicated to the memory of double bassist David Walter, a longtime ISB member, performing artist, composer and renowned educator.

Results of the 2016 ISB / David Walter Composition Competition

Robert Black, chair of the judges' panel for the 2016 ISB/David Walter Composition Competition, along with fellow judges Karol Kowal and Susan Cahill, announces the winners of the 2016 competition. There were three divisions: unaccompanied solo bass; chamber ensemble for one double bass with up to four additional instruments; and bass ensemble for two to eight double basses.

The biennial competition, which honors the memory of double bass educator and performer David Walter, is open to all composers. The ISB renamed the competition as a tribute to his legacy in 2004.

All entries, submitted anonymously, are unpublished works in any style that have not been given a formal world premiere, although previous workshop-style performances are permitted. The grand prize in each division is $1,000 and a premiere performance at the 2017 ISB Convention, to be held June 4th-10th at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York.

The winners of the 2016 ISB/David Walter Composition Competition are:

Unaccompanied Solo Bass

No Grand Prize was named.

Honorable Mention:
Don't Be Shy by Larry Rubin, Somerville, Massachusetts, USA

Chamber Ensemble

Grand Prize:
Vidi l'angelo nel marmo (for soprano and double bass) by Katherine Balch, New Haven, Connecticut, USA

Katherine Balch

Katherine Balch received her B.A/ B.M in the Tufts/ New England Conservatory double degree program, where she double majored in history and political science at Tufts and studied composition at NEC. Her principal teachers were Kati Agócs, John McDonald, and Stratis Minakakis. She recently completed her M.M at Yale School of Music as a Charles H. Ditson fellow, where she studied with Aaron Jay Kernis, Chris Theofanidis and David Lang, and will begin her D.M.A in composition at Columbia University in the fall as a Dean's Fellow, studying with Georg Haas. She is a faculty member of the Walden School in Dublin, New Hampshire. Recent recognitions include fellowships from Aspen, Norfolk, and Fontainebleau music festivals, several ASCAP Morton Gould Awards, New England Conservatory's Donald Martino Prize, Fontainebleau's Prix du Composition, first prize in America Modern Ensemble's 8th annual Composition Competition, Yale's Alumni Association Prize and the Woods Chandler Memorial Prize.

Honorable Mentions:
Trois Pieces (for oboe and double bass) by Benoit Fortier, Quebec, Canada
Mandelbrot Sonata - (for double bass and piano) by Luis Augusto da Fonseca, Madrid, Spain

Bass Ensemble

Grand Prize:
Bright Light at Russell's Corner (double bass quintet) by Benjamin Morris, Chatham, New Jersey, USA

Benjamin Morris

Benjamin Morris graduated from the University of Miami Frost School of Music and is currently pursuing an MM in Composition at Rice University as a Brown Fellow, and he teaches theory and ear training in the Shepherd School of Music Preparatory Program. Ben received an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Award in 2014, a Downbeat Award, the 2015 Frost School of Music Orchestra Composition Prize, a New Jersey Music Educators Association Young Composers Award, and a Klezmer Company Orchestra Composer's Prize and Commission. His music was featured on the Festival Miami Emerging Composers Competition four years in a row, and he has scored award-winning online promotional videos for 21st Century Oncology. In the summer of 2013, Morris was an emerging composer fellow at the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival and in 2015 he participated in the American Composers' Orchestra Jazz Composers' Institute. Ben has interned with film composer Michael Bacon for the past four summers.

Honorable Mentions:
Wind Hymnal (double bass quartet) by Greg Chudzik, Brooklyn, New York, USA
For Three Double Basses (double bass trio) by Wan Jianguo, Beijing, China

Click here to view a list of past winners.