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Paul Clift, a composer living in New York City, submitted the winning composition titled, “1950c, for classical guitar,” in the 2012 University of New Mexico John Donald Robb Musical Trust Composers’ Competition.
He will be honored with the premiere of his composition at the 2013 John Donald Robb Composers’ Symposium, which takes place from March 24-27 at UNM.
Clift, a doctoral student at Columbia University, designed his winning composition as a musical metaphor to the style of abstract impressionist painter Clyfford Still.
“I sought to create a work for solo guitar in my own musical language that made abstract reference to the folk music of the South in the United States,” he said. “The J.D. Robb field-recording archives proved to be of immense value for me, in particular the Matachines field recordings of 1952.”
Clift, an Australian composer, has been living in New York City since receiving a Columbia doctoral fellowship in 2009.
He earned a master’s degree in music at King’s College in London and a bachelor’s degree at Monash University Conservatorium in Australia. His works have been performed at festivals in North America, Europe and Australia.
His principal teachers have been George Benjamin, Jean-Luc Hervé, Fred Lerdahl, Philippe Leroux, Fabien Lévy, Yan Maresz and Tristan Murail.
The biennial competition requires composers to use material from the John Donald Robb Field Recordings in the UNM Center for Southwest Research. It comes with a $3,500 prize.
Judging the 2012 competition were Volker Blumenthaler, professor of theory and composition at Hochschule für Musik in Nürnberg, Germany; Lei Liang, professor of composition at the University of California San Diego; and Augusta Read Thomas, professor of composition at the University of Chicago.
The John Donald Robb Musical Trust at the University of New Mexico was established in 1989 and is dedicated to keeping alive the spirit and contributions of Robb, an accomplished composer and collector/arranger of folk music, who has preserved Hispanic folk music in New Mexico.
For more information, visit robbtrust.org/events/2013-composers-symposium or econtent.unm.edu/cdm4/index_robb.php.