Sarah Grace Graves Wins 2015 Mary Bussman Emerging Female Composer Composition Competition

Sarah Grace Graves headshotThe Twin Cities Women’s Choir is pleased to announce the winner of the 2015 Mary Bussman Emerging Female Composer competition. Sarah Grace Graves, who began her formal composition studies at Rice University in 2014, is already making a name for herself in the music world. TCWC will debut her original composition, chiaroscuro, at its first major concert of the 2015-2016 season: the annual “Illuminations” celebration.

Sarah Grace, who grew up in a military family and now lives in Texas, describes herself as a singer who draws inspiration for her compositions from the unique versatility and beauty of the human voice. Her choral work to date includes Though I Walk through the Valley (2012), silent night (2015), and chiaroscuro (2015). Earlier this year, the Houston Grand Opera’s community outreach division, HGOco, commissioned Sarah Grace to write Change Came into Our Houses, a piece that set to music personal quotes from civil rights activist Unita Blackwell. The piece premiered in Houston April 2015. She does not, however compose exclusively for vocal groups. In 2014 Sarah Grace published To God and to the Lamb, a string duet. As a vocalist, she studies with Karol Bennett and sings in the Christ Church Cathedral Choir in Houston.

In response to the Emerging Female Composer award, Sarah Grace wrote the following:

I am deeply honored to be chosen as this year’s Mary Bussman Composition Contest winner…. My piece, chiaroscuro … relates to the darkness and light in art and in ourselves. The power of art—including music—to speak, heal, and inspire, is in its inclination to force us to reconcile the poles of our being. The title… refers to the technique of painting in which darkness and light are placed side by side in dramatic contrast… to give three-dimensional… wholeness to a two-dimensional subject. When we humans affirm our inner darkness and light, we too become whole. I would like to thank…the Twin Cities Women’s Choir for bringing my song to life. I eagerly look forward to the premiere.

The annual Mary Bussman Emerging Female Composer competition supports the choir's mission to "sing, perform and affirm the voices of women." Along with other compositions commissioned through special funds, this award contributes to an ever-growing body of choral work for women’s choirs.

Photo credit: Eric Snoza, SnoStudios Photography