2017 Competition Contest Winner

Chiayu Hsu's Rhapsody Toccata is the winner of the 2017 Left Coast Composition Contest. Her piece was selected from among 125 entries from 13 countries. Left Coast will perform the piece in the 2017-18 season. Chia-Yu is an Assistant Professor of Composition at University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire. Find out more about Chia-Yu at her website.

Inspired by the genres of toccata and jazz, Rhapsody Toccata attempts to superimpose these two contrary styles into a cohesive structure. In the beginning, the toccata acts as a leading role while jazz music sneaks in and gradually expands and takes over. The piece intends to showcase the virtuosic techniques of the pianist and his or her interpretation of wondering freely in between these two contrasting styles.

Chiayu Hsu, winner of the 2017 Left Coast Composition Contest

Born in Banciao, Taiwan, Chiayu is an active composer of contemporary concert music. Chiayu has been interested in deriving inspirations from different materials, such as poems, myths, and images. Particularly, however, it is the combination of Chinese elements and western techniques that is a hallmark of her music. Chiayu’s music has been recognized with awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Copland House, IAWM, Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composer’s Awards, KH Tan Competition, Lynn University, music+culture (2009 International Competition), the Sorel Organization (2nd International Medallion Choral Composition Competition and recording grant), the International Harp Society (7th USA International Harp Composition Competition), ASCAP (Morton Gould Young Composer Awards), the Maxfield Parrish Composition Contest, and the Renée B. Fisher Foundation, among others. Her orchestral works have been performed by the London Sinfonietta, the Detroit, the San Francisco, the Spokane, the Toledo Symphony Orchestras, the Nashville Symphony, the American Composers Orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra in Taiwan. Chamber works have appeared on programs of the Aspen Music Festival Contemporary Ensemble, Eighth Blackbird, Prism Quartet and Ciompi Quartet.

Currently an assistant professor at UW-Eau Claire, Chiayu received her Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music, Master’s degree and Artist Diploma from Yale University and Ph.D. at Duke University. She has also studied at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Chamber Music Conference and Composers’ Forum of the East, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the Aspen Music Festival, Fontainebleau Schools, and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival. She also attended residency at the Copland House, the Dora Maar House, the Camargo Foundation, Wildacres Retreat, and Yaddo. Her teachers included Jennifer Higdon, David Loeb, Roberto Sierra, Ezra Laderman, Martin Bresnick, Anthony Kelley, Scott Lindroth, and Stephen Jaffe.

Chiayu Hsu, winner of the 2017 Left Coast Composition Contest.

Chiayu Hsu, winner of the 2017 Left Coast Composition Contest.

Past winners include 

  • Melody Eötvös
  • Christopher Stark
  • Felix Leuschner
  • Michael-Thomas Foumai
  • Ryan Carter
  • Mike Solomon
  • Steven Snowden
  • Matthew Barnson
  • Stephen Feigenbaum
  • Moritz Eggert
  • Carl Schimmel
  • Justin Merritt
  • Claude Baker
  • Bruno Ruviaro
  • Tamar Muskal
  • Gabriel Vine
  • Yehuda Yannay

photo banner: Jeanette Yu