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  October 20, 2003

Composition For Trumpet Wins
Second Sackler Prize

Composer and pianist Karim Al-Zand has been named the recipient of the second annual Raymond and Beverly Sackler Music Competition Prize. Sponsored by the School of Fine Arts, the competition supports and promotes aspiring composers and the performance of their new musical works.

"The Prize is part of a broader structure promoting innovation, inventiveness, and the creative spirit within the School of Fine Arts," says David G. Woods, dean of fine arts. "It offers the opportunity for cutting-edge creative exploration and productivity, and contributes to the essence of creativity in the artistic program of the School."

As this year's winner, Al-Zand will receive $20,000 and his piece will have its world premiere at UConn. A second performance will take place at the Stamford campus.

Al-Zand's composition, not yet titled, will be a concertino for trumpet. The piece will be written for solo trumpet and a small chamber group: a string nonet (4 violins, 2 viola, 2 cellos, and contrabass), plus single winds (flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon) and percussion.

The piece will be a multi-movement work about 15 to 18 minutes long. The work will focus on the trumpet and its many symbolic and metaphorical roles in various cultures and periods: as a clarion symbol of strength and power (Fanfare); as a summoning of martial forces or proclamation of peace (March); as a portent of the last judgment (Tuba Mirum) or a call to worship; and as one of the quintessential jazz instruments (Satchmo).

Al-Zand's winning proposal was one of 50 entries received for the second Sackler Music Composition Prize. In addition to receiving entries from composers in 20 U.S. states, the judges also received applications from Australia and Finland.

The prize was established through a generous gift given by Raymond and Beverly Sackler, philanthropists and frequent donors to the University. The Sacklers fund several important initiatives at the School of Fine Arts, including the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Artist-in-Residence Program, the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Master Artists Institute, and the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Art and Archaeology Lecture Series. The Sacklers were also instrumental in forging an academic partnership between the Metropolitan Opera and the University, the first collaboration of its kind between the prestigious opera company and an institution of higher learning. The Sacklers also fund other initiatives at UConn, and support the arts, education, and medical research at institutions around the world.

Three nationally known and respected musicians were adjudicators for the second annual competition. This year's jurors were Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Joseph Schwantner; Raymond Leppard, conductor laureate and former music director of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra; and composer Joan Tower, winner of the prestigious 1990 Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition.

Al-Zand, who received his bachelor's of music in 1993 from McGill University and his Ph.D. in 2000 from Harvard, serves as assistant professor of composition and theory at the Rice University Shepard School of Music in Houston, Texas.