About the Contest
The USA International Harp Competition was founded in 1989 by world-renowned harpist and teacher Susann McDonald. The triennial Competition is hosted by the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana. It is considered to be one of the most prestigious competitions in the world.
As part of its mission to promote harp and harp music, the USA International Harp Competition sponsors a Composition Contest that occurs every three years, prior to the performance Competition. Composers are invited to submit new works for solo harp. A distinguished panel of harpists plus one composer select the winning composition.
A $2,000 USD prize is awarded to the winner and the new work becomes part of the 3rd Stage required repertoire for the upcoming performance competition. The work is also performed by the Competition’s First Prize winner on their debut concerts. It is published by Lyon & Healy and made available for purchase on their website, www.harp.com.
Solo harp composition contestants have included composers from Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Denmark, England, Estonia, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, USA and Wales.
Check our Rules & Procedures page for information about writing and submitting a composition for the 2018 Contest!
Past Contest Winners
5th Composition Contest - 2015
- Winning Composition:
- Sublimation by Jeremiah Siochi (USA)
- Finalists and Semi-Finalists:
- Nuance by Shai Cohen (Israel)
- Le chant du chat echappe by Nathan Cornelius (USA)
- stuck. in .magazine. by Monika Dalach (Poland)
- Sailing on Starlight by Evan Fein (USA)
- Nightly Monologue II by Karen Keyhani (Iran)
- Night by Phil Taylor (USA)
- Sons of Hypnos by Bora Uymaz (Turkey)
The 5th Composition Contest received 114 compositions from 34 countries. During the 10th USA International Harp Competition, the winning composition, Sublimation, was performed by the eight semi-finalists. Mr. Siochi presented his work and seven compositions from the final and semi-final rounds of the Contest were presented and performed by the Peabody Harp studio during a special Composer’s Forum at the 2016 performance competition.
About Jeremiah Siochi:
Jeremiah Siochi is an American composer and songwriter. Drawing inspiration from the classical tradition as well as jazz and pop, his solo and chamber works engage with the more cerebral aspects of experimental music while being driven by an intensely visceral and melodic undercurrent. While at Duke University, Mr. Siochi studied under composers Stephen Jaffe and Scott Lindroth. His works have been performed by a diverse range of artists at festivals throughout the United States as well as featured on National Public Radio. Although Mr. Siochi works as a software developer by day, at night he continues to write a variety of solo music, songs, and chamber works.
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4th Composition Contest - 2012
- Winning Composition:
- De l’obscurité II by Benjamin Attahir (France)
- What is Danced…(and what is not) by Eric Chasalow (USA)
- Storm’s Morrow by Amit Gilutz (Israel)
- Chants by Viktor Hartobanu (Germany)
- Indiana by Andres Izmaylov (Russian Federation)
- Shindychew Dances by Stephen Taylor (USA)
- The Curl-up by Alan Thomas (United Kingdom)
The 4th Composition Contest received 81 compositions from 24 countries. During the 9th USA International Harp Competition, the winning composition, De l’obscurité II, was performed by the eight semi-finalists. Benjamin Attahir presented on his winning composition and six works from the final round were presented and performed during a special Composer’s Forum at the 2013 performance competition.
About Benjamin Attahir
Composer Benjamin Attahir (b. 1989) studied composition, conducting and violin at the Paris Conservatory. His works have garnered numerous awards, including being honored as the winner of the Prix SACEM, New International Competition and UNESCO’s International Rostrum of Composers in 2011 and winning two awards from the Institut de France’s Académie des Beaux-Arts including the Prix Pierre Cardin in 2015. Attahir’s compositions can be heard across the world, including the Orchestre National de France, Tokyo Sinfonietta, Toulouse Chamber Orchestra, and Orchestra Caen. He has been commissioned throughout the world including for the Lucerne Festival under the leadership of Pierre Boulez, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Ensemble Intercontemporain (Philharmonie de Paris/Kölner Philharmonie), and the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.
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3rd Composition Contest - 2009
- Winning Composition:
- Awakening Stillnesses by Michael Maganuco (USA)
- 2nd Place: Seule by Aurelio Edler-Copes (Brazil/Italy)
- 3rd Place: The Pearl Divers by Douglas Gibson (USA)
- 4th Place: Odyssee by Caroline Lizotte (Canada)
- 5th Place: Spirit Labyrint by Stephen Yip (Hong Kong)
The 3rd Contest received 70 compositions from 29 countries. At the 2010 USA International Harp Competition, five works from the final round were presented during a special Composer’s Forum.
