Abell Competition Winners

The Frank Robert Abell Young Composer Competition Award Committee regrets to announce that due to the performance of the endowment in recent years, the Award has been temporarily suspended. 

2015 Competition Winners Announced

The Division of Composition at the University of Louisville School of Music is pleased to announce the results of the Frank Robert Abell Young Composer Competition for New Chamber Music.

The Award was endowed by Louisville philanthropist Frank Robert Abell. Abell had a deep love for contemporary music, and was a supporter of young composers. The Award is for new pieces for chamber ensemble by composers aged 18-26.

First Prize ($10,000) – John Rot
First Prize goes to John Rot, currently based in New York City, for his composition glide idly for string octet.

John Rot, originally from Elgin, Illinois, is pursuing a doctorate at Columbia University in New York City under the tutelage of Georg Friedrich Haas. He also holds a degree from the Oberlin Conservatory. Among the groups performing his music in recent years are JACK Quartet, Mivos Quartet, Talea Ensemble, Ensemble Court-Circuit, andPlay duo, the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble and others.

Second Prize ($4,500 each) – Michael Seltenreich and Jonah Gallagher
Second Prize is a tie between Michael Seltenreich, also based in New York City, for his Sparks and Flares, for mixed chamber ensemble, and Jonah Gallagher, based in Los Angeles, for his string quartet entitled Wandering Companionless: Pale for Weariness.

Michael Seltenreich, originally from Israel, is also based in New York, where he is pursuing a master’s degree at the Juilliard School, working with Matthias Pintscher. His music has been performed by The Israel Philharmonic, The Israel Opera and The National Radio Orchestra. He has also been employed by the Israel Opera as their lead orchestrator.

Jonah Gallagher, a native of Chicago, is studying composition at Biola University in Los Angeles, where his teacher is Robert Denham. His music has been awarded several prizes and performed in various venues around the USA. After completing his degree he hopes to continue writing concert music and pursue further studies in graduate school.

Efforts are under way to bring all the winning composers to Louisville in the spring of 2016 for performances of their winning works.

For further information contact Award Director Marc Satterwhite


2014 Abell Composition Competition Winners
1st Prize: Itzam Leonardo Zapata Paniagua, "Piñatas, Glitter and Stilettos" for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano
2nd Prize: Weijun Chen, "Canoe" for string quartet
2013 Abell Composition Competition Winners
1st Prize: Eugen Birman, "Red Desert"
2nd Prize: Chaz Underriner, "nocturne series: 5 for string quartet and field recording"
Previous Winners:
The Frank Robert Abell Young Composer Competition for New Chamber Music:

2012 Christopher LaRosa, "Symmetries"
2011 Hunjoo Jung, "Maria! I must be Awakened to Your Soul"
2010 Nathan Heidelberger, "Of Songs"
The University of Louisville Young Composer Competition for New Electro-acoustic Music:

2012 Dexter Ford, "Barbershop"
2011 Ryan Gaston, "Nocturne (Crickets: Inside & Out)"
2010 Emilie Payeur, “Etude Claire et Nette”