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Winning USAIHC composition announced

Photo by Dylan Kinneavy.
December 16, 2021

The USA International Harp Competition (USAIHC) announced that Ariel Sol “Ari” Bertulfo Schwartz is the winner of the 7th USAIHC Ruth Inglefield Composition Contest. The USAIHC also named the five other composers whose works were chosen for the final round: Nehuen Gattella (Argentina), Un Calido Azul; Valerio Lisci (Italy), Maschera; Alexander Thomas (UK), One, Five, Seven; Elizabeth Younan (Australia), Fantasia No. III; and Hanjiao Zou (China), Whirling Dance Rhapsody.

The winning composition, self, will be required repertoire performed by all USAIHC semi-finalists in the 12th competition, and will be featured on debut concerts by the 2022 gold medalist. Schwartz will also receive a $2,000 prize funded by a grant from the American Harp Society, Inc. The work will be published by and available for purchase from Lyon & Healy Publications.

Schwartz, an American harpist and composer, describes the winning piece as a response to his own experiences on the instrument. “For self, I started with the question ‘what can music give the performer?’ And while I think there are no correct answers, self is a personal expression of what playing harp has given me,” he says. “One of my favorite things about the harp is the way the vibrations of the instrument feel: a harpist is connected to their harp at the fingers, arms, shoulder, legs, and feet. Inspired by this feeling, I wanted to write music that emphasized the connection between performer and instrument; I wanted a piece that felt as if the harp and harpist could intuitively fuse into a single music-making ‘self.'”

The 7th composition contest is dedicated to Dr. Ruth Inglefield (1938–2019), who advocated for new music as the chair of the first six composition contests. Furthering her mission of expanding the harp repertoire, this year’s contest received 107 applications by composers from 30 countries. The jury for the 7th composition contest included composer Robert Paterson (USA), as well as harpists Letizia Belmondo (Italy), June Han (South Korea/USA), Mieko Inoue (Japan), Heidi Krutzen (Canada/United Kingdom), and Anneleen Lenaerts (Belgium). Deliberations were administered by Sonja Inglefield (Director), Jasmine Hogan (Secretary), and Ann Yeung (Jury President).

To learn more, check out the 7th composition contest website. You can listen to Schwartz performing his winning composition on his website.

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