Amy Nam wins Lyra Society composition contest


Amy Nam has been selected as the 2020 Costello Competition winner. The seventh competition organized by the Lyra Society, Nam was awarded $1000 to write a new chamber piece featuring the harp, which will receive a premiere in Curtis Field Concert Hall. The Minneapolis–based composer and harpist currently studies composition at Eastman School of Music, and holds degrees from McGill University and Vanderbilt University. In 2018, she received a BMI Student Composer Award for her orchestral work, Somewhere to Elsewhere.

“The great thing about the Costello Competition is that it’s a commission, so to enter, I submitted two work samples (Pseudosphere, for two pianos and two percussionists, and Selected Stories, for harp and flute), and now I have five months to write a new piece for harp and instruments to be determined,” shares Nam. “I think this is a great format for a harp composition competition in particular, because in this way, it’s possible to work with the winning composer to make the piece more playable for the instrument. But the commission competition format is also great in general because it’s more collaborative. Even though I’m a harpist, it’s still extremely valuable to work with and get feedback from other harpists!”

Founded by Elizabeth Clark in 2012, the competition honors the legacy of Marilyn Costello, former harp teacher at Curtis Institute of Music and principal harpist with the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1946 until 1992. This year’s competition was judged by Michael Djupstrom, Daniel Dorff, David Ludwig, and Lyra Society founder Elizabeth Hainen.

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