From among 230 entries, UMD Assistant Professor of Percussion Gene Koshinski was presented with the 2012 Rudolf Nissim Award. The awarded composition entitled Concerto for Marimba and Choir is written for solo marimba, percussion ensemble, and choir. The recording that represented the piece consisted of the marimba solo played by Koshinski; percussion by Jeremy Craycraft, Jianpeng Feng, and Brett Jones; and the vocals by UMD Concert Chorale and University Singers, conducted by UMD Assistant Professor Tina Thielen-Gaffey.
Koshinski’s musical work varied from the typical submissions for the annual award. According to the judges, his work, a marimba solo accompanied by percussion ensemble and large choir, was largely different because of the instrumentation. “I’m not a classically trained composer,” said Koshinski. “I have never studied composition in a formal setting and it is not my main area of focus as a musician, so it’s amazing, and surprising, that I received this recognition for a project I took on just for fun.”
The Rudolph Nissim Award was established by Dr. Rudolf Nissim, former head of The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). Nissim established the annual prize for an ASCAP concert composer whose work requires a conductor but that has not been performed professionally. In order to be considered for the award, composers must be ASCAP members; their work must be a new piece of musical composition that has not been published or performed; and, the written score and a recording must be submitted for review.
The panel of judges is comprised of conductors who select a single composition for the annual award. The honorary title as the 2012 Rudolf Nissim recipient is combined with a monetary prize of $5,000.
Additional Information about Gene Koshinski
Gene Koshinski is currently Assistant Professor of Percussion at the University of Minnesota Duluth and in demand as a soloist and chamber musician having performed in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Jordan, Slovenia, Canada, and throughout the United States. In 2002, Koshinski won the National MTNA Percussion Competition in Cincinnati, OH and in 2004, finished 3rd in the prestigious Universal Marimba Duo Competition in Sint-Truiden, Belgium.
“So far, my favorite place to perform was in Jordan,” said Koshinski. “Western music is very new to their culture. It was told to me that I was likely the first person to have performed a solo percussion recital in their country. There is only one classical music school in Amman, but there is such a fresh interest in Western music.”
When describing what it means to be a percussionist, the range of musical options is limitless. “The percussion family is any instrument that you can strike, shake, or scrape,” Koshinski said. “Music is very important to me and teaching students about what I know is something I truly enjoy. The students in my classes have a variety of backgrounds – every day is different, and every student brings something valuable to the classroom.”
About the ASCAP Foundation
Founded in 1975, the ASCAP Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting American music creators and encouraging their development through music education and talent development programs. Included in these are songwriting workshops, grants, scholarships, awards, recognition and community outreach programs and public service projects for senior composers and lyricists. The ASCAP Foundation is supported by contributions from ASCAP members and from music lovers through the United States. www.ascapfoundation.org