Alex Temple, a doctoral student in composition at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music, received an award of $2,500 in the 2015 American Composers Forum National Composition Contest. She was commissioned to write a piece for the experimental classical ensemble, wild Up, to be workshopped and performed by the ensemble in Los Angeles, California, in September 2015.

Katherine Young, also a doctoral student in composition, received an honorable mention in the 2015 American Composers Forum National Composition Contest.

The American Composers Forum National Composition Contest encourages creativity by student composers who are currently enrolled in graduate and undergraduate institutions in the United States. In total, three winners and seven honorable mentions were chosen from an applicant pool of 497 students.

Temple and Young are students of Professors Jay Alan Yim, Hans Thomalla, and Christopher Alan Mercer, faculty members of the Bienen School’s composition and music technology program.

Yim says this is the first time an NU student composer has received recognition from the American Composers Forum.

“I'm quite pleased that our program has produced two composers of such distinction in the same year,” Yim said. “Alex's work has always been marked by a flair for the theatrical: her works typically explore themes of identity and disorientation with a keen ear for harmonic illusion and allusion. Katie's compositions aim to delve into the possibilities of combining extended instrumental techniques with electronics to create new sonic textures.”

Alex Temple said she is honored and excited to have been chosen in the competition for her submission Willingly, an 8-minute piece featuring flute, piano, and electronics.

“It's too early for me to say for sure what I'll write, but wild Up's instrumentation has got me thinking about revisiting the experimental rock bands that occupied so much space in my brain when I was 18 or so,” Temple said. “It's been a long time since I looked for inspiration there, and I miss it.”

  • Jay Alan Yim
  • Hans Thomalla
  • Christopher Mercer