Salvatore Martirano AwardWritten on April 4th, 1996 by Zack Browning
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The Salvatore Martirano Memorial Composition Award is an international composers’ competition held annually in memory of Mr. Martirano who was a faculty member at the University of Illinois from 1963 to 1995. The first place prize consists of $1000.00 and a performance of the winning composition by the University of Illinois New Music Ensemble at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts. Zack Browning who is an AssociateProfessor of Music at the University of Illinois directs the competition.
Salvatore Giovanni Martirano, internationally acclaimed American composer and Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois was born on January 12th, 1927, in Yonkers, NY, a son of Alexander and Mary Mazzullo Martirano. He died at the age of 68 on Friday, November 17th, 1995.
Professor Martirano studied composition with Herbert Elwell at Oberlin College (1947-51), Bernard Rodgers at The Eastman School of Music (1952), and with Luigi Dallapiccola at the Cherubini Conservatory in Florence, Italy (1952-4). From 1956 to 1959 he was in Rome as a Fellow of the American Academy, and in 1960 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship and an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. At this time he had works commissioned by the Koussevitzky and Fromm Foundations. He was professor of composition at the University of Illinois from 1963 till his retirement in 1995. During the Illinois years he also accepted residencies at The Sydney Conservatorium of Music in Sydney in 1979, IRCAM in Paris in 1982, and The California Institute of the Arts in 1993.
His compositions have been performed by the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Cleveland Orchestra, and by radio orchestras and choral ensembles throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. His chamber and solo works have been performed world-wide.
Professor Martirano spent much of the 1970’s developing the Sal Mar Construction, an electronic composing/performing system that Science Digest called “the world’s first composing machine.” He toured the world with his creation and with its successor, the yahaSalmaMac.