Amy Thompson wins BMI Student Composer Award


Page 1 of the Thompson’s winning score

Amy Thompson was recently awarded a 2018 BMI Student Composer Award. Open to young composers studying classical music, the illustrious competition was established in 1951, and is considered by many to be the most prestigious award given to young composers. Thompson, age 23, is one of nine recipients, with ages ranging from 18 to 26. To be eligible, contestants must be a citizen of a country in the Western Hemisphere, must be currently studying music, and must be under the age of 28. This year, BMI reports that nearly 700 entries were received. Says Thompson, “Unlike most compositional opportunities and competitions, the BMI Student Composer Awards doesn’t require an application fee, a resume, a recommendation letter, or even a recording of the piece. This is great, because not only does the lack of extra requirements make the awards easier to enter, it means that the members of the jury (who are all superb audiators and sight-readers) evaluate the score based purely on the creative ability of the composer, not on any other measure.”

A recent graduate of McGill University where she completed a degree in harp performance, Thompson received her bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and will be attending Eastman School of Music in the fall to study composition. Her award-winning piece was written for orchestra and is titled, Somewhere to Elsewhere. When asked what this recognition means to her, she says, “Winning was validating and encouraging because I spent hundreds of hours and many late nights writing the music and formatting the score. It felt like my effort was being tangibly acknowledged. Initially, I was really shocked when I found out that I was one of the winners, because not only is there a huge applicant pool, but I was at McGill for a degree in harp performance, not composition, although I did study composition at McGill with John Rea for two years while I worked on the piece.”

You can find more information about the competition here. To learn more about Amy, visit her website at


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