Briggs Chamber Music Competition

The Briggs Chamber Music Competition was created in an ongoing effort to encourage the excellence of chamber music performance at at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, and to provide performance opportunities for various ensembles. It is named in honor of its benefactors and evolved from the Dale and Nancy Briggs Chamber Music Endowed Enrichment Fund, established in 2004 and endowed in 2006, to support program and/or scholarship needs in chamber music.

The Dale and Nancy Briggs Chamber Music Competition Application Form

The competition is open to chamber music ensembles comprising three to six players, any combination of instruments, and/or voice. Enrollment in a chamber music ENS course at the time of the competition (winter semester) is strongly encouraged for all members. All competition participants must be currently enrolled students at the SMTD. Students may compete in up to two ensembles as long as the repertoire and participation requirements are met. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to accommodate ensembles with two pianos because there is only one grand piano in Stamps Auditorium.

Each ensemble shall offer a program of a minimum of two contrasting works, for a minimum of 40 minutes of music. Works that are not originally written for chamber ensemble (arrangements and/or transcriptions) must be approved by the competition committee. Only complete works may be programmed, unless approved by the committee. All members of each ensemble must participate in each piece offered (although some movements may be tacit: e.g., the Messiaen Quartet for the End of Time).

February 24, 2017
Applications will be via electronic form that will be posted to the website at the end of January. Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, February 24, 2017. Applicants must get their chamber coach’s approval to compete. All names listed as part of an ensemble must compete at the time of the competition; no substitutes will be permitted.

Note: Individual ensemble coordinators may arrange a preliminary round to determine which of their ensembles may advance to the March 25 competition.

March 25, 2017
Competition to be held in Stamps Auditorium, 9 AM to 5 PM (approximate times).

Each ensemble shall perform a maximum of 30 minutes (performance time may be less), beginning with the piece of their choice. Judges will stop and start as necessary. Three copies of the full score must be supplied to the judges; two photocopies are allowed, but one must be an original score. Page turners will be the responsibility of the performers.

This year’s judges are Phillip Bush, associate professor of piano at the University of South Carolina; Scott Hartman, lecturer in trombone at Yale; and MingHuan Xu, violin faculty at Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

$4,000 to the winning ensemble
$2,000 to the 2nd place ensemble
$1,000 to the 3rd place ensemble

$1,000 to best perofrmance of a work by a current SMTD student or graduate from 2012-2016

Further competition and travel support may be available to competing ensembles. Performances, on campus and off, may be arranged for all competing ensembles, as opportunity affords.

The School of Music, Theatre & Dance lost one of its dearest friends and supporters with the passing of Dale Edward Briggs on March 17, 2016. Dale, with his wife Nancy, was responsible for launching the Briggs Chamber Music Competition, funded by the Dale and Nancy Briggs Chamber Music Endowed Enrichment Fund, which Dale and Nancy created in 2004. The fund provides incentive for our students to form long-standing, high-caliber chamber groups and to prepare significant repertoire. The impact this fund has had on the School’s chamber music offerings and activities is immeasurable and growing deeper every day.

In February 2016, the School of Music, Theatre & Dance Alumni Society honored Dale by awarding him the 2016 Hall of Fame award. Dale was an integral part of the University of Michigan since 1957 when he first started his graduate work here. After completing his PhD in chemical engineering, he joined the faculty and taught in the College of Engineering for 38 years. Upon retiring in 1999, he began serving as an external member for Doctor of Musical Arts oral exam committees. He sat on over 100 doctoral committees, supporting the work of a wide range of performers, composers, and conducting DMA graduates.

Dale and Nancy have encouraged SMTD students at every level of study by being stalwart supporters of the performance activity at the School. Over their many years of involvement, they have rarely missed a performance in Hill Auditorium, Britton Recital Hall, McIntosh Theatre, Rackham Auditorium, Lydia Mendelssohn, and the Power Center, attending the many large ensemble, small ensemble, fully staged productions, student recitals and faculty recitals given each year by the School. Their presence in the audience and their thoughtful comments and encouragement afterward have had a profound impact on our community of students, faculty, and staff.

In addition to the amazing time and effort they have shared with SMTD students, Dale and Nancy have also supported the success of students through their generous philanthropy. In addition to creating the Dale and Nancy Briggs Chamber Music Endowed Enrichment Fund, they have given to a variety of programs and scholarships at the School, especially in the areas of opera, voice, and chamber music.

Dale was an incredibly caring, compassionate and generous human being, and his lovely spirit and positive outlook brought much joy to our days.