The winner of the 2010 Robert Helps Competition is
pianist/composer Jonathan Howard Katz

About Jonathan Howard Katz

Winner of the 2007 Pittsburgh Concert Society Major Auditions and semi-finalist in the 2009 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, Jonathan Howard Katz has performed in concert halls across the country. He was presented by the Boston Symphony Orchestra in their "Evenings with Schoenberg" series at the Goethe-Institut Boston in 2006 and gave the Bloomington, Indiana, premiere of the original version of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 2, Op. 44, in 2001. He has appeared at the Aspen Music Festival, the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, in Boston's Jordan Hall, and on the Steinway Society of Western Pennsylvania series. Since relocating to the Chicago area in the fall of 2006, he has given performances on the Arts at Large series (with the Fifth House Ensemble), on the Selfhelp Home's recital series, at PianoForte Chicago, and at Northwestern, DePaul, and North Park Universities.

Recipient of the Amelia A. Hoff Memorial Award at Northwestern University, Mr. Katz is a candidate for the Doctor of Music degree at NU's Bienen School of Music. His research will involve the collection and documentation of solo piano works by composers born since 1970 and promises to be a major contribution towards scholarship of contemporary music. A composer himself, his music has been performed at various festivals and other venues. Recent works include the song cycles Chalices from My Hands (2008) and Talking of Michelangelo (2009), and the first six of a projected twelve Trichord Preludes for piano.

Mr. Katz's musical versatility dates from his childhood, when he studied piano and clarinet concurrently, adding composition and conducting (and gradually phasing out the clarinet) as a teenager. This broad range of experience has informed both his interpretive choices and his selection of repertoire. In addition to solo and concerto work, Mr. Katz deeply enjoys collaborative music-making and has performed extensively in chamber and duo environments. As an educator, he has taught not only piano, but music theory and aural skills, and he currently serves as adjunct faculty at Northwestern.

Mr. Katz's principal teacher at Northwestern has been Ursula Oppens. He received his Master of Music degree from New England Conservatory, where he studied with Gabriel Chodos, and his Bachelor of Music from Indiana University, with Edward Auer. Additionally, he has worked closely with Jerome Lowenthal, Bruce Brubaker, Emile Naoumoff, Elizabeth Buccheri, and others. Among the distinguished musicians for whom he has had the privilege of performing in master classes are pianists Richard Goode, Herbert Stessin, Victor Rosenbaum, and Leonard Hokanson, violinists Miriam Fried, Paul Biss and Mauricio Fuks, cellist Gary Hoffman, and conductor Lorin Maazel.



Jury of the 2010 competition:

Louis Andriessen

Brad Diamond

Svetozar Ivanov

Paul Reller


Guidelines for 2010 Competition: 

Instrumentation: Voice (tenor) and Piano (with optional additional instrument)


Duration: 10-20 minutes.


Limitations: No prepared piano, however playing inside the piano is acceptable.


Prize:  $10,000 will be awarded to the composer of the winning composition


Performance: The winning composition will be performed in Tampa during February 2010 as a focal event of the

2010 Robert Helps Festival. The winner of the Robert Helps Prize shall arrange to be present at the performance.


Originality:  The work must be an original unpublished composition. The copyrights of the text need to be secured


Deadline: Scores and application materials must be received on or before October 1, 2009. Results will be announced

on November 1, 2009.


Age restriction: Only applicants who will not have reached the age of 36 by February 14, 2010, will be considered.


How to apply:  All materials must be anonymous and marked only with a pseudonym of the composer’s choice.

Materials that have not had all identifiable markings removed will not be accepted.  The composer’s pseudonym

and the title of the composition must be marked on each score and recording.



