Saad Haddad, Composer
Grand Prize

Saad Haddad (b. 1992) is a composer of orchestral, chamber, vocal, and electroacoustic music who achieves a “remarkable fusion of idioms” (New York Times), most notably in his work exploring the disparate qualities inherent in Western art music and Middle Eastern musical tradition. His music delves into that relationship by transferring the performance techniques of traditional Arabic instruments to Western symphonic instruments, while extending their capabilities through the advancement of technology.

Saad Haddad (b. 1992) is a composer of orchestral, chamber, vocal, and electroacoustic music who achieves a “remarkable fusion of idioms” (New York Times), most notably in his work exploring the disparate qualities inherent in Western art music and Middle Eastern musical tradition. His music delves into that relationship by transferring the performance techniques of traditional Arabic instruments to Western symphonic instruments, while extending their capabilities through the advancement of technology.

The 2016–17 season will feature a new work commissioned by the Albany Symphony for two digitally processed sopranos and large ensemble, the premiere of Dohree by the Debussy Trio, the west coast premiere performances of Takht by the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, and subscription performances of Manarah by the Princeton Symphony and Columbus Symphony, among others. During the season, Haddad will be in residence at the Millay Colony for the Arts, the Ucross Foundation, the Bogliasco Foundation, the Studios of Key West, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation to work on various commissions scheduled for premieres during the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons.

Born in Georgia and raised in California, Haddad studied composition with Donald Crockett, Stephen Hartke, Frank Ticheli, and Bruce Broughton at the University of Southern California (Bachelor of Music) and with John Corigliano and Mari Kimura at the Juilliard School (Master of Music).

Seeta Patel, Dance

Born in London, Seeta Patel began training under the guidance of Kiran Ratna in 1990 and has since worked with a range of Bharatanatyam and contemporary dance professionals including Mavin Khoo, Padma Shri Adyar K Lakshman, Pushkala Gopal, Darshan Singh Bhuller and more.

Patel has toured with DV8 Physical Theatre, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, David Hughes Dance Company, Mavin Khoo Dance and Gandini Juggling amongst others. She was awarded the Lisa Ullmann Travel Scholarship to study in India (2005) and at the New York Film Academy (2013).

Born in London, Seeta Patel began training under the guidance of Kiran Ratna in 1990 and has since worked with a range of Bharatanatyam and contemporary dance professionals including Mavin Khoo, Padma Shri Adyar K Lakshman, Pushkala Gopal, Darshan Singh Bhuller and more.

Patel has toured with DV8 Physical Theatre, Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, David Hughes Dance Company, Mavin Khoo Dance and Gandini Juggling amongst others. She was awarded the Lisa Ullmann Travel Scholarship to study in India (2005) and at the New York Film Academy (2013).

Seeta was a judge, mentor and advisor for the first ever BBC Young Dancer Competition. She choreographed a new play at Theatre Royal Stratford East called The House of In Between and has recently returned from a 6-week research trip to Australia funded by the Artists’ International Development Fund.

Maggie Finnegan, Soprano

Hailed by Opera News for her  'strong voice and noteworthy acting prowess,' Maggie Finnegan is a versatile soprano, singing repertoire spanning from medieval to contemporary. This June Maggie made her Kennedy Center debut as the First Place and the Audience Prize winner of the Washington International Competition for Voice with judges Frederica von Stade, William Stone and David Effron.

Hailed by Opera News for her  'strong voice and noteworthy acting prowess,' Maggie Finnegan is a versatile soprano, singing repertoire spanning from medieval to contemporary. This June Maggie made her Kennedy Center debut as the First Place and the Audience Prize winner of the Washington International Competition for Voice with judges Frederica von Stade, William Stone and David Effron. Specializing in new opera, she created the role of Arrangiarsia in the world premiere of Dominick DiOrio’s The Little Blue One with the Juventas New Music Ensemble for which she was praised as ‘the opera’s most captivating musical presence.’

Maggie made her professional musical theater debut in The Sound of Music with Paper Mill Playhouse and joined the Metropolitan Opera Guild’s School Touring Program of The Magic Flute bringing opera to over 2,000 children throughout the New York metro area. Her current opera season includes premieres with The American Chamber Opera Company (as Lisa in Lisa’s Room: An Opera), Vital Opera (in Joshua Groffman’s Unfinished) and the Center for Contemporary Opera (Louis Andriessen’s Odysseus’ Women) in addition to solo performances with the Avanti Orchestra, New Dominion Chorale, The City Choir of Washington and the PyeongChang Winter Music Festival in South Korea.

