James May Wins Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition
James May, originally from Pittsburg but currently studying for a Master’s degree in Experimental Sound Practice at University College Cork, has won the Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition.
His composition, street after street alike, will be premiered at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral by Chamber Choir Ireland on Friday 3 May as part of the 2019 Cork International Choral Festival.
Commenting on his win, May said:
I’m thrilled to have been selected as the winner of the Seán Ó Riada competition. I’ve been so impressed and humbled by the vibrant music and sonic art scene in Cork, all-embracing in its desire and support for exciting creativity. I’ve already had so many wonderful music-making experiences here, and the opportunity to contribute my part to this community through the Cork International Choral Festival is an absolute dream.
As well as being a composer, May is an experimental performer, founding member of AmiEnsemble, and contributor to the American new music website I Care if You Listen. He is a recipient of the 2018–19 George J. Mitchell Scholarship and his work has been performed and recorded by the JACK Quartet and Longleash piano trio. May was co-winner of the San Francisco Choral Artists’ 2017 New Voices Project for his work The Garden.
The members of the judging panel for the Ó Riada competition were composer Rhona Clarke and conductor of Chamber Choir Ireland Paul Hillier. They said the work ‘has the mark of an individual voice’ and ‘shows skill on the part of the composer in handling word setting in quite an intense way.’
Established in 1972 as part of the Cork International Choral Festival, with a cash prize donated by the Ó Riada family, the competition’s previous winners include Frank Corcoran, Marian Ingoldsby, Michael McGlynn, Amanda Feery and Donal Sarsfield.
This year’s Cork International Choral Festival takes place on 1–5 May. For further details, visit www.corkchoral.ie.
Published on 13 March 2019