2024 Gardner Competition for Composers – Winners Announced!

2024 Gardner Competition Posts

2024 Gardner Competition for Composers – Winners Announced!

The American Viola Society congratulates the winners of the 2024 Maurice Gardner Competition for Composers, honoring American composer Maurice Gardner (1909-2002).

First prize is awarded to Christopher Lowry for his composition for viola and tape, Zenith. Dr. Lowry’s work was selected from among 77 scores submitted to the competition. He will receive a cash prize of $1,000. In addition, his winning composition will be performed at the American Viola Society Festival and Primrose International Viola Competition in Los Angeles, California, June 19-22, 2024.

Second Prize is awarded Ethan Chaves for his composition for solo viola, into deep eternity. Mr. Chaves will receive a cash prize of $500.

Honorable Mention are awarded to two composers:

  • Peter Dayton, for Beyond the Last Thought: Third Fantasy for Viola and Piano
  • Evan Guttormson, for Autumn Prelude for viola solo

For complete biographical information please visit the Gardner Laureates pages.

The mission of the Gardner Competition is to identify and promote important new works featuring the viola. In considering each work, the judges listened for writing that recognizes the unique voice of the viola and its capabilities as a solo instrument, for careful and inspiring construction of the work overall, and for exciting possibilities and challenges for the performer.

This year’s competition brought 77 new compositions to the attention of the judges. Although information was gathered from entrants who wished to share their identities as members of an underrepresented group, the process was entirely blind from start to finish. The Gardner Committee is now looking at the demographic information that was gathered, without associating it with entries, to see how the competition did in terms of reaching a broader and more inclusive group of composers. Looking ahead to 2026 and beyond, we will continue to strive to make the process as inclusive and diverse as possible.

The Gardner 2024 Committee members were Brittany J. Green (composer, creative and educator), Michael Hall (viola soloist and educator), and Ayane Kozasa (Viola Faculty, University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and 2011 Winner of the Primrose International Viola Competition). Martha Carapetyan (Austin Symphony) was the Chair of this year’s Gardner Competition.

The Committee acknowledges the deep commitment and dedication of all the composers who graciously and enthusiastically entered their scores to the competition. Information about the next Gardner Competition for Composers will be available in early Spring 2025.