Katherine Bodor and Jeff Sabol named winners of 2019 NOTUS contest

Katherine Bodor and Jeff Sabol have been named the first- and second-prize winners, respectively, of this year’s NOTUS Student Composition Contest. Both are current graduate students working toward masters degrees in composition at the Jacobs School of Music.

Katherine Bodor

Katherine Bodor

Katherine Bodor takes interest in music as a vessel for exploration of non-musical processes, specifically the psychological processes that take place in personal and human concepts of cause versus effect and the internal versus the external. She graduated in 2016 from Washington University in St. Louis with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a second major in Music Composition, studying with Christopher Stark and Martin Kennedy. Katherine is pursuing an MM in Composition at the Jacobs School with Claude Baker and Don Freund. She was last year’s second-prize winner of the NOTUS contest.

Bodor’s first-prize work is Assurance for mixed chorus, clarinet, and violin. Of the work, she says: “I wrote the text for this work after a long period of internal turmoil, in which my mind kept returning to images of water, drowning, and suffocation. … Much of the music of Assurance reflects this internal tumult and pain, as much of the harmonic and rhythmic material is rife with nervous, aggressive energy that doesn’t know where to go. … After all the work I had put in to keep my head above water, I found a new peace simply by letting go of what had gotten me thus far.”

Jeff Sabol’s rich, colorful and vibrant music is influenced by a diverse array of sources. His compositions balance expressive solo melodies and grand harmonic textures, along with soothing pulses and complex, striking rhythmic gestures. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Music in composition from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. He is currently pursuing his Master of Music in composition at Indiana University, studying with P. Q. Phan.

Jeff Sabol

Jeff Sabol

Sabol’s second-prize work is Confiteor for mixed chorus, cello and piano. Of the work, he adds: “This setting explores the deep range of introspection and emotion that comes from admitting one’s mistakes. The text follows a symmetrical arc, beginning and ending with an acknowledgement of God. The next “layer” of text is an appeal to friends and loved ones, who, like God, are sources of trust and comfort. The beautiful and peaceful outer sections reflect the joy of absolution and forgiveness.”

NOTUS will give the world premiere of both works on Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Auer Concert Hall at 8 p.m. as part of the concert program “Collaborations: Music with Friends.” The concert will also feature music of Petr Eben, Carolina Heredia, Dale Trumbore, Joel Thompson, and others, performing alongside faculty soloists Julia Bentley, Janette Fishell, Katherine Jolly, and Linda Strommen.

The judges also awarded three honorable mentions this year for Erik Q. Ransom’s The Sick Rose, Matt Ridge’s Reverance, and Sam Ritter’s The Glorious Imparting.

Judges for the competition included Carolann Buff, assistant professor of music (choral musicology), Jeffrey Hass, professor of music (composition) and director of the Center for Electronic and Computer Music, and Katherine Jolly, assistant professor of music (voice).

The Contest is an initiative of Dominick DiOrio, associate professor of music and director of NOTUS: IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble. DiOrio did not take part in the judging panel. The submission of scores was anonymous and the judges did not see names or identifying information until after final decisions were made. The annual competition is open to all current undergraduate and graduate students at the Jacobs School of Music.

Katherine Bodor (b. 1994) takes interest in music as a vessel for exploration of non-musical processes, specifically the psychological processes that take place in personal and human concepts of cause versus effect and the internal versus the external. She graduated in 2016 from Washington University in St. Louis with a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a second major in Music Composition, studying with Christopher Stark and Martin Kennedy. Katherine is pursuing an MM in Composition at IU JSOM with Claude Baker and Don Freund. She has premiered works internationally and throughout the US, with ensembles including PHACE Contemporary Ensemble, Vertixe Sonora, Chamber Project St. Louis, NOTUS Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, Third Wheel Trio, and Six Degree Singers.

Jeff Sabol’s rich, colorful and vibrant music is influenced by a diverse array of sources and finds an audience with both the most experienced musician and the most casual listener. His compositions balance expressive solo melodies and grand harmonic textures, along with soothing pulses and complex, striking rhythmic gestures. His computer music, both fixed media and with live processing, is frequently a vehicle for meditation. Outside of composition, Jeff is also an active and dedicated singer, having performed in university, volunteer, and professional choral ensembles. Jeff holds a Bachelor of Music in composition from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music. Currently, he is based in Bloomington, Indiana, where he is pursuing his Master of Music in composition at Indiana University, studying with P. Q. Phan.

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