2019 Competition Contest Winner

Sarah Gibson's I prefer living in color is the winner of the 2019 Left Coast Composition Contest. Left Coast will perform the piece in the 2019-20 season. Sarah currently teaches at the University of Southern California and she is Associate Artistic Director of the HEAR NOW Music Festival of Los Angeles Composers. Find out more about Sarah at her website.


Sarah Gibson is a composer and pianist who has been called “a serious talent to watch” (Atlanta Journal Constitution). Her works have received honors and recognitions such as the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra's Sound Investment composer, American Composers Orchestra Underwood New Music Readings, Victor Herbert ASCAP award, and first place in the Percussive Arts Society Composition Contest. Her Left-hand Piano Concerto was selected as a winner of The University of Southern California’s (USC) New Music for Orchestra competition and was premiered with Sarah at the keyboard. She has received commissions from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Tanglewood Music Center, Aspen Summer Music Festival and School, L.A. Signal Lab, the Bennington Chamber Music Conference, soprano Lindsay Kesselman, among others.

Gibson’s music has been performed by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Eighth Blackbird, Lindsay Kesselman, New Fromm Players, USC Thornton Edge, the USC Symphony, Aperture Duo, and at various venues across the United States and in Europe. As a pianist, Sarah has performed with many of these ensembles as well as with wild Up, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and the Atlanta Symphony where she debuted under the direction of Donald Runnicles in 2005. Sarah is published by the Neil A. Kjos Music Company and Mostly Marimba Productions. Her song cycle, Arson, is recorded by Bad Wolf Music Group.

Sarah Gibson, winner of the 2019 Left Coast Chamber Ensemble composition contest

Sarah Gibson, winner of the 2019 Left Coast Chamber Ensemble composition contest

Sarah is co-founder of the new music piano duo, HOCKET, which has been lauded as "brilliant" by the LA Times' Mark Swed. In 2014, HOCKET made its debut with the Boston-based Firebird Ensemble as part of their Outstanding Young Artists Initiative.  HOCKET has held residences at Avaloch Farm Music Institute and received grants from the Earle Brown Music Foundation and the Presser Foundation. HOCKET has performed at such festivals as the MATA Festival, the L.A. Philharmonic's Noon to Midnight, Other Minds Festival, and with the Eighth Blackbird Creative Lab.

Sarah holds degrees in Piano and Composition from Indiana University and the University of Southern California, where she is currently on faculty in Theory and Analysis. She is Associate Artistic Director of the HEAR NOW Music Festival of Los Angeles Composers and the Lead-Teaching Artist for the esteemed Nancy and Barry Sanders Los Angeles Philharmonic Composer Fellowship Program alongside Artistic Director, Andrew Norman.

2019 Honorable Mentions

Bian lian - Luk Wai Chun Vincent
Imp in impulse - Pascal Le Boeuf

Past winners:

  • 2018 Charles Peck: Sunburst [video]

    • Honorable Mentions:

      Jack Frerer: Downloads

      Daniel Harrison: Give Up the Ghost

      Stephen Yip: Luminosity Etude

  • 2017 Chiayu Hsu: Rhapsody Toccata [video]

  • 2016 Melody Eötvös: House of the Beehives [video]

  • 2015 Christopher Stark: Piano Quartet 2014 [video]

  • 2014 Felix Leuschner: Krieg ohne Schlacht [video]

  • 2013 Michael-Thomas Foumai: Scat

  • 2012 Ryan Carter: too many arguments in line 17

  • 2011 Mike Solomon: Anonymous Student Compliment or Complaint

  • 2010 Steven Snowden

  • 2009 Matthew Barnson: String Quartet

  • 2008 Stephen Feigenbaum: Boiling Point for string quartet

  • 2007 Moritz Eggert

  • 2006 Carl Schimmel

  • 2005 Justin Merritt

  • 2004 Claude Baker

  • 2003 Bruno Ruviaro

  • 2002 Tamar Muskal

  • 2001 Gabriel Vine

  • 2000 Yehuda Yannay

Image credit (strings): Vivian Sachs