Composer Brian Raphael Nabors. (courtesy of ASO)

Rapido!-winning composer Brian Raphael Nabors receives two world premieres in Atlanta this week

John Lemley and Mark Gresham | 18 NOV 2019

This is a big week in Atlanta for composer Brian Rafael Nabors: two world premieres in one week, one by the Atlanta Chamber Players and the other by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.  A Birmingham, Alabama native, Nabors was completing his doctorate degree at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music when he became the most recent winner of the Rapido! Composition Contest this past January.

Listen to John Lemley’s conversation with composer Brian Raphael Nabors:

The music clips hear in the interview are excerpts from Nabor’s Rapido! competition-winning “Three Dances.”

As winner of the competition’s National Grand Prize, Nabors received a $5000 first prize commission to expand his competition entry, “3 Dances,” to a 15-minute work that will be premiered by Atlanta Chamber Players this Tuesday at [Shakespeare Tavern], and subsequently performed by three other chamber ensembles in other parts of the nation: Boston Musica Viva, Voices of Change (Dallas) and the Detroit Chamber Winds and Strings.


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Nabors also won the opportunity to write a new work that will be premiered by Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. That new work, Onward, will receive its premiere Thursday at Symphony Hall, with a repeat performances by the ASO on Saturday at Symphony Hall and on Sunday at he University of Georgia in Athens.

In addition, Nabors got two weeks of residency at the Hambidge Center for the Arts in Rabun Gap, Georgia as amother part of the total prize package.


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Rapido! is the brainchild of longtime arts philanthropist Ron Antinori and pianist and founding director of Atlanta Chamber Players, Paula Peace. It name comes from its primary criteria: composers who enter must write a four to six minute work in the span of only 14 days, not knowing either the competition’s theme or the three instruments for which they are to write the music until the beginning of that two-week period. A handful of composers are selected from entries to compete in regional competition. The winners of those regional contests then proceed as finalists in the national competition.

Nabors is the fifth national winner in the competition’s history. Previous Rapido! winners include Mark Buller, Charles Zoll, John Elmquist and Jon Jeffrey Grier.  ■


John Lemley is an Atlanta-based host and producer who has been a mainstay of the city’s media scene for over 20 years, first as an on-air host and producer at 90.1 WABE, then as host and producer of John Lemley’s City Café on 1690 WLMB. John currently serves as an investigative reporter for Nancy Grace’s new Sirius XM radio program, Crime Stories.

Mark Gresham is an American composer and music journalist. He is the founder, publisher and principal writer of EarRelevant


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