Cerddorion announces winners of our 2015 Emerging Composers Competition

Cerddorion Vocal Ensemble is pleased to announce the winners of our Third Annual Emerging Composers Competition, to be premiered this May/June as part of Cerddorion’s final subscription concert of the season, Rise Up, My Love:  Choral Settings of the Song of Songs.

Cerddorion launched the Emerging Composers Competition in 2012 to identify talented composers in the early stages of their careers, and to foster the creation and performance of new works for mixed chorus. This year’s competition drew 17 entries from throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.


First Prize Winner: Craig Bakalian for Drunk with Love

Craig Bakalian was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 14, 1961. His interest in music was initially apparent at the age of 16 when he began flute studies at the Jenkintown Music School. After graduation from Jenkintown High School, he continued at Temple University where he studied music composition with Clifford Taylor. Most recently, his study at Temple University has expanded to music education with a focus on early childhood music instruction. He received teaching certification in music and is currently teaching music classes to infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary age children in the Mercer County area of New Jersey. He currently lives with his wife and two children in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Mr. Bakalian’s prizewinning work Drunk with Love, on a text from the Song of Songs, will be premiered May 31 and June 2 on Cerddorion’s final subscription concerts of the season.


Second Prize Winner: Francisco José Carbonell for Quam Pulchra Es

Francisco José Carbonell was born in Valencia, Spain, in 1985. After completing studies in composition at the Conservatory of Music of Valencia, he moved to Rome to study at the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music, where he studied composition, organ, Gregorian chant, and choral conducting. Carbonell has received awards in composition competitions in Spain, Italy, England, United States, and Scotland. He is currently music director and organist at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Indianapolis, Indiana, and will be a member of the jury at the 2015 Rimini International Choral Competition in Rimini, Italy.

Mr. Carbonell’s  entry, Quam Pulchra Es, also based on the Song of Songs, will likewise be featured on Cerddorion’s upcoming concerts.


Honorable Mention: Brian Mountford for The Bride’s Dream

Brian Mountford studied music and electrical engineering at University of California, Berkeley, and sang in the Yale Glee Club as an undergraduate. He sings with the New York City Master Chorale as well as with C4: The Choral Composer/Conductor Collective and plays piano and organ. He spends his time as a computer programmer and composes occasionally, dreaming of the day when his chamber opera will receive the reception it deserves, or perhaps a better one.


Panel of Judges

    • James John, Artistic Director of Cerddorion and Director of Choral Activities at the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College, New York
    • Chandler CarterAssociate Professor of Music, Hofstra University, New York
    • David WordsworthMusic Director, Addison Singers; Artistic Director, Singing Shakespeare, London, United Kingdom

Competition History

Previous Winners

Past Competition Judges