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Distinguished Panel of Judges Named for
Florence Price Movie Score Competition

Producers of the movie project, "Florence," about the life of the late African American composer Florence Beatrice Price—announce the formation of a prestigious panel of judges for the film's music score competition, led by Steinway Artist Karen Walwyn. The deadline for submissions is November 1.

BOSTON, Aug. 24, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Noble Productions—producers of the movie project "Florence," about the life of the late African American composer Florence Beatrice Price—today announced the formation of a prestigious panel of judges for the film's music score competition.

The panel of judges is chaired by Karen Walwyn, a Doctor of Musical Arts and a professor of piano at the preeminent Berklee College of Music. Walwyn performs and recently recorded an album of music by Price. She also is a researcher of the late Black female composer, who was the first of female African American composer to have her music performed with a major symphony orchestra in the United States, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1933. 

Ms. Walwyn, the first African American woman to receive the Steinway Artist as a concert pianist/composer designation, performs as a solo artist and as a guest artist with symphony orchestras across the continent and abroad. She has recorded and produced five albums and has been a guest artist with the New Black Music Repertory Ensemble and with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra in 2021, where she premiered the newly released recording of Price's authentic score of the Concerto in One Movement in E minor. Her recent album release, Florence B. Price, was selected as a top five pick by Fanfare magazine critic James Harrington.

Ms. Walwyn was featured in the Emmy-nominated documentary, "The Caged Bird: The Life and Music of Florence B. Price," on NPR's Classical Breakdown with Jonathan Banther on Florence Price, and on PBS Great Performances: Now Hear This "Florence Price and the American Migration" with Scott Yoo. 

She received her Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from the University of Miami under Professor. J.B. Floyd and completed her education with a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Michigan under Professor Arthur Greene. 

The music competition to be included in the film score is currently underway. Rules for submissions may be found on the Florence movie website. The deadline for submissions is November 1.

As chair, Ms. Walwyn assembled a diverse panel of judges whose music backgrounds touch many idioms and push the boundaries of classical and instrumental music. Selected judges include:

John Paul McGee is the current assistant chair of piano at Berklee College of Music and Artist-In-Residence at Yale University.

Mr. McGee's musical career has taken him around the globe as a keyboardist, vocal arranger, producer, and songwriter, collaborating with and appearing alongside popular gospel and secular artists from Patti Labelle to Najee. 

His most recent release was in October 2022, when he produced Gospejazzical Volume One with Jazz Urbane Records.

Mr. McGee earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music degree with a concentration in Piano Performance, from Bethune Cookman University, a Master of Arts in Religion degree from Liberty University, a Master of Sacred Music degree, with a concentration in Pipe Organ Performance, from Emory University, and most recently, a Doctor of Ministry degree with a concentration in Pastoral Care and Counseling from The Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta.

William Chapman Nyaho is an active solo recitalist, duo pianist and chamber musician, giving recitals and concerts throughout the United States and abroad. He regularly serves as a guest clinician at colleges and universities around the United States and has also adjudicated for national and international piano competitions.

An advocate for music by composers of African descent, William Chapman Nyaho's publications include a five-volume anthology entitled Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora, published by Oxford University Press. The publication led to his receiving the 2022 MTNA-Francis Clarke Keyboard Pedagogy Award. He is also a contributor to the International Directory of Black Composers.

Mr. Chapman Nyaho earned his degrees from St. Peter's College, Oxford University, the Eastman School of Music in New York, and the University of Texas at Austin. He also studied at the Conservatoire de Musique de GenHve in Switzerland.

Lia Jensen-Abbott is Professor of Music and Director of the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program at Albion College. Awarded the Arthur Andersen New Faculty of the Year award in 2016 from Albion College, Ms. Jensen-Abbot is well known for her interdisciplinary lecture recitals based on a semiotic analysis of Fanny Hensel, Florence Price, Beethoven and Anton Diabelli, and the connections between athletics and music.

