YCC Current Winners | Webster University

CMS Young Composers Competition Winners


2019-2020 Young Composers Competition Winners:

Level One (12-16 years of age):

1st Place: Noah Tan, 16, from Stevensville, MI - for Swallows of Amritsar
2nd Place: Madeline Cheng, 15, from Los Altos, CA - for Where Before Was Gray

Level Two (17-21 years of age): 

1st Place: Jane Meenaghan, 18, from Los Angeles, CA – for needles to the ground
2nd Place: Sami Seif, 21, from Cleveland, OH – Cleveland Institute of Music for La'ib an-nard (The Dice Player)

About the 2019-2020 Young Composers Competition Winners

Level One (12-16 years of age):

1st Place: Noah Tan Stevensville, MI - for Swallows of Amritsar
Noah Tan (age 16) is currently a junior at Culver Academies in Culver, Indiana.  He has studied composition with Mr. David Weirich of Culver Academies and Dr. Martin Amlin from Boston University, and Dr. Justin Casinghino of Boston University.  Noah has attended composition programs such as the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI) Young Artists Composers Program, in which he had masterclasses with John Wallace and Nico Muhly.  His recent awards include the winner of the 2018 Indiana Music Educators Association Young Composers Competition, state and regional winner of the National Federation of Music Clubs (NFMC) Junior Composition Competition, and national finalist of the NFMC Junior Composition Competition.  His works have been played by Ellie Jarrett Shattles, the Tanglewood Music Center Fromm String Quartet, Vento Chiaro Wind Quintet, Triton Brass, and members of BUTI Young Artists Orchestra.  Link to Press Release for Noah Tan.

2nd Place: Madeline Cheng Los Altos, CA - for Where Before Was Gray
Madeline Clara Cheng is a fifteen-year-old composer, saxophonist, and pianist from the San Francisco Bay Area. Madeline is the first place winner of the 2019 National Federation of Music Club’s Junior Composers State Contest. She won 2nd place in the 2019 Music Teachers’ Association of California Composers Today State Contest. She has also been selected as one of the few Luna Composition Lab Fellows in the nation for 2019-2020.
Her compositions have been performed across the U.S., including the 2018 PianoTexas International Festival, the 2018 Global Youth Philanthropy’s Benefit Concert, the 2019 Music Teachers Association of California State Convention, the 2019 Sun Valley Music Festival, and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s High School Composition Intensive. 

As an alto saxophonist, Madeline received the 2018 Frank Sumares Scholarship Award to study at the Stanford Jazz Workshop. She was also lead alto saxophonist for 2019 Sun Valley Music Festival Youth Symphony.

In her free time, Madeline serves as president of her school’s Key Club and is organizing a benefit concert to raise money for pediatric trauma prevention.  Link to Press Release for Madeling Cheng.

Level Two (17-21 years of age):

1st Place: Jane Meenaghan Los Angeles, CA –  for needles to the ground
Jane Meenaghan (age 18) is a composer whose works seek to synthesize, recontextualize, and juxtapose diverse musical aesthetics and techniques in hybrid soundscapes. Jane has studied composition for two years under the tutelage of Ian Krouse at UCLA, Andrew Norman through the LA Phil Composer Fellowship Program, and Gity Razaz through Luna Lab. She has written works for ensembles including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, International Contemporary Ensemble, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, Houston Symphony, American Youth Symphony, AMF Orchestra, Tanglewood Young Artists’ Orchestra, and Lyris Quartet, and has received top honors from competitions including ASCAP Morton Gould (Bergen Scholarship), Avalon International, NFMC Junior Composers, NextNotes, and National YoungArts. Recent projects include a film score written under the tutelage of Michael Giacchino for the LA Phil’s ‘Symphonies for Schools’ concert series and a string quartet with electronics premiered at Lincoln Center and Walt Disney Concert Hall.  Link to Press Release for Jane Meenaghan.

2nd Place: Sami Seif Cleveland, OH – Cleveland Institute of Music for La'ib an-nard (The Dice Player)
Sami Seif (age 21) is a Lebanese composer, music theorist, and pianist. His music is inspired by the aesthetics, philosophies and paradigms of his Middle-Eastern heritage, as well as his ideal of creating deeply emotional and spiritually stirring music.

A Junior, he is currently double-majoring in Composition and Music Theory at the Cleveland Institute of Music in Cleveland, Ohio. He is studying Composition with Dr. Keith Fitch and Piano with Gerardo Teissonnière. He has taken masterclasses with renowned composers such as Stephen Hartke, Andrew Norman, Melinda Wagner, and Yehudi Wyner.

Seif is from the small town of Ashkout in Mount Lebanon. Born in Abu Dhabi to a non-musical family, he started out as a self-taught musician, composing and playing keyboard instruments at the age of 12.

Seif studied Piano and Composition with Julia Victorivna Podsekaeva from 2013-2015 in Abu Dhabi. During this period, he also studied audio engineering and sound synthesis. Later, he moved to Toronto for two years and studied Composition with Dr. Roger Bergs during that time.

Fluent in Arabic, French, and English, he also enjoys exercising, cooking, as well as reading books and poetry in his free time.  Link to Press Release for Sami Seif.