Sackler Music Composition Prize


The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Music Composition Prize offers a $25,000 cash prize, recordings, and  substantial recognition including public performances. The competition will be an biennial event rotating among specific areas of the musical arts. These include: jazz ensemble, choir, opera, wind ensemble, orchestra, children’s choir, chamber ensemble, solo instrument, voice, and electronic music.

The Prize is a part of a broader structure promoting innovation, inventiveness, and the creative spirit within UConn’s School of Fine Arts. It is an extension of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Master Artists Institute and the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Artists in Residence Program. It provides the opportunity for cutting-edge creative exploration and productivity.



2017/2019 Winner

The Winner of the 2017/2019 Sackler Prize in Music Composition is Douglas Buchanan. His chamber opera will be performed in the Spring of 2019.

Libretto by Caitlin Vincent

Music by Douglas Buchanan

Inspired by historical events, Bessie and Ma tells the story of two trailblazing figures from the early 20th century—Elizabeth “Bessie” Coleman, the first female African-American aviatrix, and Miriam “Ma” Ferguson, the first female governor of Texas. Bessie and Ma interweaves significant moments from each woman’s life and career, including Bessie’s decision to apply to flight school in France and Ma’s decision to run for governor at the urging of her husband. In the opera’s climactic scene, Ma and Bessie meet face-to-face for the first and final time, when Ma invites Bessie to the Governor’s Mansion, just a few months before the aviatrix’s death. Tracing each woman’s triumphs, failures, and flaws, Bessie and Ma provides a glimpse into the hearts and minds of two groundbreaking American women, largely forgotten by history.

Previous Winners

David Dzubay
Chamber Concerto for Solo Trumpet, Violin and Ensemble
Louis Hanzlik and Solomiya Ivakhiv, soloists
Steven Sametz
A Child’s Requiem
Chorus and Orchestra
Kevin Walczyk
Concerto for Brass Quintet and Wind Ensemble
The Atlantic Brass Quintet
J. Mark Scearce
Concerto for Cello and Orchestra
Katie Schlaikjer, soloist
Nathan Currier
Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments
Wind Ensemble with Piano Soloist
Sheila Silver
The Wooden Sword
Rufus Reid
Quiet Pride
Jazz Ensemble
Stacey Garrop
Mirror, Mirror
Chamber Wind Ensemble
Orianna Webb
Ways the Sky Meets the Sea
Chamber Orchestra
Karim Al-Zand
Concertino for Trumpet
Chamber Ensemble and Solo Trumpet James Ackley


Gabriela Frank
An American in Peru
Chamber Ensemble and Solo Violin Theodor Arm