Announcing the G. Schirmer Prize for Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music

Announcing the G. Schirmer Prize for Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music
Fallon Gallagher (Aeryn Santillan)

G. Schirmer & Associated Music Publishers, part of Wise Music Group, is proud to announce the G. Schirmer Prize for the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music (GLFCAM): a new, multi-year partnership offering recognition and mentorship for select composers participating in GLFCAM. This award pays tribute to the invaluable work of Gabriela Lena Frank and further advances our mutual vision of fostering young composers' growth and advancement in the field, with an emphasis on supporting underrepresented populations.

The G. Schirmer Prize is an annual prize with a commitment for the next five years, offering a financial award and mentoring support to one GLFCAM composer each year. The award includes access to publishing industry professionals and a cash prize, as well as networking opportunities. G. Schirmer/Wise Music Classical also continues to award an annual Schirmer prize to a student from Luna Composition Lab (founded by composers Missy Mazzoli and Ellen Reid), the first of which was awarded to Joanna McDonald earlier this season.

On this new partnership between G. Schirmer and GLFCAM, Frank writes: "After I completed my formal training nearly twenty years ago, as a mixed-race disabled Latina, I was prepared to enter an industry that posed daunting obstacles to voices like mine. Then, I was suddenly signed to the G. Schirmer roster, and my life changed. There isn't a day that goes by where I'm not still filled with gratitude for the representation, advice, and friendship from so many fine people. And I'm just so exceedingly grateful for this wonderful prize for composers coming through my Academy who represent the next generation of talents."

2020 G. Schirmer Prize Recipient – Aeryn Santillan

Aeryn Santillan (formerly Aaron Garcia) is a composer, guitarist, bassist, and label manager whose work is heavily influenced by the DIY punk scene and actively aims to blur the lines between band/ensemble and song/composition. Aeryn performs bass in the New Jersey based, internationally touring screamo quartet, Massa Nera. They co-founded this place is actually the worst, an experimental mathcore duo, and post-genre DIY label, people | places | records, with composer/guitarist Andrew Noseworthy. Two of their exceptional compositions are featured below.

recall (2020), for solo violin, begins at 1:50 (performed by Caitlin Edwards)

makeshift memorials (2018) for string quartet (performed by Del Sol Quartet)

Santillan holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Columbia College Chicago and a Master of Music in Theory and Composition degree from New York University. Previous mentors include Gabriela Lena Frank, Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, Marcos Balter, David Reminick, Drew Baker, and Ilya Levinson. Aeryn has been a fellow at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, Toronto Creative Music Lab, and the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music.

"My experience working with GLFCAM has been nothing short of life-changing," writes Santillan. "Gabriela isn't just bringing composers and performers together for a one-off summer collaboration, she's fostering a stronger music community that is open, intersectional, collaborative, and caring. I've met some lifelong friends and collaborators through GLFCAM that I am very grateful for. I'm honored to receive the G. Schirmer Prize for the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music and will continue to learn and grow with the community around me."

"When I first received Aeryn's name as a nomination [to the Academy], I thought: 'Oh my goodness, what shall I do with a punk composer?," confessed Frank. "I clutched the proverbial pearls and peeked through my hands at their submitted scores. As I listened to their music, I remember going very still as talent and potential radiated from my speakers, proving them irresistible to me. When Aeryn later came to Boonville, CA as an invited Fellow at GLFCAM, they proved themselves to be an open-hearted spirit with fierceness in abundance and an impressive code of ethics. We are all the better for having Aeryn as a member of our community, a shining example of crossing cultural and aesthetic boundaries while extending a hand of friendship to new listeners and practitioners."

G. Schirmer Senior Promotion Adviser Peggy Monastra adds: "All of us at G. Schirmer and Wise Music Group are proud to support the impactful work taking place within Gabriela Lena Frank's visionary Creative Academy of Music. With the Schirmer Prize it is our wish to both honor her invaluable, dedicated work and to support the future career of one of the academy's exceptional composer mentees. We were especially struck by the very individual compositional voice and integrity of the music and writings of Aeryn Santillan, especially those created during their residency with GLFCAM. We wish Aeryn and the GLFCAM richly rewarding and enduring artistic growth and success."


The mission of the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music, founded in 2017 by Frank, is fourfold:

1. To inspire emerging composers to create self-determined artistic lives through mentorship, readings with master performers, and hands-on practicums addressing the creative habit in the intimate and eco-conscious setting of Gabriela's two farms in Boonville, CA; to create a support structure for alumni of our programs that entails commissions and seed funds for collaborations with one another.

2. To honor essential civic initiatives: Connecting guest musicians and composer fellows with a local small rural community; encouraging composer fellows to strategize and realize their own potential citizenship in low arts access areas; encouraging the efforts of composers hailing from diverse backgrounds.

3. To practice climate citizenship, acting meaningfully to address the current environmental crisis, and to equip emerging composers with the skill set to make music ethically.

4. To document the stories and teachings of the Academy for video dissemination for the widest audience possible.

About G. Schirmer

Part of Wise Music Group's international network of publishing houses, G. Schirmer, Inc. is the oldest continuously active North American classical music publisher. Through its network of publishing houses, including Chester Music, Edition Wilhelm Hansen, Alphonse Leduc, and Novello, the Group represents works by many of the most important creators from the 20th and 21st centuries, including Abrahamsen, Aucoin, Barber, Catán, Corigliano, Dennehy, Dorman, Du Yun, Einaudi, Ellington, Fenton, Frank, Ives, Lieberson, Lutoslawski, Menotti, Mazzoli, Muhly, Musgrave, Saariaho, Salonen, Snider, Sheng, Tan Dun, and Tavener. The company continues to be a driving force in classical music.

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