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Contact: Jette Englund

Van Cliburn Competition Seeks Submission from Matthew Halper

UNION, N.J. – The Van Cliburn Foundation has invited Dr. Matthew Halper, a professor of music at Kean University, to submit a solo piano composition to the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition as part of its American Composers Invitational competition. A nominating committee of distinguished professionals submitted Halper’s name as one of 40 American composers, five of whose work will be considered for use in the piano competition.

“It is an incredible honor to be invited to participate in this competition,” said Halper. “The list of past composers involved in this event is extraordinary and I am more than a little humbled,” said Halper.

The American Composers Invitational was developed by Pulitzer Prize and Academy Award-winning composer John Corigliano. The competition is unique in that its adjudication involves a jury of composer peers as well as the world-class pianists who participate in the Van Cliburn Competition itself. In January 2009, a small jury of composers, selected by the Van Cliburn Foundation in consultation with ASCAP will review all submitted works. The jury will select up to five works that will be sent to the 30 pianists invited to participate in the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano competition.

Each competitor will select one of the new works to perform in the semifinal round of the competition. Each composer whose work is heard during the semifinal round will receive a cash award. The composer whose work is selected by the greatest number of semifinalists will be awarded the grand prize. The prizewinning composers will then be recognized at the Awards Ceremony on June 7, 2009 in Fort Worth, Texas.

Halper, whose past prizes and awards include multiple New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowships and ASCAPlus Awards, as well as prizes from the American Composers Orchestra and the 20th-Century Consort, looks forward to the challenge.

“The possibility of working with the 30 brilliant pianists in this competition is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Halper said. “Very rarely will a composer have so much talent paying so much attention to his or her work at a single event.”