ACDA member Kira Rugen was named one of three winners of Chicago a cappella‘s 2022 HerVoice competition and mentoring program for emerging women composers. In its second year, the HerVoice competition received 59 submissions from composers on four continents. Along with winners Brittney Benton and Inna Onofrei, Rugen will receive personal mentoring from one of the program’s acclaimed composer panelists, Stacy Garrop, Zanaida Robles, and Chen Yi, as well as a $500 cash award.
Rugen’s composition Windows to Paradise (In Paradisum) will be workshopped and performed by the Vancouver Youth Choir under the direction of artistic director Carrie Tennant, and she will work with mentor composer Chen Yi. Now in her twenty-third year as a music educator, Rugen received a bachelor of arts degree at Weber State University, a master in music education with an emphasis in vocal performance at Arizona State University, and a doctorate of musical arts in choral conducting at Arizona State University. She currently lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, and serves as choral and musical theater faculty at Scottsdale Community College. She previously held positions at Arizona Christian University, Grand Canyon University, and Arizona State University. Dr. Rugen is the founder and artistic director for Solis – Choir of the Sun, a professional choir, and is in her eighteenth season as a soprano with the Phoenix Chorale.
Rugen posted on her Instagram account, after being notified of the honor, “I’m so excited and honored to be among the two other winners in this contest and be the recipient of career coaching with Stacy Garrop, Zenaida Robles and Chen Yi – a powerhouse of incredible women in our industry!” Her biography and other compositions can be found on her website, https://kirarugen.com.
ACDA members Joan Johnson Drewes (New York, NY) and Faith Zimmer (Springfield, MO) were named as two of the three honorable mentions for their compositions Life My Soul and On Another’s Sorrow, respectively.
HerVoice was conceived by Chicago a cappella artistic director John William Trotter to promote the work of promising women composers and provide hands-on mentoring to further their skills in choral composition. In addition to the mentoring, workshop, and performance opportunities for the three winners, all composers who submitted works will be able to participate in virtual gatherings with the composer mentor panel to learn about the business side of composing and to discuss issues pertaining to navigating a career as a female composer.
HerVoice is a collaboration with the Kansas City Chorale and the Vancouver Youth Choir. American Choral Directors Association is a sponsor of HerVoice.