s. beth may

The Jack Stone Award for New Music

In 2016, the 7th Jack Stone Award for New Music will be awarded to one student who is currently enrolled full time at a community college within the United States. Students must be enrolled in an associate's program, not a bachelor's program, but no age or citizenship restrictions apply. The recipient will receive $150, the second place winner will receive $100, and the runner up will receive $50. In addition, all three selected composers, if they are coming from within the contiguous United States, will be flown to San Antonio, TX to attend a performance of their pieces by a professional ensemble featuring percussionist Graeme Francis in the Palmetto Center for the Arts on the Northwest Vista College campus and to receive their awards in person. 

The instrumentation options for this year's Jack Stone Award are:


Percussion + Violin

Percussion + Cello

Percussion, Violin, and Cello

Pieces must be less than 10 minutes in duration. Available instruments include Marimba, Vibraphone, Xylophone, Timpani, drum kit, and hand drums/latin percussion. It is recommended that student composers make sure ample time be allowed for changes between instruments.

Submissions must be received by February 28th, 2016 (note: this is not a postmark deadline) and must include a legible score and parts, a short bio, and proof of enrollment. Recordings (including MIDI realizations) are stronglyrecommended. Submissions may be sent via mail (send an email message for that info) or may be sent in PDF format to the following email (electronic submissions are preferred):



This year's concert will take place at 7 pm on April 5th, 2016 in the Recital Hall, Room 107 in Palmetto Center for the Arts at Northwest Vista College, 3535 North Ellison Drive, San Antonio, TX, 78251.


 About this year's performers:


A native of Prince Edward Island, Canada, Graeme Francis received an Undergraduate degree in Honors Music Education from the University of Western Ontario, in London, Ontario, a Masters in Percussion Performance at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Texas at Austin.  Mr. Francis has performed with the Austin Symphony, Ballet Austin, San Antonio Symphony, Mid-Texas Symphony, Corpus Christi Symphony, Prince Edward Island Symphony, Rome Festival Orchestra, and with a multitude of chamber ensembles. His musical activities encompass a wide variety of music from orchestral to jazz to world percussion. He has performed both in Canada and the United States as one half of the Schumann-Francis piano/percussion duo, whose live performances have been broadcast nationally on American Public Media’s Performance Today (Listen here) The Austin Critic's Table named the Schumann-Francis Duo one of the Top Ten Classical Music Treasures of 2011.

As a highly sought after session musician, Mr. Francis has recorded a number of records for local Austin recording studios Star Seven Media, Congress House Studio, Church House Studio, and Infinity Studios, in addition to major recordings with the Meadows Wind Ensemble and the University of Texas Chamber Singers for the Gasparo and Naxos labels. 

Mr. Francis is a member of the Austin Chamber Music Center (ACMC) faculty, with whom he performs and teaches. He has also worked as the Music Director for The American Repertory Ensemble (ARE). Over a dozen of his solo performances with ARE and ACMC have been nominated for Outstanding Solo Instrumental and Chamber Music Performance by the Austin Critics' Table.


 Violinist Sarah Silver, age 29, is currently in her third season as the Assistant Concertmaster of the San Antonio Symphony. Championing contemporary music, she is particularly passionate about sharing the works of living and recent composers. As part of the 2014 Tanglewood Music Center’s Festival of Contemporary Music, she became only the third violinist to perform Steven Mackey’s violin concerto, A Beautiful Passing, and was described as an “eloquent soloist” (Boston Globe) who “played with lucid heat” (New York Times).  Ms. Silver has also performed as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Carnegie Mellon Philharmonic, and Pittsburgh Civic Orchestra. This past April, she returned to Hong Kong as an artist in residence for The Intimacy of Creativity: The Bright Sheng Partnership. After spending three summers as a fellow at the TMC, where she won the Jules C. Reiner Violin Prize, Ms. Silver was invited back in 2013 and 2014 to be a member of the New Fromm Players, a distinguished chamber music ensemble devoted to performing contemporary music. Performances of Elliott Carter’s String Quartet No. 1 as well as the United States premiere of Epigrams, Carter’s last written work, prompted MusicalAmerica.com to feature her as the New Artist of the Month for September 2013. Other music festivals she has performed at include Kneisel Hall, the New York String Orchestra Seminar, Spoleto Festival USA, and Aspen Music Festival.  Originally from Pittsburgh, Ms. Silver received a Bachelor of Music degree from Carnegie Mellon University, studying with Andrés Cárdenes, followed by a Master of Music degree from the New England Conservatory, studying with Malcolm Lowe.  An avid teacher, she also pursued a minor in music education, earning  K-12 certification as an undergraduate.  Following graduate school, Ms. Silver was a fellow for two years at the New World Symphony in Miami.


With a passion for music, Morgen Johnson has established herself as a cellist of wide musical abilities.  Her creative enthusiasm has led to performances of a vast array of repertoire in concert halls throughout Asia and North America, including Carnegie Hall, Avery Fischer Hall, and the Shanghai Grand Theater. Originally from Michigan, she attended both The Juilliard School and Rice University, studying with Bonnie Hampton, Norman Fischer, and Christopher French.

