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2009 Composition Graduate Wins 2010 Opera Vista Prize
Composer Katarzyna Brochocka, a 2009 master's graduate, has won the Artistic Director's Prize at Opera Vista 2010, an international competition for contemporary chamber opera. Earlier this year, Brochocka was named a finalist for the Douglas Moore Fund for American Opera's Douglas Moore Fellowship. Her work, “Happy Garden of Life,” based on a short story by Kurt Vonnegut, was premiered at the Bass School of Music in 2009 by OCU's Project 21: Music for the 21st Century. She is a member of Project 21 and student of Dr. Edward Knight. Seven Opera Vista semifinalists from three countries were selected for the 2010 competition, based in Houston. A panel of judges - Buck Ross, director of the Moores Opera Theater; Chris Johnson, host of "The Front Row" on KUHF; composer Daron Hagen; and conductor Leslie Dunner – critiqued each excerpt before an audience vote. In the final round, judges offered a more extensive critiques, and audience members questioned the composers. The audience determined the winner. Brochocka’s world premiere of “Happy Garden of Life” was held March 12, 2009 at OCU’s Bass Music Center with Jan McDaniel as music director; Benjamin Nilles was rehearsal conductor. The Vienna Masterworks’ international 2008 Nancy Van de Vate International Composition Prize for Opera recognized "Happy Garden of Life" with a Special Commendation. In 2009, Brochocka’s “Chamber Music” was named grand prize winner of the biennial International Society of Bassists’ David Walter Composition Competition. The work was presented in concert June 9 in Esber Recital Hall at Penn State University as part of the 2009 ISB Convention. The winning work was performed by Brochocka’s husband, double bassist Karol Kowal, then also a graduate student at OCU’s Bass School of Music. “Chamber Music” was performed by Kowal and the Oklahoma City University Symphony Orchestra as part of the 2009 Society of Composers, Inc., regional conference. Her winning ISB composition was chosen from more than 50 entries from around the world. Honorable mention in the chamber division went to "Prelude and Fugazza" by Andres Martin of Argentina, double bass professor at the Orchestra of Baja California Conservatory. Jurors were Robert Black, chair, associate professor of double bass at the Hartt School of Music; Owen Lee, principal bass of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; and Yann Dubost, member of the Orchestre de Paris.