2020 ISB / David Walter Composition Competition Results

Jeremy Baguyos, ISB/David Walter ISB Composition Competition Chair, along with fellow judges Kathryn Schulmeister, member of the Elision Ensemble and guest performer with Klangforum Wien and Ensemble Dal Niente, and Stephen Tramontozzi, assistant principal bass of the San Francisco Symphony, faculty member at the San Francisco Conservatory and principal bass of the Sun Valley Music Festival, announce the winners of the 2020 competition. There were a record 118 entries in four divisions: unaccompanied solo bass; chamber ensemble for one double bass with up to four additional instruments; bass ensemble for two to eight double basses; and double bass & electronic media.

The biennial competition, which honors the memory of double bass educator, performing artist and composer 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 works in any style that have not yet entered the standard double bass repertoire. The grand prize of $1,000 for each division was made possible through the generous support of the Robert Black Foundation, and also includes a performance at the 2021 ISB Convention, to be held June 7th-12th at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Robert Black Foundation logo

The winners of the 2020 ISB/David Walter Composition Competition are:

Unaccompanied Solo Bass

Rodrigo Mata Alvarez

Grand Prize: In Memoriam (solo double bass) by Rodrigo Mata Alvarez, Mexico
Honorable Mention: Valley of Dry Bones (unaccompanied bass) by Adam Goodwin, USA

Bassist and composer Rodrigo Mata Alvarez studied with Valeria Thierry in Mexico City and graduated from the University of Guanajuato, Mexico. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in Music Performance at the Norwegian Academy of Music with Dan Styffe and Håkon Thelin. Rodrigo has appeared at numerous international music events, including the International Cervantino Festival, the International Festival of Contemporary Art, the International Festival Callejon del Ruido, the International Jazz Festival of Irapuato, several ISB conventions and the Latin American Encuentro Contrabajos de Baja California. He has been a member of the Calgary Youth Orchestra in Canada, the León Chamber Orchestra, the NMH Symphony Orchestra and the NMH Sinfonietta. He is currently a member of the University of Guanajuato Symphony Orchestra. He is the conductor and founder of the "Mushamukas" double bass ensemble. Rodrigo has worked as a double bass teacher in the Community Orchestras of the Sistema Bajío de Fomento Musical and at the University of Guanajuato. His compositions have been premiered in Mexico, the United States, England and Norway.

Chamber Ensemble

Grand Prize: Stand Up With Me (voice, bassoon, double bass and piano) by Gregg August
Honorable Mentions:
Trio for Violin, Piano and Bass (with acknowledgements to Yambu, Guaguanco and Abakua) by Gregg August, USA
Sonata for Double Bass and Piano by Jeff Manookian, USA
Sonata for Bass & Piano by Nicholas Walker, USA

Bass Ensemble

Gregg August

Grand Prize: Scordatura Armonica per tre (inventions for three tunings) by Gregg August, USA

Bassist and composer Gregg August spans the classical, avant-garde, jazz and Latin jazz worlds. Gregg received his bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music and his master's from the Juilliard School. He is a member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra (Associate), the American Composers Orchestra, the Westchester Philharmonic and the Orchestra of St. Luke's. Previously he was principal bass of La Orquestra Ciutat de Barcelona and the Brooklyn Philharmonic. As a jazz bassist Gregg has recorded nine albums as a member of the JD Allen Trio, and has won five Grammy awards with Arturo O'Farrill's Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra. In 2003 Gregg formed Iacuessa Records, for which he has recorded three critically acclaimed albums of original music. In August 2020 Gregg released Dialogues on Race (Iacuessa Records), the result of a commission from the Jazz Gallery and Jerome Foundation. Gregg has also composed many full-length concert works, including Una Rumba Sinfonica, a commission from the Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute and Earshot that was premiered by the Buffalo Philharmonic. He has performed and/or recorded with The New York Philharmonic, Steve Reich, The Bang on a Can All Stars, Alarm Will Sound, as well as Ornette Coleman, Chick Corea, Branford Marsalis and Ray Barretto. An adjunct professor at New York University and the University of Connecticut, Gregg has also been on faculty at the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA (North Adams, MA) since 2003. www.greggaugust.com

Double Bass and Electronic Media

João Pedro Oliveira

Grand Prize: Bass on Fire by João Pedro Oliveira, Portugal

Composer João Pedro Oliveira holds the Corwin Endowed Chair in Composition at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He studied organ performance, composition and architecture in Lisbon. He completed a PhD in Music at the University of New York at Stony Brook. His music includes opera, orchestral compositions, chamber music, electroacoustic music and experimental video. He has received over 50 international prizes and awards for his works, including three Prizes at the Bourges Electroacoustic Music Competition, the prestigious Magisterium Prize and Giga-Hertz Special Award, first prize in the Metamorphoses competition, first prize in the Yamaha-Visiones Sonoras Competition, and first prize in the Musica Nova competition. He previously taught at Aveiro University (Portugal) and Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brazil). His publications include several articles in journals and a book on 20th century music theory. www.jpoliveira.com

Click here to view a list of past winners.