1) Three copies of full score

2) Recordings will be accepted, but are not required (send either MIDI or rehearsal recordings, but in the format of audio CD only—no cassettes, mp3s or data discs)

3) A copy of birth certificate or passport indicating that the applicant shall not have reached the age of 36 by February 14, 2010

4) Application fee of $50 U.S. (money order/bank check payable to “USF”)

5) The application form (print legibly)


Mail materials to this address:

Robert Helps Prize

Attn.: Scott Kluksdahl

School of Music, FAH 110

College of Visual & Performing Arts

University of South Florida

4202 E. Fowler Avenue

Tampa, FL 33620-7350


One of the three submitted copies will be retained and placed in the Robert Helps Archives of the University of South Florida Library Special Collections.  An appropriately stamped return package or envelope will ensure the return of both remaining scores upon conclusion of the adjudication.  For more info, contact: Scott Kluksdahl at

2010 Robert Helps Festival


  • Louis Andriessen, Composer
  • Jonathan Howard Katz, Pianist-Composer, Helps Prize Winner 2010
  • Randy Woolf, Composer
  • Lee Chan-Hae, Composer, Pansori Soprano
  • Mitra Gobin, Music Therapist
  • Mela Dailey, Soprano
  • Patricia Green, Soprano
  • Monica Germino, Violin
  • Daniel Kelly, Trumpet
  • Kathleen Supove, Piano

Friday, Feb. 12, 2010

10:00 am - 12:00 pm, FAH 101 Music Recital Hall
Presentation: Mitra Gobin, Music Therapy: More than just a pretty tune

Music Therapy is a widely used, but often misunderstood discipline. For the majority of people, perceptions of music therapy are shaped by the occasional television or newspaper special or the notion that music just makes one “feel” good. “Music Therapy: More than just a pretty tune” will review the history of the field and training needed for therapists today, examine the research that substantiates the work across varied populations, and explore the practical utilization of music therapy in conjunction with other fields.

1:00 pm - 3:00 pm, FAH 101 Music Recital Hall
Presentation: Lecture:  Louis Andriessen

Louis Andriessen is one of the most revered composers writing today and he joins us from the Netherlands and gives insight into his life and career.

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm, Theatre 2
Concert: USF Student Composers Concert

Featuring works from the USF Composition Department with the Directors Prize awarded to the winning composition.

8:00 pm, Theatre 2
*Concert: Premiere of the 2010 Robert Helps Composition Competition prize-winning piece

USF artist-faculty members Brad Diamond and Dharshini Tambiah present a program of English and American song, including the world premiere of Talking Of Michelangelo, written by 2010 Robert Helps Prize winner Jonathan Howard Katz.

Saturday, Feb. 13, 2010

10:00 am, FAH 102
Master Class: Louis Andriessen

The celebrated composer Louis Andriessen provides critique in a public forum for USF student composers and guests.

2:00 pm, FAH 101 Music Recital Hall
Presentation: Jonathan Howard Katz

The 2010 Robert Helps Prize winner speaks about his music and career to members of the USF and metropolitan communities.

8:00 pm, Theatre 2
*Concert: Mela Dailey/Scott Kluksdahl

A rising star in the musical firmament, soprano Mela Dailey joins cellist Scott Kluksdahl and students in a program of English and American song for soprano and cello.

Sunday, Feb. 14, 2010

3:30 pm, Palladium Theatre (St. Petersburg)
Lecture: Zoe Lang (pre-concert)

USF Musicologist Zoe Lang gives a preview of the works to be performed by the USF Symphony Orchestra.

4:00 pm, Palladium Theatre (St. Petersburg)
*Concert: USF Orchestra Palladium

Maestro William Wiedrich and the USF Symphony Orchestra present works by Ciro Scotto, John Tavener, and Michael Daugherty.

Monday, Feb. 15, 2010

10:00 am, FAH 134
Master Class: Jonathan Howard Katz

The 2010 Robert Helps prize-winner Jonathan Howard Katz provides critique in a public forum for USF student composers and guests.

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, FAH 101 Music Recital Hall
Presentation: Randy Woolf

The New York based composer Randy Woolf speaks about his music and career.

4:30 pm - 6:00 pm, FAH 101 Music Recital Hall
Discussion: Kathleen Supove

An acclaimed pianist and interpreter of modern music, Kathleen Supove speaks with USF composers and pianists about her growing legacy of collaborations with composers.

10:00 pm, Theatre 2
*Concert: Late Night with Louis….

Louis Andriessen

The composer will be here in person for a late-night concert of his music. The program features a spectacular performance of M is for Man Music and Mozart, accompanied by the film by British filmmaker Peter Greenaway (a word of caution: this film contains nudity). Superb singer Patricia Green travels from Canada to lend her voice to the festivities. Works for ensemble, string quartet and solo piano complete the program.

