Composers (clockwise from top left): Garrett Byrnes, Jeremiah Siochi, Uno Alexander Vesje, Chia-Yu Hsu, Michael Maganuco and Mischa Zupko

The USA International Harp Competition was founded in 1989 by world-renowned harpist and teacher Susann McDonald.  As part of its mission to promote harp and harp music, the USA International Harp Competition sponsors a Composition Contest that occurs every three years, prior to the performance Competition.  Composers are invited to submit new works for solo harp.

Lyon & Healy Publications is proud to publish the winning pieces as an addition to the harp repertoire.  Learn more about the composers below and click on the winning titles to read and listen to a sample on and find purchasing information.

6th Composition Contest – 2018

Uno Alexander Vesje

Uno Alexander Vesje (b. 1989) is a Norwegian harpist and composer.  He studied harp performance at the Manhattan School of Music in New York City and at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, where he received his Master’s degree. He also earned a Masters in Composition at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology with the project “Harp – from solo to bigger format.”  As a composer, Uno’s awards include a grant from the Norwegian Arts Council and third prize in the International Edvard Grieg Composition Contest.  In 2018, his harp concerto, Bragi’s Harp, was selected to be performed with the Bergen Philharmonic Youth Orchestra at the final gala concert of the Young Nordic Music Festival.

Mr. Vesje has participated in the USAIHC Composition Contest many times.  Upon hearing he was this year’s winner, he replied, “This competition has for so many years been one of my biggest inspirations for writing new solo pieces for the harp.”  Regarding his piece Life is flashing before my eyes and I realize that it all started with a blackbird, Mr. Vesje shared,

“The piece La Volière Magique by Marcel Tournier was a big inspiration for this composition and led to asking myself, how would I write music about a magical aviary?  What are the feelings from the birds captured inside – magical and beautiful?  There is something about this duplicity that you find everywhere in this world: the captured and the free, the natural and artificial, life and death.  The inner battle of one’s duplicity is what I have wanted to explore in this composition.”

5th Composition Contest – 2015

Composition: Sublimation
Jeremiah Siochi

Jeremiah Siochi is an American composer and songwriter.  Drawing inspiration from the classical tradition as well as jazz and pop, his solo and chamber works engage with the more cerebral aspects of experimental music while being driven by an intensely visceral and melodic undercurrent.  While at Duke University, Mr. Siochi studied under composers Stephen Jaffe and Scott Lindroth.  His works have been performed by a diverse range of artists at festivals throughout the United States as well as featured on National Public Radio.  Although Mr. Siochi works as a software developer by day, at night he continues to write a variety of solo music, songs, and chamber works.

3rd Composition Contest – 2009

Composition: Awakening Stillnesses
Michael Maganuco

Michael Maganuco is a harpist, teacher, composer, and arranger based in Chicago, Illinois.  He is an active freelance soloist and orchestral musician, with recent principal harp credits that include Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Dubuque Symphony, Evanston Symphony, and Lakeview Orchestra.  He has also performed at summer music festivals including Tanglewood Music Center, Chautauqua Institute, and Eastern Music Festival. He is committed to the performance of contemporary music and has premiered works by composers Elliott Carter, Gunther Schuller, Theodore Antoniou, Peter Child, Malcolm Peyton, and many others.  He has appeared as soloist in performances of Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp, William Grant Still’s Ennanga, and Ravel’s Introduction and Allegro.  As a Baroque triple harpist, Mr. Maganuco has played in historical performances of Handel’s Concerto for Harp and Monteverdi’s operas, L’orfeo and L’incoronazione di Poppea.

Mr. Maganuco is also a published composer and arranger.  His original solo harp composition, Awakening Stillnesses, was awarded the grand prize in the Composition Contest for the 8th USA International Harp Competition.  In 2012, his piece was recorded by French harpist, Agnès Clément, on her debut solo album, Dance.  Mr. Maganuco arranges extensively for the harp, as well; commissioned by Ann Hobson Pilot, principal harpist of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, he arranged a collection of Astor Piazzolla’s music for violin and harp, which Pilot recorded with BSO violinist, Lucia Lin, for an all-Piazzolla album, Escualo, released in 2015 by Harmonia Mundi.  Mr. Maganuco graduated summa cum laude from Boston University with Bachelor’s degrees in harp performance and composition, and earned his Master’s degree in harp performance from Northwestern University.

2nd Composition Contest – 2006

Composition: Huan
Chia-Yu Hsu

Born in Taipei, Taiwan, Ms. Hsu is the recipient of numerous awards and honors for her compositional endeavors, including scholarships from the Chen Family Enterprise, Panchiao Credit Union, National Taiwan Academy of Art, Taipei Modern Women’s Foundation, Sampo Foundation, Yamaha Foundation, the Chiou Hai-Husi Foundation, Evan Braun Fellowship from The Curtis Institute of Music and C.P. Richardson Scholarships from Yale University.