About Michael Maganuco
Michael Maganuco (b. 1987) is a harpist and composer living in the Chicagoland area. He holds a masters degree in Harp Performance from Northwestern University. As a composer, Mr. Maganuco’s works have been commissioned and premiered by a number of his colleagues and by contemporary music ensembles in Boston such as ALEA III and Time’s Arrow. His composition style reflects his diverse musical background, which includes elements of jazz improvisation, folk music, non-Western traditions, as well as the modern and classical harp repertoire. For his accomplishments at BU, he has twice received Departmental Honors Awards in Theory & Composition and was inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society. Mr. Maganuco graduated summa cum laude from Boston University in 2010, where he earned a dual Bachelor of Music degree in harp performance and composition, studying harp with Ann Hobson Pilot, retired principle harpist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and composition with Richard Cornell.
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2nd Composition Contest - 2006
- Winning Composition:
- Huan by Chia-Yu Hsu (Taiwan)
- Huan is included in the PBS Documentary: Harp Dreams
About Chia-Yu Hsu
Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Ms. Hsu is the recipient of numerous awards and honors for her compositional endeavors, including scholarships from the Chen Family Enterprise, Panchiao Credit Union, National Taiwan Academy of Art, Taipei Modern Women’s Foundation, Sampo Foundation, Yamaha Foundation, the Chiou Hai-Husi Foundation, Evan Braun Fellowship from The Curtis Institute of Music and C.P. Richardson Scholarships from Yale University.
In addition, Ms. Hsu won first prize in the National Taiwan Academy of Art Composition competition for her Fantasia for Violin Solo & Orchestra and String Quartet, which were performed at the Taipei County Cultural Center. She also composed the music for the 1995 San Has Cultural Summer Festival. In the summers of 1992-95, she participated in the Chinese Composers Conference. In 1998, she won the Prism Quartet Student Commissioning Award and subsequently received commission from the group for a Saxophone Quartet “Contrast”. The next year, she won third prize in the Maxfield Parrish composition contest. In 2000, she was commissioned by the Composers from Curtis Chamber Ensemble for “The Last Invocation”. In 2001, she won the Renee B. Fisher Foundation Composer Award and later received a commission from that organization. In the summer of 2003, she was awarded a scholarship to study at the Fontainebleau Music Festival. Her “Shui Diao Ge To”, composed for the 2004 Milestones Festival received a 2005 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer’s Award and won the recording rights in Vol. 7 of ERMMedia’s critically acclaimed compact disc series “Masterworks of the New Era”. This year, “Zhi” for violin and piano won the William Klenz Prize. Her “Huan” for solo harp is the winner of the Composition Contest for the 2007 USA International Harp Competition.
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1st Composition Contest - 2003
- Winning Compositions:
- Visions in Twilight by Garrett Byrnes (USA)
- Despedida by Mischa Zupko (USA)
- Springs and Shards by Sydney Hodkinson
- Tomorrow on Yesterday by Greg A. Steinke
The 1st Composition Contest received 28 compositions from all over the United States. During the 6th USA International Harp Competition, the winning compositions were performed by the semi-finalists in the third round (contestants chose one). The 2004 USA International Harp Competition and ArpaViva Foundation presented a “Meet the Composers” session featuring Garrett Byrnes and Mischa Zupko in Auer Hall prior to Stage 3, where the composers discussed their winning compositions.
About Garrett Byrnes
Garrett Byrnes gained his Doctorate Indiana University,he has served as Associate Instructor of Composition. He began his studies at the Boston Conservatory, earning a Bachelor of Music in 1995, and continued his education in Baltimore, receiving his Masters from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University in 1999. His principal composition teachers include Sven-David Sandstrom, Don Freund, David Dzubay, Chen Yi and Larry Bell.
Mr. Byrnes’ music has been heard in France, Switzerland and Japan as well as throughout the United States. His compositions have been read and performed by such organizations as the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indiana University New Music Ensemble, Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra, Chesapeake Youth Repertory Orchestra and CYSO Flute Choir, Aspen Summer Festival Orchestra, the Peabody Symphony and Concert Orchestras, Tonus Percussion Group, Tarab Cello Ensemble, and the Kylix New Music Ensemble as well as notable soloists. He has received honors and grants from the American Music Center, National Association of Composers, Southeastern Composers League, Boston Conservatory, residencies at Yaddo and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and has served as composr in residence at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Recent compositions include Aphorism for solo harp and Triptyclysm for percussion trio. His Concerto for Piano Chamber Orchesta, commissioned by David Dzubay and the Indiana University New Music Ensemble, the ensemble and pianist Ji-Hye Chang.
