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Past composer-performer pair grant recipients

The Johan Franco Composition Fund provides grants to student composer-performer pairs, giving them the opportunity to collaboratively create and premiere a new composition for carillon.

Student pairs funded: 5

Total amount awarded: US$5,000

2023–24 (US$1,000)

Albireo

Recipients

Michael Dixon (composer, University of Florida)

Rayyan Merchant (performer, University of Florida)

World premiere

February 17, 2024

University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida

Composer's notes

I wrote Albireo for Rayyan Merchant, a fellow carillonneur at the University of Florida. Rayyan spent some time studying the Flemish carillon tradition and fell in love with tremolando, so I wanted to write a piece for him that focuses on this technique. Through collaboration with Rayyan, I feel that I have learned a great deal about how tremolando is used effectively and idiomatically in carillon compositions. I was inspired by the expressive quality of the tremolo melodies in Stefano Colletti's works and I sought to write a piece that employs a similar style of tremolando in the context of my harmonic language. Albireo is a double star in the Cygnus constellation, forming the beak of the swan. Trying to capture the feeling of a swan in the stars, I wrote this piece as sort of a cosmic lullaby—intimate yet expansive, comforting yet a bit creepy.

2022–23 (US$2,000)

Glockenfriedhof

Recipients

Lola Constantino (composer, Princeton University)

James Cox (performer, Princeton University)

World premiere

May 31, 2023

Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey

Composer's notes

Entitled Glockenfriedhof, the piece is inspired by the bell cemeteries in Germany during World Wars I and II. Glockenfriedhof is made up of four movements: I. Order, II. War, III. Destruction, and IV. Revival. These movements are based on the history of the carillon and track the invention, destruction, and revival of the instrument.

Breathe now

Recipients

Grace Ann Lee (composer, University of Michigan)

Carson Landry (performer, University of Michigan)

World premiere

May 4, 2023

Kirk in the Hills, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Composer's notes

On November 10, 2022, my grandfather passed away in Korea. My parents booked the ticket to visit him and be with my grandmother during his last few days. However, as I was in the middle of the first semester of my doctorate degree in the US, I could not visit him. It was challenging to process grief by myself; everything felt numb. One of my close friends told me I should try not to be alone, so I went into the originally scheduled carillon pre-composition workshop with Carson and just listened. As I listened to the carillon traveling through distance across the campus, I felt an enormous amount of comfort. It felt as though the carillon was telling me, "Breathe now." I dedicate this piece to Carson Landry, my dear carillonist friend, and my grandfather, who has been the inspiration behind this piece.

2021–22 (US$2,000)

Fractured Chronology

Recipients

Jacob Leibowitz (composer, Manhattan School of Music)

Claire Janezic (performer, University of Rochester)

World premiere

May 29, 2022

University of Rochester, Rochester, New York

GCNA's notes

The performance begins with the hour chimes, then the first movement at 15 minutes past the hour, the second movement at 30 minutes past the hour, and so forth. There are 4 movements.

Composer's notes

Fractured Chronology is a celebration of the Hour. The piece's structure is based on civilization's global organization of time (what we refer to when we ask the date and time from a friend), as opposed to the more typical (in music) independent discrete units of time (e.g. what we mean when we say something will only take 5 minutes) It does this by basing itself off the quarter hour framework of the Westminster Chimes. One of the four movements is played every quarter of an Hour. No matter how you spend the time before and after each movement, I hope that when you pause to listen to each movement, that the music will tie your disparate experiences into something greater.

Wonder Onward

Recipients

Ethan Sifferman (composer; University of California, Santa Barbara)  

Emily O'Mahony (performer; University of California, Santa Barbara) 

World premiere

May 15, 2022

University of California, Santa Barbara

GCNA's notes

The sheet music is freely available.

Composer's notes

Life is full of new beginnings and old memories. As we progress through our own journeys, we consistently trade old hobbies and friends with new passions. Although moving on can be hard, it is a guarantee of living. Often it can be fun to wonder what your life will look like in several years, but always remember to enjoy the present, because soon it will just be a distant memory. Wonder Onward was written amidst me and Emily completing the final months of our undergraduate degrees. We both are looking forward to exploring new horizons, but feel bittersweet about leaving our home. We dedicate Wonder Onward to all those who find themselves reminiscing on their past but also hold a wonderful excitement for their future. Wonder Onward was written and premiered at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Storke Tower. The piece is a celebration of the symbol of home and belonging that the tower brings to all UC Santa Barbara students. Because the 175-foot-tall campanile is visible everywhere on campus and is featured on all university merchandise, thousands of students and alumni recognize the landmark as a symbol for such an important era of their lives. This piece is meant to honor Storke's symbolic impact as well as unite all those who have found a home at the most beautiful university of all time.


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