“I sought to create a work in my own musical language that made abstract reference in my work for solo guitar to the folk music of the south of the United States,” said Clift. “The J.D. Robb field-recording archives proved to be of immense value for me, in particular the Matachines field recordings of 1952.”
Clift, an Australian composer, has been living in New York City since receiving a Columbia doctoral fellowship in 2009. He earned a master of music at King’s College in London and a bachelor of arts at Monash University Conservatorium in Australia. His works have been performed at festivals in North America, Europe and Australia. His principal teachers have been George Benjamin, Jean-Luc Hervé, Fred Lerdahl, Philippe Leroux, Fabien Lévy, Yan Maresz and Tristan Murail.
The biennial competition requires composers to use material from the John Donald Robb Field Recordings in the Center for Southwest Research. It comes with a $3,500 prize. Judging the 2012 competition was Volker Blumenthaler, professor of theory and composition at Hochschule für Musik in Nürnberg, Germany; Lei Liang, professor of composition at the University of California San Diego; and Augusta Read Thomas, professor of composition at the University of Chicago.