Short Liszt, Op. 1: The Two Hour Composing Challenge Winners!

On August 16, 2020, we hosted our first online composing challenge called Short Liszt! We provided the participants with three musical parameters and they had two hours to compose, mockup, and produce up to 40 seconds of music. We then met on Zoom with other members of the ASA community to play the compositions live and vote using these three parameters:

1. Use of “ingredients” – did the composer use them in a creative way?

2. Composition quality – is it an interesting/effective piece of music?

3. Production – mix/technical execution

Here is a video recap of all of the submissions!

We want to congratulate our three winners!


First Place: Tim Corpus

Composition: Midnight Ghosts

Tim Corpus is an internationally performed composer, sound designer, and arts administrator who calls Chicago home. Highlights include performances at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Federal Justica Cultural Center of Brazil, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, RHA Gallery in Ireland, and the Chicago Cultural Center. In addition to concerts, he has been featured on CNN Money, the Sound of Silent Film Festival, 98.7 WFMT, the Connecticut Historical Society, and Classical King FM: Second Inversion.

As a composer for visual media, he has written music for films, corporations and commercials, and interactive media. Most recently he is working as composer and sound designer for “Ira, Act I: Pilgrimage”, due out in early 2021.

A recipient of numerous awards and commissions, Tim has been honored by 3Arts, ASCAP, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Illinois Arts Council. He has also received funding for his research on Filipino composer Lucio D. San Pedro where he most recently presented at Chicago’s Field Museum of Natural History.

His diverse career in the arts has included work on and off the stage as an Executive Director, Production Manager and an educator at Loyola University Chicago and Chicago City Colleges. An advocate for arts education, he has been a guest speaker and clinician presenting on a variety of topics including composing for percussion and timpani. He began his career teaching at the collegiate level at Richard J. Daley College and Loyola University Chicago. As Executive Director of the Lake Forest Symphony he led the organization to a historic 2018-19 season with its first financially profitable season since 2013-14. During the historic season the Symphony’s debut commercial release with composer Jim Stephenson and Cedille Records, “Liquid Melancholy”, was nominated for a GRAMMY-Award.

Tim earned his Bachelor of Music degree in percussion performance from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University and received his Master of Music degree in music composition from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford. He currently serves as the Board President for the Illinois Council of Orchestras, is a member of the Vic Firth Education Team and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. His compositions are published by Attacca Publishing.


Second Place: John McCarthy

Composition: Dream Sweet Dream

John McCarthy is a composer for film and television. His music is a hybrid of ‘acoustical and electronic’ elements and has an extensive background in classical, jazz, rock and world music. His first film, ‘Love and Human Remains’ was directed by Academy Award winner Denys Arcand. John won the 2009 Genie Award [Canadian Academy Award] for best original score for the feature film ‘The Stone Angel,’ starring Ellen Burstyn and directed by Kari Skogland. He also scored the NBC show ‘My Own Worst Enemy,’ starring Christian Slater and the hit CBS television series ‘Due South’ for Academy Award winner Paul Haggis. More recently John scored an animated film for Cirque Du Soleil and the feature film ‘Faces in the Crowd’ directed by Julian Magnat staring Milla Jovovich, and a pair of episodes of the David Shore/Vince Gilligan show Battle Creek (CBS).



Third Place: Vikrant Muthusamy

Composition: Behind the Face

My name is Vikrant Muthusamy. I usually go by “Vik”. I was classically trained in piano from the age of 4 till about 20, I played percussion from 6th grade to the end of high school, and I got serious about composing at the age of 16.

I graduated from UT Austin in 2017 with Bachelor’s degrees in Music Recording Technology and Radio-Television-Film along with a Business Foundations Certificate from the UT McCombs School of Business. During my time at UT, I met my music production mentor, Gary Powell. He helped me hone my skills in operating a studio and mixing music and, by extension, composing music. In one of our first meetings, when I told him of my interest in film music, he immediately introduced me to a film professor he knew on campus – Nancy Schiesari. After meeting her and showing her some music that I made in my free time, she allowed me to present myself to one of her film classes during my freshman year, which led to multiple students throughout the four years asking me to make music for their projects.

Nancy was impressed by my growing reputation at the film school to the point where, during my sophomore year, she asked me to compose the score for her PBS documentary, “Canine Soldiers: The Militarization of Love”. The film premiered at the Austin Film Festival in October 2016 and aired on several PBS stations around the country by the time I graduated. At the time of writing this, we are currently working on our second film together. Outside of film scoring, I am a music producer with my own music and audio/video production house, Evoaura™, which is based in Los Angeles. I have released three EPs and multiple singles. I use my production house as an outlet for my own personal content as well as a way to help other people in their creative endeavors – video, music or a mixture of both. My entire music and film portfolio is available at