Maggie earned her Bachelor of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music and her Master of Music degree from Peabody Conservatory. She currently splits her time between New York City and Boston, where she shares a home with her partner and three step-kids.

Gilad Hochman, Composer

Gilad Hochman is widely considered as one of Israel’s most promising emerging composers and an original and innovative voice in the international music scene. He was described as “a rising star in the classical music world” by France 24 and the New York Times stated that “most impressive is Mr. Hochman’s gift for assembling musical gestures that come across as psychologically revealing” while the Israeli Prime Minister’s Prize committee described him as “a fascinating, original and colorful creator”. Maariv concluded – “Hochman writes with a true artist’s hand”.

Gilad Hochman is widely considered as one of Israel’s most promising emerging composers and an original and innovative voice in the international music scene. He was described as “a rising star in the classical music world” by France 24 and the New York Times stated that “most impressive is Mr. Hochman’s gift for assembling musical gestures that come across as psychologically revealing” while the Israeli Prime Minister’s Prize committee described him as “a fascinating, original and colorful creator”. Maariv concluded – “Hochman writes with a true artist’s hand”. Amongst his many achievements, at 24 years old he became the youngest to win Israel’s prestigious Prime Minister’s Prize for Composers for his artistic work. Notable performances of his compositions include chamber music retrospective concerts in Germany and the Berlin Philharmonie orchestral debut in 2013. In 2015 his orchestral piece “Suspended Reality” was played in a concert tour by the Israel Sinfonietta Beer Sheva and the Philharmonie der Nationen under conductor Justus Frantz. This piece’s performances included a premiere at the German Parliament and concerts at the Alte Oper Frankfurt, Wuppertal’s Stadthalle, Tel Aviv’s Opera House and at six other venues. Other compositions by Hochman have been played in Israel, the U.S. and throughout Europe and in numerous different concert series and festivals worldwide.

Born in Israel in 1982 to an Odessa-native father and a Paris-native mother, Hochman resides in Berlin since 2007. That same year, he graduated with honors from the music academy at Tel Aviv University, where he studied composition under Gil Shohat, as well as musicology and theory under some of Israel’s leading senior musicians.

Karen Ouzounian, Cello

Described as “radiant” and “expressive” (The New York Times) and “nothing less than gorgeous” (Memphis Commercial Appeal), cellist Karen Ouzounian approaches music-making with a deeply communicative and passionate spirit. At home in diverse musical settings, she has become increasingly drawn towards unusual collaborations and eclectic contemporary repertoire.

Described as “radiant” and “expressive” (The New York Times) and “nothing less than gorgeous” (Memphis Commercial Appeal), cellist Karen Ouzounian approaches music-making with a deeply communicative and passionate spirit. At home in diverse musical settings, she has become increasingly drawn towards unusual collaborations and eclectic contemporary repertoire.

Karen is a founding member of the Aizuri Quartet, which was a prizewinner at the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition in London and has held residencies at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts, Curtis Institute of Music, and the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. The Quartet has commissioned works by such composers as Caroline Shaw, Yevgeniy Sharlat, Paul Wiancko and Gabriella Smith, and will be featured in the 2017 premiere of a chamber opera by composer Lembit Beecher, along with soprano Kiera Duffy and an expansive, custom-built sound sculpture. Her commitment to adventurous repertoire and the collaborative process has led to her membership in the Grammy-nominated, self-conducted chamber orchestra A Far Cry, and the critically-acclaimed new music collective counter)induction.

Highlights of Karen’s recent and upcoming seasons include performances of the Elgar Concerto in Chile with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Santiago, tours with the Silk Road Ensemble and Mark Morris Dance Group, recitals at the Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts with pianist Ieva Jokubaviciute, a tour of Japan with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and tours with Musicians from Marlboro and Musicians from Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute. Additionally, she has performed with The Knights, Trio Cavatina, and as guest principal of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, IRIS Orchestra, and Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.

Born to Armenian parents in Toronto, Karen was a prizewinner at the 2012 Canada Council for the Arts Musical Instrument Bank Competition. She holds Master of Music and Bachelor of Music degrees from The Juilliard School, where she was a student of Timothy Eddy