As a clinician and adjudicator, Ms. Jensen-Abbott has been invited to judge the MTNA National Finals in San Antonio and Chicago, as well as serve as a judge for the WPTA International Piano Competition and for many regional, state, and local competitions.

An active member of the Music Teachers National Association, Ms. Jensen-Abbott is a Past President of the Michigan MTNA, where she received the Distinguished Service Award in 2022. She is a member of the European Piano Teachers Association, the World Piano Teachers Association (WPTA) and President of the WPTA Michigan Chapter.

Ms. Jensen-Abbott earned degrees from The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (BM, DMA), Indiana University (Performer Diploma), and The Pennsylvania State University (MM, MA).

Thomas Schuttenhelm is an American composer and guitarist whose compositions exhibit an exquisite craft and richness of style and are celebrated by many leading artists in contemporary music.

He is a Fulbright Fellow (London), British Music Studies Fellow (University of Texas-Austin), an Edison Fellow at the Sound Archive (British Library) and has authored numerous books. Among them are The Selected Letters of Michael Tippett, Tippett Cambridge Companion and Britten in Context, The Orchestral Music of Michael Tippett: Creative Development and the Compositional Process, Vision, and Revision: Tippett's Fifth String Quartet.

Mr. Schuttenhelm lives in Philadelphia, where he is the Artistic Director at Network for New Music and performs with the NakedEye Ensemble.

Suzanna Sifter is a jazz pianist, author, and educator who has been on faculty at Berklee College of Music since 1989.

Ms. Sifter has extensive experience in auditioning and adjudicating performances in various styles, with an emphasis on jazz and popular music.

She has traveled extensively with Berklee College of Music to Europe, South America, the US, Canada, and the Far East, auditioning students, giving master classes, and performing.

Ms. Sifter has five recordings as a leader, composer, and arranger: Flowers for You, Awakening, The Illumination, Sophisticated Lady, and the play along recording to her book, Berklee Jazz Keyboard Harmony: Using Upper Structure Triads. Her latest book, A Modern Method for Piano Scales, is widely used in Berklee College of Music's piano department.

She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Performance from Berklee College of Music and master's degree in jazz studies from the New England Conservatory.

Ayn Inserto is a composer who is gaining recognition as one of the leading voices of her generation. She currently works as Assistant Chair of Harmony and Jazz Composition at Berklee College of Music and is a Jazz Composers Present Artist.

Her music has been performed at Carnegie Hall, Dizzy's Club (JALC, NYC), Boston Symphony Hall, Jazz Education Network (JEN) Conferences, Reno Jazz Festival, Montreux Jazz Festival, the Umbria Jazz Festival and by the Frankfurt Radio Big Band.

Ms. Inserto has been commissioned by Carnegie Hall, Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University, The Jazz Education Network, ASCAP/IAJE. She has given masterclasses and clinics at the Panama Jazz Festival, IMEP Paris College of Music, International College of Music in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Seoul Jazz Academy and many other institutions.

In addition, Ms. Inserto has been a judge for the Jack Rudin Jazz Championship JALC with Wynton Marsalis and the International Alliance for Women in Music Jazz Composition Contest. She conducted the MMEA All-State Jazz Band with a program of women composers. She also is a member of the Women in Jazz Organization and serves on the Board of Directors for JEN.

The Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra recorded three albums with special guests Bob Brookmeyer, John Fedchock, George Garzone and Sean Jones. The ensemble has garnered many positive reviews, such as Downbeat Editor's Pick and The Boston Globe 2018 Best Jazz Album.

Ms. Inserto received her Master of Music degree in Jazz Composition from the New England Conservatory and was selected by Bob Brookmeyer to study jazz composition as his protégé.


Media Contact

Lisa Bass Cooper, eMediaProse,  (302) 524-2262, lbcooper@emediaprose.com 

Glenford Noble, Noble Productions, nobleglen57@gmail.com

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