American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) has named Patrick Vu’s “On the Hillside” the first place winner in the 2023 Raymond W. Brock Prize for Student Composers.
Patrick Vu is a Vietnamese-American composer and conductor from Allen, Texas. His music has quickly gained attention across the United States with performances and commissions from organizations such as VocalEssence, Chor Leoni, Dallas Chamber Choir, Chorus Austin, Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, Fort Worth Opera, and the Savannah VOICE Festival. His music has been heard at ACDA, numerous state and regional conferences, and beyond. While Patrick remains mostly self-published, his choral music is published by Gentry, Hinshaw, E.C. Schirmer, Carl Fischer, and Alliance. In May 2022, Patrick graduated with a BM in Music Composition and a BME Vocal Music Education from Texas Christian University. Currently, Patrick is pursuing his MM in Choral Conducting from Texas Tech University. Visit patrickvu.com for more information!
When responding to the notice of the award, Patrick said, “I am immensely honored and blessed to receive this recognition. “On the Hillside” was the first piece I wrote when the pandemic hit in 2020, and in that time of uncertainty and stunted creativity, I could never have imagined the journey this piece would have. Radclyffe Hall’s text paints a gentle scene where one person watches their partner fall asleep beside them; a sign of immense trust. We often overlook how special it is to share that level of vulnerability with someone, and this piece calls us to recognize that through silence and stillness. This would not be possible without the love and support from my family, friends, and mentors.”
This competition is operated by ACDA’s National Composition Initiatives Standing Committee. Dr. Brandon Boyd, a member of the committee and organizer of this year’s competition, stated, “We are proud of all the student composers who submitted for this year’s competition. After this competition, the committee and I are hopeful that choral music will continue to enrich our profession through the musical outputs of professional and student composers. Also, we are thankful to the teachers who encouraged their students to participate.”
On the Hillside will be performed at the 2024 ACDA Region Conferences. Patrick is a member of Southwestern Region.
There are always more outstanding submissions than can be awarded. This year, the adjudication committee also wishes to recognize Aaron Manswell for his submission of “Stick With Love” as the Runner-Up.
Manswell is a native of Toronto, Ontario. He has earned music composition degrees from Oakwood University and the University of Memphis. He is the former Wind Band Conductor at Crawford Adventist Academy, leading the concert bands to city-wide awards. He composed the original score for the sci-fi film “H.E.N.R.I” (Katarzyna Kochany & Ryan Singh) and “Soap Dish” (Troy Crossfield & Sheronna Osbourne), premiered at the Toronto and Montreal Black Film Festivals. He serves as Composer-in-Residence with the McMillan Singers at the University of Toronto, where he is completing his Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition.
About the Brock Prize for Student Composers:
To further its mission to promote choral music and ensure its future, ACDA established the Raymond W. Brock Memorial Student Composition Competition in 1998. The objectives of the contest are to acknowledge and reward outstanding high school, undergraduate, and graduate student composers, to encourage choral composition of the highest caliber, and to further promote student activity at ACDA conferences.
The winner is awarded a $5,000 cash prize and complimentary conference registration at their regional ACDA conference. The winning composition will be performed at all six regional ACDA conferences
The next competition window will open in 2024. Follow all the competition announcements at https://acda.org/about-us/awards-competitions