As a chamber musician, Ms. Johnson has coached with many renowned ensembles such as the Juilliard String Quartet, the Maia Quartet, and the Pacifica Quartet.  In the 2007 season, Ms. Johnson’s professional ensemble, the Toomai Quintet, was awarded first prize in New York’s 92nd St. Y Chamber Outreach Competition. 

Ms. Johnson is very happy to have recently joined the San Antonio Symphony in the beginning of the 2010 season, and enjoys spending her free time practicing yoga, camping, cycling, and volunteering with SNIPSA, an organization dedicated to helping homeless and unwanted animals. 


Looking back at our 2015 winners:

Jack Stone Award for New Music: “Air on Shadows” by Jeremiah Sweeney 

Originally, Jeremiah took piano lessons when he was six years old from a teacher in hisneighborhood, but quit after a few lessons because the teacher was so critical. He only reentered the realm of music in eighth grade when his school started offering a piano course.

From there, Jeremiah started private lessons with a different teacher and quickly devoured what music was put in front of him. Jeremiah went to participate in the National Fine Arts Festival in 2011 and 2013 in the piano division, earning an excellent rating the first time, and a superior with callback the second for his performance of composer Cory Hall's "The Great Flood of Noah." Jeremiah was accepted to Berklee College of Music in March of 2014, but was forced to defer his enrollment for a year due to financial hardships. Undeterred by this setback, Jeremiah redoubled his efforts for learning and writing music, enrolling into classes at Paradise Valley Community College to assist with honing his skills further.


Around the same time, Jeremiah entered into Alice Cooper’s Proof is in the Pudding music competition and surprised the ostensibly rock and metal competition by taking third place overall playing piano solo. The Pudding competition is where Jeremiah first was able to finish

and perform his first original works, as well as Billy Joel’s “Air (Dublinesque),” and William Joseph’s arrangement of “Carol of the Bells.”


Today, he is living in Phoenix, Arizona, playing jazz gigs around the valley, while stayingtrue to his classical roots in both practice of old classics, as well as in his compositions. 


First Runner-Up: “Saigon” by Chris Dahlman

Chris Dahlman began his music career at a young age, first starting out on the violin. But upon entry into middle school he promptly jumped at the opportunity to be in the band and picked up the Clarinet instead which he's been playing ever since. He first knew he wanted to be a composer while a student at Kamiak High School after playing in the full orchestra there and wrote his first pieces during his senior year while in Music Theory. Quickly deciding that he wanted to be a teacher Chris started on his Associates in music at Edmonds Community College where he went through all his theory, started playing the piano, and took private composition lessons with Dr. Nick Sibicky and John Sanders.  

 Second Runner-Up: “Peace Love & Sorrow” by Noelle Pinsonnault

Noelle Pinsonnault  grew up in Springfield Massachusetts and has studied music for 8 years.  She loved it so much she decided to study it in college and plans to acquire at least a bachelor's degree in music composition. She truly enjoys composing music, it is therapy to her soul.


The Jack Stone Award for New Music has been awarded since 2010.  The call for scores results in the awarding of the Jack Stone Award for New music and the selection of runners-up.  The call for scores is open to community college students from around the country.  The winning students are flown to San Antonio, TX, where their pieces are performed in San Antonio by professional musicians.  The students also receive small cash prizes. This year's pieces will be for guitar, with optional violin and cello.  The performers will be Danielle Salerno, violin, Carly Fleming, cello, and Neal Fitzpatrick, guitar.


 Listen to music from the 2015 Jack Stone Award concert on Soundcloud

 Video from the 2011 Jack Stone Awards

San Antonio Express-News coverage






Caroline Shaw is a New York-based musician appearing in different guises. She is a Grammy-winning singer in Roomful of Teeth and a violinist in ACME (American Contemporary Music Ensemble), and in 2013 Caroline became the youngest ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, for her enigmatic composition Partita for 8 Voices. In 2015 she will perform as violin soloist in the world premiere of a new work the Cincinnati Symphony, and she is the inaugural musician in residence at Dumbarton Oaks (2014-15) as well as the Composer in Residence with Vancouver’s Music on Main (through 2016). Caroline has also performed with Signal, the Trinity Wall Street Choir, Alarm Will Sound, the Mark Morris Dance Group Ensemble, and the Knights. Recent and current projects include commissions for the Carmel Bach Festival, the Cincinnati Symphony, the Guggenheim Museum Words & Process Series, The Crossing Choir, the Baltimore Symphony, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, the Aizuri Quartet, and the Folger Library. She is currently creating music for her first feature film (thelighthouseprojectfilm.com). Caroline loves the color yellow, avocados, otters, salted chocolate, kayaking, Beethoven opus 74, Mozart opera, the smell of rosemary, and the sound of a janky mandolin.