Recent Florida State Grad Ethan Soledad Wins Stephen Paulus Emerging Composers Competition


A part of True Concord’s 2020-21 season, HER: Celebrating the Impact of Women on the World, The Trailblazers concert commemorates the centenary of women’s suffrage in the U.S.

This year’s Stephen Paulus Emerging Composers Competition focused on poems by four women writers consequential to the suffrage movement: Elizabeth Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Emma Lazarus and Georgia Douglas Johnson. The poems were selected in partnership with the University of Arizona Poetry Center.

The winner of the 20-21 competition is recent Florida State University graduate Ethan Soledad. His winning piece, When I Rise Up, was performed by True Concord in April 2021 at four live, outdoor concerts as well as an online video concert recorded by Arizona PBS. The text of the piece is from Georgia Douglas Johnson‘s poem of the same name.

When I Rise Up

Georgia Douglas Johnson – 1880-1966

When I rise up above the earth,
And look down on the things that fetter me,
I beat my wings upon the air,
Or tranquil lie,

Surge after surge of potent strength
Like incense comes to me
When I rise up above the earth
And look down upon the things that fetter me.

Eric Holtan and Ethan Soledad at a performance of The Trailblazers.

Congratulations to the winners of past competitions!

2019-20: Tom Peterson

Peterson’s composition, “Being Many, Seeming One,” was performed by True Concord in October 2019 in four concerts of music based on Shakespearean texts. His piece sets the text from Sonnet VIII (“Music to hear”), which is the insipiration for True Concord’s name.

2018-19: Martin Sedek

Sedek’s winning work, “The Beauty of Cosmic Things,” was performed by True Concord in November 2018, in three concerts of American music that honored veterans and commemorated the centenary of Armistice Day.

2017-18: Matthew Lyon Hazzard

Hazzard’s winning work, “Look Back on Time,” was performed by True Concord in March, 2018, in four concerts of American music based on the poetry of Emily Dickinson.