Setnor School announces winner of Gregg Smith National Choral Composition Contest
Work to premiere at SU in April
Michael Rickelton, a Ph.D. candidate at the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University, has won the second Gregg Smith National Choral Competition Contest in the Rose, Jules R. and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA). The award, which is named for renowned composer and choral conductor Gregg Smith, is given biennially to a composer between the ages of 21 and 35 who has written and submitted a musical composition for a Setnor School choral ensemble.
Rickelton won for his work “Pentecost,” which was selected by a committee of Setnor faculty from more than 60 entries submitted by composers in 25 U.S. states and from Canada. In addition to the award, Rickelton’s work will be premiered by the Syracuse University Singers under the direction of John Warren on Wednesday, April 18, at 8 p.m. in the Rose and Jules R. Setnor Auditorium, Crouse College.
“The SU Singers and I are excited about learning and performing the premiere of ‘Pentecost,’” says Warren, a Setnor faculty member and director of choral activities. “The work is a thoughtful setting of a very emotional poem by Dana Gioia, calling for SATB [soprano-alto-tenor-bass] choir and piano. The music uses frequently contrasting textures and dynamics and freely changing rhythms to sensitively depict the meaningful text.”
Rickelton’s compositions include choral works, vocal and instrumental solo works and chamber and orchestra works that have been performed throughout the United States and abroad. He has taken prizes for his compositions from the Southeastern Composers’ League’s Arnold Sallop Memorial Composition Contest, Meistersingers Choral Composition Contest for “Tenebrae Factae sunt” (first place), the Bluffton College Choral Composition Contest, the Southern Division of the Music Teacher’s National Association Composition Competition (winner) and the Ithaca College Choral Composition Contest (finalist). A recent work has been selected by the American Composers Orchestra in conjunction with Meet the Composer to be included in the EarShot program presented by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.
Rickelton has studied with Claude Baker and Narcis Bonet at the European American Musical Alliance at École Normale de Musique in Paris. He holds a master’s degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory, where he is currently a student of Michael Hersch. Learn more at http://michaelrickelton.com.
The Setnor School established the Gregg Smith National Choral Composition Contest and the Gregg Smith Graduate Choral Conducting Scholarship in 2008 with the support of an anonymous donor. Smith has had a 30-year relationship with SU, including the University’s Women’s Choir, and the Syracuse Children’s Chorus (SCC), which has premiered and recorded works by Smith. The Gregg Smith Singers and Smith collaborated with Barbara M. Tagg, Setnor faculty member and SCC founder, on operas, concerts and numerous premieres at SU.