Setnor School of Music Announces 2023 Gregg Smith Choral Composition Contest Winner

Patrick Vu
Patrick Vu

Patrick Vu, a master’s candidate in choral conducting at Texas Tech University, has been announced as winner of the 2023 Gregg Smith Choral Composition Contest in the Rose, Jules R. and Stanford S. Setnor School of Music in Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA).

The award, which is named for renowned composer and choral conductor Gregg Smith, is given biennially to a composer between the ages of 21 and 35 who has written and submitted a musical composition for a Setnor School choral ensemble.

Vu won for his work “Morning Song,” which was selected by a committee of Setnor faculty from numerous compelling entries. Vu’s work will be premiered by the Syracuse University Singers, the award-winning flagship choral ensemble under the direction of John Warren, professor of applied music and performance and director of choral activities in the Setnor School. The premiere will be part of the Singers’ performance on Wednesday, April 24, at 8 p.m. in the Rose and Jules R. Setnor Auditorium, Crouse College.

Vu is an award-winning composer from Allen, Texas, whose music has quickly gained attention in the United States. His music has been performed internationally by both professional and collegiate ensembles. He has received commissions and performances from professional organizations including VocalEssence, Chor Leoni, Dallas Chamber Choir, Chorus Austin, the Princeton Singers, Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, Choral Arts Ensemble of Portland, Lubbock Chorale, Fort Worth Opera, the Savannah VOICE Festival and numerous universities around the country. Most recently, Vu was awarded the 2023 American Choral Directors Association (ACDA) Raymond Brock Prize for Student Composers for his piece “On the Hillside.”

Vu’s works have been performed at regional and national ACDA conferences; various state Music Educators Association conventions; Society of Composers, Inc. regional conferences; National Association of Teachers of Singing; and more. While Vu remains mostly self-published, his choral music is published by Gentry, Hinshaw, Galaxy, Carl Fischer and Alliance. Additionally, his art songs have been published by North Star Music in its “Modern Music for New Singers” series. Vu holds a B.M. in music composition and a B.M.E. in vocal music education from Texas Christian University.

The Setnor School established the Gregg Smith Choral Composition Contest and the Gregg Smith Graduate Choral Conducting Scholarship in 2008 with the support of an anonymous donor. Smith had a 30-year relationship with Syracuse University; the Gregg Smith Singers and Smith collaborated with University choirs and faculty members on operas, concerts and numerous premieres at the University.

The Setnor School of Music hosts the Gregg Smith Choral Composition Contest as part of its mission to offer opportunities for the highest level of professional musical development within the context of a broad, humanistic education; to encourage and facilitate the broadest possible range of creative options for students and faculty, recognizing that the Western classical tradition continues to grow and expand and that it is only one in a world of myriad others; to uphold the school’s role and responsibilities as a citizen of the community, and of the larger culture, by serving the community through outreach and education and by creating and maintaining an inclusive environment in which all can pursue musical interests and develop their gifts; and to offer substantive musical opportunities for non-music majors from all corners of the University.