In addition, Ms. Hsu won first prize in the National Taiwan Academy of Art Composition competition for her Fantasia for Violin Solo & Orchestra and String Quartet, which was performed at the Taipei County Cultural Center.  She also composed the music for the 1995 San Has Cultural Summer Festival.  In the summers of 1992-95, she participated in the Chinese Composers Conference. In 1998, she won the Prism Quartet Student Commissioning Award and subsequently received commission from the group for a Saxophone Quartet Contrast.  The next year, she won third prize in the Maxfield Parrish composition contest.  In 2000, she was commissioned by the Composers from Curtis Chamber Ensemble for The Last Invocation. In 2001, she won the Renee B. Fisher Foundation Composer Award and later received a commission from that organization.  In the summer of 2003, she was awarded a scholarship to study at the Fontainebleau Music Festival. Her Shui Diao Ge To, composed for the 2004 Milestones Festival received a 2005 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer’s Award and won the recording rights in Vol. 7 of ERMMedia’s critically acclaimed compact disc series Masterworks of the New Era.  This year, Zhi for violin and piano won the William Klenz Prize.  Her Huan for solo harp is the winner of the Composition Contest for the 2007 USA International Harp Competition.

1st Composition Contest – 2003 (Two Co-Winners)

Composition: Visions of Twilight
Garrett Byrnes

Garrett Byrnes gained his Doctorate at Indiana University, where he has served as Associate Instructor of Composition.  He began his studies at the Boston Conservatory, earning a Bachelor of Music in 1995, and continued his education in Baltimore, receiving his Masters from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University in 1999.  His principal composition teachers include Sven-David Sandstrom, Don Freund, David Dzubay, Chen Yi and Larry Bell.

Mr. Byrnes’ music has been heard in France, Switzerland and Japan as well as throughout the United States.  His compositions have been read and performed by such organizations as the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indiana University New Music Ensemble, Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra, Chesapeake Youth Repertory Orchestra and CYSO Flute Choir, Aspen Summer Festival Orchestra, the Peabody Symphony and Concert Orchestras, Tonus Percussion Group, Tarab Cello Ensemble, and the Kylix New Music Ensemble as well as notable soloists.  He has received honors and grants from the American Music Center, National Association of Composers, Southeastern Composers League, Boston Conservatory, residencies at Yaddo and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and has served as composer in residence at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Recent compositions include Aphorism for solo harp and Triptyclysm for percussion trio.  His Concerto for Piano Chamber Orchestra, was commissioned by David Dzubay and the Indiana University New Music Ensemble, for the ensemble and pianist Ji-Hye Chang.

Among Byrnes’ most performed compositions are his works for harp. Valley of Butterflies was recently given its full premiere by Yumiko Endo Schlaffer at the American Harp Society in 50th Anniversary concert in Dallas.  Villanelle for violin and harp was commissioned for the Dutch duo of Tjeerd Top and Lavinia Meijer, premiered at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, has been performed by numerous duos, and will be released on an upcoming CD.  Visions in Twilight (harp solo) continues to be a very popular work and performed often by harpists in an array of countries.  Meijer herself has given performances of the work in numerous cities across the globe, including Amsterdam, Athens, Birmingham, Brussels, Cologne, Dublin, New York, Paris, and Vienna among others, and features the composition on her CD “Visions” (Channel Classics).  The work is also featured on the recording “Ceren Necipoglu: Bir Kitap Gibi” (Kalan Müzik) along with another harp solo work by Byrnes, Amhrán Slán.

Composition: Despedida
Mischa Zupko

Mischa Zupko received a Bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Northwestern University in 1994 and a Master’s and Doctorate degree in composition from Indiana University.  He is currently on the faculty at DePaul University School of Music and serves as the composer-in-residence at the Music Institute of Chicago.  His teachers have included his father, Ramon Zupko, Eugene O’Brien, Fredrick Fox, David Dzubay, Augusta Read Thomas, and Don Freund.

Mr. Zupko has since received several awards and commissions.  Among these are first place in the Pacific Symphony Orchestra’s American Composers’ Competition, Dean’s Prizes at Indiana University (1998, 1999 and 2001), and the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards (1999, 2000, 2001), one of which was the first place Kaplan Award.  He is the winner of the Jacob Druckman prize from the National Federation of Music Clubs (2000).  He also holds awards from the Bloomington Chapter of the National Society of Arts & Letters (1998, 2000, 2001), is the co-winner of the USA International Harp Competition Contest (2003) and the winner of the Lee Ettelson Prize (2004). In May 2004 he was a finalist in the Rome Prize Competition.

Mr. Zupko has an impressive list of commissions from the Pacific Symphony, the Fromm Foundation (2002), the Gilmore International Keyboard Festival (2003), the New York Youth Symphony and the Minnesota Orchestra (2004), and from several instrumental soloists.  Mr. Zupko’s works have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Segerstrom Hall at the Orange County Performing Arts Center, the Aspen Music Festival, the Moscow Conservatory, where Mr. Zupko was invited to perform his work Shunt (for piano and electronic tape).  In March 2002, he was selected to take part in the Minnesota Orchestra at Minneapolis’ Orchestra Hall. His works have also been performed in numerous solo instrumental competitions, including the Israel International Harp Competition, at the SUNY Potsdam School and the Grace Welsh piano competition.  In November 2003, Mr. Zupko’s Harpichord Concerto for harpsichord and string quartet was premiered by Bradley Brookshire and the Corigliano Quartet at Merkin Hall.  Mr. Zupko remains active as a performer through his work as a guest pianist with the Kylix New Music Ensemble and has performed with the Indiana University New Music Ensemble.