Among Byrnes' most performed compositions are his works for harp. Valley of Butterflies was recently given its full premiere by Yumiko Endo Schlaffer at the American Harp Society in Dallas' 50th Anniversary concert. Villanelle for violin and harp was commissioned for the Dutch duo of Tjeerd Top and Lavinia Meijer, premiered at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, has been performed by numerous duos, and will be released on an upcoming CD. Visions in Twilight (harp solo) continues to be a very popular work, and performed often by harpists in an array of countries. Meijer herself has given performances of the work in numerous cities across the globe, including Amsterdam, Athens, Birmingham, Brussels, Cologne, Dublin, New York, Paris, and Vienna among others, and features the composition on her CD "Visions" (Channel Classics). The work is also featured on the recording "Ceren Necipoglu: Bir Kitap Gibi" (Kalan Müzik) along with another harp solo work by Byrnes, Amhrán Slán.
About Mischa Zupko
Mischa Zupko received a Bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Northwestern University in 1994 and a Master’s and Doctorate degree in composition from Indiana University. He is currently on the faculty at DePaul University School of Music and serves as the composer-in-residence at the Music Institute of Chicago. His teachers have included his father, Ramon Zupko, Eugene O’Brien, Fredrick Fox, David Dzubay, Augusta Read Thomas, and Don Freund.
Mr. Zupko has since received several awards and commissions. Among these are first place in the Pacific Symphony Orchestra’s American Composers’ Competition, Dean’s Prizes at Indiana University (1998, 1999 and 2001), and there ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards (1999, 2000, 2001), one of which was the first place Kaplan Award. He is the winner of the Jacob Druckman prize from the National Federation of Music Clubs (2000). He also holds awards from the Bloomington Chapter of the National Society of Arts & Letters (1998, 2000, 2001), is the co-winner of the USA International Harp Competition Contest (2003) and the winner of the Lee Ettelson Prize (2004). In May 2004 he was a finalist in the Rome Prize Competition.
Mr. Zupko has an impressive list of commissions from the Pacific Symphony, the Fromm Foundation (2002), the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival (2003) and the New York Youth Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra (2004), and from several instrumental soloists. Mr. Zupko’s works have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Segerstrom Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, the Aspen Music Festival, the Moscow Conservatory, where Mr. Zupko was invited to perform his work Shunt (for piano and electronic tape). In March 2002, he was selected to take part in the Minnesota Orchestra at Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall. His works have also been performed in numerous solo instrumental competitions, including the Israel International Harp Competition at the SUNY Potsdam School and the Grace Welsh piano competition. In November 2003, Mr. Zupko’s Harpichord Concerto for harpsichord and string quartet was premiered by Bradley Brookshire and the Corigliano Quartet at Merkin Hall. Mr. Zupko remains active as a performer through his work as a guest pianist with the Kylix New Music Ensemble and has performed with the Indiana University New Music Ensemble.
Jury Members to Date
- Claude Baker
- David Conte
- Hannah Lash
- Anne LeBaron
- Juan Orrego-Salas
- Bridget Kibbey (USA)
- Skaila Kanga (Great Britain)
- Ruth Inglefield (USA) - Chair
- Katerina Gima (Greece)
- Alice Giles (Australia)
- Deborah Fleisher (USA)
- Eleanor Fell (USA)
- Mario Falcao (USA/Portugal)
- Elaine Christy (USA)
- Jana Bouskova (Czech Republic)
- Alexander Bonnet (Netherlands)
- Milda Agazarian (Russia)
- Kathy Kienzle (USA)
- Karen Lindquist (USA)
- Judy Loman (Canada)
- Sivan Magen (Israel)
- Susann McDonald (USA)
- Lou Anne Neill (USA)
- Şirin Pancaroğlu (Turkey)
- Ayako Shinozaki (Japan)
- Ann Yeung (USA)
- Naoko Yoshino (Japan)
- Dan Yu (China)
- Pingqiu Yue (China)