On April 10, 2013, Michael-Thomas Foumai’s quintet Scat was announced as the winner of the 2013 Left Coast Composition Contest. Left Coast will perform the new work in the 2013-14 season.
Scat is scored for a quintet comprised of flute, clarinet, violin, viola and cello. The work, which takes its title from scat singing, is a seven-minute romp infused with a jazzy and bluesy subtext. The work combines several varied figures, similar to cuckoo calls, which are constantly passed around, mimicked and juggled around the ensemble. The Aspen Contemporary Ensemble gave the first performance during the summer of 2012.
Michael-Thomas Foumai (b.1987) has proven himself as “one of the most exciting new voices to emerge from the current generation of young American composers (Aspen Music Festival).” Michael holds a Bachelor in Music Composition from the University of Hawaii and a Masters in Music Composition from the University of Michigan where he is currently a doctoral fellow.
LCCE Artistic Director, Anna Presler commented on the judging process, “After many many hours of listening, and, it must be admitted, quite a few hours of dilatory snacking on delicious treats (mostly very healthy stuff, of course, like the doughnut holes that Jerry brought), Michael-Thomas Foumai’s Scat emerged as the winner. It is a bright colorful piece with lots of fetching interplay among the strings and winds. The musicians feel that it will be a lot of fun to perform and will also appeal to our audience. It seems like there is great potential to play around with the rhythm, exploiting the scat singing inspiration for the music.
The runner-up was a quintet also, conincidentally, a piece with similar instrumentation; Matteo Giuliani submitted 28 Barbary Lane. Guilani is currently studying for his master’s degree in composition at the Milan Conservatory.”