Felix Peña Receives Prestigious Award from Boston Conservatory
As if graduating from the Boston Conservatory with a Master in Music Composition wasn’t momentous enough, aspiring composer Felix Peña was astonished and elated to receive an unexpected prestigious award during commencement.
Peña, who earned his undergraduate degree in music at UST in 2006, was selected from conservatory composers to receive the 2010 Roger Sessions Memorial Composition Award at the Boston Conservatory Spring commencement ceremony in May.
“I had no idea about the award, so I was shocked when they called my name,” Peña said. “ All I could think about while walking up to the stage was the hard work I had put into my studies and how UST trained me to be such a dedicated, disciplined student. The encouragement and support of my mentor, Paul Krystofiak, and his continuing dedication to strengthen UST's music program have been integral to my success.”
The award is named after Roger Sessions (1896-1985), one of the musical giants of the twentieth century. His works have been performed by musical organizations worldwide, and have earned him universal admiration and respect. In addition to a special Pulitzer citation bestowed for his life’s work in 1974, Sessions was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his Concerto for Orchestra in 1982, which also turned out to be his final work.
When Andy Vores, Boston Conservatory faculty chair of composition, was asked about the process of choosing the award, he said, “I never had a student progress so much so fast before. Felix’ most recent works showed a level of sophistication and beauty that was unique and special.”
Peña saw his good fortune continue when Juventas selected one of his works for their 2010-2011 season. Juventas is one of the ensembles in residence at The Boston Conservatory. The piece they selected is a chamber work for Pierrot ensemble titled, "I was thankful for the barrier between us."
Since graduating from Boston Conservatory, Peña returned to UST to be a guest theory/composition instructor at the UST 22nd Annual Piano Day Camp in June. He joined the UST Music Preparatory School, directed by UST professor Paul Krystofiak, this fall as a theory/composition instructor.
“Felix’ Boston Conservatory commencement award is another affirmation of his talent and hard work,” Krystofiak said. “It has genuinely been a great pleasure and reward in my teaching career to have assisted Felix, in any way, on his path to success. I hope Felix will continue to grow and set his goals high so that one day he can follow in the footsteps of his named award, composer Roger Sessions, and win a Pulitzer in music.”