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Posted on Tue, Mar 8, 2011 : 10:58 a.m.

Ann Arbor composer wins first prize in competition

By Freelance Journalist

Ann Arbor composer Daniel J. Knaggs has won first prize in the 2011 International Musica Sacra Competition for his composition "Hic est discipulus ille," for eight-part acapella choir. The competition is held under the honorary patronage of the Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music in the Vatican, Rome.

An international jury of composers and conductors met in Rouen, France on Feb. 26-27 to review submitted compositions from 10 different countries. The competition's judging process was blind, with first prize earning 2,500 euros.   This winning composition, never before performed, will be premiered and recorded by the Polish Chamber Choir during the Gaude Mater International Sacred Music Festival in Czestochowa, Poland on May 3. Additional performances will take place in Gdánsk, Poland, again by the Polish Chamber Choir, in Cambridge, UK, by Trinity College Choir, and in Vilnius, Lithuania, by the Jauna Muzika Chamber Choir.   "Hic est discipulus ille" is a musical setting of a Latin text assembled by the composer from multiple sources (mainly scriptural) about St. John the Apostle.

Knaggs acknowledges the crucial role a snow day played in this win. Father Gabriel Richard was closed due to inclement weather on Dec. 13 and he happened upon an announcement for this competition that morning. Knowing the time frame would be tight with upcoming travels and the holidays, he decided to try to make the Jan. 31 deadline, and managed to complete and mail the composition on time.   More information is available on the competition website and the composer's website.