Santiago Beis, a master’s student in the MU School of Music, has won the 2021 Sinquefield Composition Prize for his new work for piano and string orchestra.

Santiago Beis, a master’s student in the MU School of Music, has won the 2021 Sinquefield Composition Prize for his new work for piano and string orchestra.

For Santiago Beis, winning the 2021 Sinquefield Composition Prize was more than meaningful; it was a window into who he is and how intertwined music is within him.

“Sharing of one’s own identity and collective (consciousness), to share an experience is the true prize,” said Beis, a first-year MU graduate student working toward a master’s degree in composition.

Beis, who comes from Rivera, Uruguay, called winning “an eye-opener and an interesting welcome and appreciation to new music.” 

His piece, “La sed y el Agua,” which translates to “Thirst and Water,” is written for piano and string orchestra. A panel of independent judges named it the winner.

“Inspiration is created,” Beis said. “Perception is an active process, not a passive one. We must be open and remain open.”

This is the 16th year for the Sinquefield Composition Prize. It is part of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, an array of programs meant to position the MU School of Music as a leading center in composition and new music.

As this year’s winner, Beis will be commissioned to write a new work for the string section of the MU Philharmonic to be recorded next spring, according to a news release from the school.

In anticipation of what is to come, Beis said: “During the pandemic, this spring 2021 project gives us hope to share the same space and breathing of each other before the piece starts.”

  • Community Reporter, Fall 2020 Studying Magazine Journalism. Reach me at drewhofbauer@mail.missouri.edu or in the Newsroom at 573/882-5700

  • Elizabeth Brixey is the Columbia Missourian's education editor and an associate professor in the Missouri School of Journalism. She can be reached at (573) 882-2632 and brixeye@missouri.edu.

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