Brehm Prize in Choral Composition

William (BS ’50, MS ’52) and Delores Brehm have generously funded the Brehm Prize in Choral Composition since 2011. Meant to encourage the composition of choral works and open only to SMTD students, the award comes with a cash prize. Winning compositions are performed in concert by one of SMTD’s choirs.

The competition is overseen by Eugene Rogers, SMTD’s director of choral activities.


Alfredo Cabrera – Iridescent Porcelain
An exploration of the relationship between Manuela Sáens and Simon Bolivar which serves as a metaphor for the deconstruction of colonial gender roles and gender stereotypes in the context of 21st century western society.


Ari SussmanHigaleh Nah
The poignant and highly aleatoric composition is scored for SATB chorus, treble soloist, solo viola, and piano, and uses a portion of the liturgical poem commonly attributed to the 16th century Kabbalist, writer, and poet Rabbi Elezar ben Moshe Azkari.


Maria Paterno – Pyre
Featuring a text by Michigan poet Savannah Gonsulin, the piece explores the poem’s conflicting and ever-shifting emotions, moving from anger to sorrow to bittersweet nostalgia.


Sawyer Denton – Ascension
An expressive interpretation of a Walt Whitman text.


Iman Habibi – The Rose of Midnight
The beautifully evocative piece is based on a poem by Vachel Lindsay.


Carolina Heredia – Virginia
The composition for solo contralto and chamber choir is an evocative setting of Virginia Woolf’s 1941 suicide letter to her husband.


Natalie Moller – Dust


Gregory Simon – Two Lorca Songs
The piece was described as “colorful, inventive, energetic, and exciting.”


John Boggs – Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis
Written for a capella choir, the composition uses the religious texts of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, with the former set in Latin and the latter in English.


Joseph Kern – Crucifixus