Summermusik picks inaugural commission competition winner

Composer Matt Browne has won the inaugural Kreitler Commission Competition, a contest hosted by Cincinnati-based Summermusik in partnership with several orchestras from across the United States.

The contest received 237 applications from artists representing 18 countries. A jury selected Browne through a blind selection process based solely on the merit of two submitted work samples.

Matt Browne

For winning, Brown will begin composing a new work for chamber orchestra, with a world premiere by Summermusik in August 2025. The partner orchestras – Chamber Orchestra of Pittsburgh, Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle (North Carolina) and Reno Chamber Orchestra – will host subsequent performances throughout their 2025-2026 seasons.

Browne will also take home a $10,000 grand prize.

“I’m humbled and honored to be the recipient of the inaugural Kreitler Commission Competition prize and to be given the opportunity to compose a brand-new work for these four wonderful orchestras,” said Browne.

Meet Matt Browne

Born in 1988, Browne has already accomplished quite a bit in his young career. He has collaborated with ensembles such as the Minnesota Orchestra, Alarm Will Sound, PRISM Quartet and New England Philharmonic. Recent projects include his Symphony No. 1 “The Course of Empire,” commissioned by the Santa Rosa Symphony and Eugene Symphony, “States of Mind” for percussion quartet, and a collaboration with Opera Omaha’s Poetry and Music.

Other career honors for the Colorado-based musician include the ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize in 2017 and beating out 2,000 other applicants from 84 countries to earn the top prize in the 2020 New Classics International Competition of the Moscow Conservatory.

Composers Yanchen Ye of Ann Arbor, Mich. and Alexis C. Lamb of Ypsilanti, Mich. were the first and second runners up. 

Coincidently, all three of the top finishers either have completed or are working on a doctor of musical arts degree in composition at the University of Michigan.

“Each time I am afforded the opportunity to write a new piece for orchestra, I feel like a kid in a candy store, and I can’t wait to deliver a great new piece next August,” Browne said.

Bringing young musical voices to Cincinnati stages

Summermusik is centered around resident ensemble the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, an independent ensemble of 32 professional musicians. A goal of the organization is to make orchestral music more accessible for audiences, said executive director Evan Gidley.

The organization celebrates its 50th anniversary this summer.

Summermusik created the Kreitler Commission Competition as a way to support unique works from up-and-coming composers.

The name of the contest honors the memory of 10-time Emmy Award-winning composer John Henry Kreitler, a Summermusik board member and a longtime supporter of the organization. Gidley credited Kreitler with coming up with the idea for the contest and helping launch the competition.

Kreitler passed away in January.

Gidley described Kreitler as committing himself to providing composers with opportunities such as the ones offered through the competition that now bears his name. To further honor his legacy, Summermusik will present Kreitler’s Symphony No. 2 on Aug. 10 at the School for Creative and Performing Arts.

Summermusik will announce details about the second annual Kreitler Commission Competition in early 2025.

“Matt is a brilliant composer, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with him,” Gidley said of this year’s Kreitler winner. “We are humbled by the quality of applications submitted for this competition, which further underlines Matt’s talent.”


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