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CanticaNOVA Publications
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AGO Award to CNP Composer
Alan Smith

by David Vogels, CAGO, MM

This article appeared in, The American Organist Magazine, a journal of the American Guild of Organists.

Alan Smith Alan Smith has become the first British composer to win the AGO/ECS Publishing Award in Choral Composition. The competition called for an anthem for SATB choir and organ suitable for Advent. The winning piece is titled, "There Is a Flow'r," set to a 15th-century text by John Audelay. The judges were Aaron David Miller, Maxine Thévenot, and Matthew Walsh.

This 13th biennial award carries a prize of $2000 and publication of the composition, both provided by the ECS Publishing Corporation, as well as performance of the piece at the AGO National Convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

Born in 1962, Alan Smith was an organ scholar at Kings' College, London, where he studied composition with Nicola LeFanu and David Lumsdaine. He also holds a Licentiate Diploma in Composition from Trinity College, London. Smith is currently head of music and composer-in-residence at Hazelwick School in Crawley, England, and music director of his local parish church, Saint Andrew's in Burgess Hill. In January 2009 he was appointed as composer-in-residence to the Burgess Hill Choral Society.

Smith won the Royal School of Church Music's annual composition competition in 1990 with Let the Peoples Praise You, his first published piece, which continues to be widely performed. More recently, his choral and organ compositions have won the 2003 Thornesian Prize, an honorable mention in the 2004 Vanguard Premieres Competition, a highly commended award in the 2005 Irish Music Rights Organisation Composers Competition, and first prize in the 2005 RSCM Norwich and Norfolk anthem-writing competition. In October 2007, his music was featured as part of the 2007 annual Festival of New Organ Music, a series of concerts in London, Lisbon, and Helsinki.

Recent commissions include works for the Burgess Hill CHoral Society, Saint James the Greater Parish (Charles Town WV), the 2011 Hurst Festival (Sussex UK), and Millfield School (Somerset UK), and a chamber organ piece for Paul Ayers (London). Smith's catalog includes more than 200 works, published in the United Kingdom by Animus, Cantiones Press, Curiad, Escorial Edition, Fagus Music, Oxford University Press, and the RSCM, and in the United States by Abingdon Press, Alliance Music Publications, Augsburg-Fortress, CanticaNOVA Publications, Oxford University Press, Pavane, and Roger Dean.

The AGO/ECS Publishing Award in Choral Composition is the result of a unique collaboration between a non-profit national organization and a commercial music publisher, both dedicated to the advancement of organ and choral music. Established in 1985, the award is administered by the AGO Committee on New Music Competitions and Commissions (John Karl Hirten, director, Eileen J. Hunt, and John Nuechterlein), with Headquarters staff support from Harold Calhoun.

David Vogels is Councillor for Competitions and New Music for the American Guild of Organists.

CanticaNOVA Publications / PO Box 1388 / Charles Town, WV 25414-7388
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