Thursday, May 6, 2010

Guest blog by C4 composer Jonathan David

Hi folks! Today I have a guest blog by cool composer/conductor Jonathan David, a founding member of the choir "C4" based in NYC. Jonathan is a gifted composer and a good friend. I am happy to help spread the word about C4's composer competition, especially as it has no entry fee and some great awards (I will blog soon about the myriad choirs holding low prize competitions funded by composer's entry fees- a really yucky scene,in my opinion, wherein a choir can turn a profit on composer's entry fees). Here is what Jon has to say about C4 and their new activities:

C4 was founded in November 2005 by a small cadre of veterans of New York City's choral scene, including myself, who sought a chance to explore new directions for themselves and for choral music in a collaborative, artist-friendly environment. The world's first Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, C4 is a unique vocal ensemble in New York City dedicated to performing music of our time. It functions not only as a presenting ensemble in its own right, with a three-program concert season, but also as an ongoing workshop and recital chorus for the emerging composers and conductors who form the core of the group.

C4's repertoire consists entirely of music written in the last twenty-five years, with a pretty even balance between works by composer members of the chorus and works by non-members. Including its upcoming May concert (works for chorus and electronic media), C4 will have performed, in less than five full seasons, 49 world premieres and 24 New York City, East Coast, or North American premieres.
Conductor members of the group divide the repertoire among each other and work closely with each composer to achieve a collaborative interpretative approach. (Composers may not conduct their own works.) For those used to concerts with a single conductor a C4 performance is quite singular, each piece rotating to a new conductor.

I’m really excited about our upcoming commission competition (details below—note May 15 postmark deadline!). There were several goals we kept in mind when designing the competition: To maximize the opportunities we will award a relatively large number of finalists (5); in addition to performance, there are substantial prize dollar amounts; there is no entry fee; there is no limit on age or nationality; all judging is blind (anonymous scores only).

C4 (the Choral Composer/Conductor Collective) Commissioning Competition 2010
Postmark deadline: May 15, 2010

The C4 Commissioning Competition will give five finalists the opportunity to compose new
works for C4: the Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, and to participate in the rehearsal process. All five new works will be premiered on March 3 and 5, 2011, in New York City. First prize is $2,000, second prize is $800. The remaining three finalists will receive honorable mention prizes of $400. C4 is the only chorus that is collectively run by its composer and conductor members, and one of the few choruses in America dedicated exclusively to performing contemporary music, programming only music that has been composed in the past twenty-five years. This competition is made possible by grants from The David and Minnie Berk Foundation and the Yale School of Music Alumni Ventures program.

A panel of judges consisting of C4 board members will select approximately twenty semi-finalists. From among these a second panel consisting of James Bassi, Clara Longstreth and Steven Stucky will select five finalists, who will be notified in late August, 2010. The finalists will compose new 3-6 minute a cappella works for C4, to be completed by November 15, 2010. As the performance nears, C4 will record the new works. The outside judges will then select first and second place winners before the premiere, the remaining finalists receiving honorable mentions.

Both concerts will be recorded. All finalists are strongly encouraged to attend one of the performances. A travel stipend of up to $300 per composer will defray the cost of travel for the winning composers; all additional travel costs are the responsibility of the composer. Accommodations with C4 members will be provided as needed.

Any composer may apply, regardless of age, career level, or nationality. Current and former C4 members are not eligible. Please see the complete guidelines at for information on how to apply. Email questions to

Jonathan David has been described as “an important emerging musical voice” in the worlds of choral music, music-theatre, and art song. He has served as Composer-in-Residence for The Greenwich Village Singers, Music Director for the Morningside Heights-based chorus, Howl!, and is a core member of New York’s pioneering new music group, C4, the Choral Composer/Conductor Collective. Recent choral premieres include Titania’s Garage Sale by C4 and Flocks Feed by Darkness, a commission from Glass Menagerie. Upcoming premieres include Even in Darkness, a commission from the Packer Collegiate Concert Chorus. Past commissions have come from the New York Treble Singers, and the Thanks-Giving Foundation. His choral music has also been performed by the Princeton Singers, the Glen Ellyn Children's Chorus, and Cerddorion Vocal Ensemble, among others. Current projects include a large-scale song cycle, Winter Birds, for countertenor Phillip Cheah, to texts by poet David Brendan Hopes. Stage works include Bronx Express, which ran to critical acclaim at the 2005 New York International Fringe Festival. His music has received awards from ASCAP, the Americas Vocal Ensemble, and the Global Network of Conservatories. A graduate of Wesleyan University, he studied with John Bavicchi and Don McDonnell at the Berklee College of Music. He is published by Oxford University Press. (February, 2010)

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