Louis Andriessen was recently awarded Musical America’s Composer of the Year, and occupies the Composer Chair at Carnegie Hall this season. Don’t miss a chance to experience his music live, in this special concert at USF!

Concerts in Holland are always followed by a celebratory drink! In this spirit, the USF School of Music cordially invites the audience to join the composer and the musicians for a festive reception immediately following the show.

Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2010

10:00 am - 12:00 pm, FAH 132
Master Class: Randy Woolf

The New York based composer Randy Woolf provides critique in a public forum for USF student composers and guests.

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, FAH 101 Music Recital Hall
Discussion: Kathleen Supove/Randy Woolf

These intrepid artists discuss the realities and possibilities of New York City as a base for artistic productivity and growth and discuss Wednesday nights concert “The Exploding Piano.”

7:00 pm, Theatre 2
Lecture: Timpson/Lee/Scotto

USF composers Michael Timpson, Chichun Lee and Ciro Scotto give a preview discussion of the works included on the evening’s program.

8:00 pm, Theatre 2
*Concert: Music of Timpson, Lee, Scotto

This program showcases the unique talents of Michael Sidney Timpson, Chichun Lee and Ciro Scotto, members of USF distinguished Composition faculty.

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010

10:00 am - 12:00 pm, at SYCOM (limited seating available)
Discussion: SYCOM – Randy Woolf

Composer Randy Woolf meets with USF electronic composition students and faculty in the SYCOM facility at USF, and discusses his experience in this medium.

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, FAH 101 Music Recital Hall
Lecture: Dharshini Tambiah – Music of Robert Helps

Acclaimed pianist, Robert Helps scholar and Ph.D. candidate at York University, and USF alumna and Artist-Faculty Dharshi Tambiah introduces her research into the world of Robert Helps.

6:00 pm, FAH 101 Music Recital Hall
*Concert: Daniel Kelly, Trumpet

This concert features Daniel Kelly and focuses on modern repertory for trumpet including works of James Stephensen, Roland Barrett and Charles Ingram.

8:00 pm, Theatre 2
*Concert: Kathleen Supove, The Exploding Piano

Acclaimed pianist and modern music interpreter Kathleen Supove performs works by Jacob Ter Veldhuis, Carolyn Yarnell, Anna Clyne, Missy Mazzoli, Randall Woolf and Neil Rolnick, plus Louis Andriessen.

Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010

2:00 pm - 4:00 pm, FAH 101 Music Recital Hall
Lecture: John Robison – Korean Pansori

8:00 pm, Theatre 2
*Concert: Pansori Heungboga

One of the most significant senior women composers in South Korea, Lee Chan-Hae has been a dynamic force in the Korean women composer’s movement for several decades. During the first decade of the twenty-first century, Lee has been composing a cycle of monumental works that combine the art of traditional pansori singing with contemporary instrumental ensembles.  Pansori Heungboga, the most recent composition in the series, was premiered in Seoul during May 2009; this will be its North American premiere.

(*Ticket Events)



The fifth annual Robert Helps Composition Competition and Festival will take place in February 2010, celebrating not only the life and legacy of the late pianist-composer, but also the contributions of leading composers, historians, theorists and musical thinkers on the American musical scene.

In addition to incorporating resident artists and scholars from the University of South Florida and the region, the festival has featured guests including Vivian Perlis, David Del Tredici, Augusta Read Thomas, Wes York, Richard Wernick, Benjamin C.S. Boyle, ensembles including the Florida Orchestra, Richard Zielinski Singers, Chai Found Music Workshop, and Helps Prize recipients Cheryl Frances Hoad, Kyong-Mee Choi and Jerry Hui.

The festival emphasizes Robert Helps’ passion for educating emerging generations of musicians, and focuses on interaction between students and master figures in modern American music performance and thought.



::Click to download 2010 brochure and application form
Get latest version of Adobe
Travel to the Robert Helps Festival, February 2010
    — Hotel (doc)

    — Airlines (doc)
    — Rental Cars (doc)
:: Email for more Info
:: Hear Robert Helps perform live
:: View the Robert Helps discography
:: View Robert Helps' Curriculum Vita (pdf)
:: Read personal accounts about Robert Helps,
    pianist-composer-teacher (coming)
:: Submit a personal account about Robert Helps,
:: Connect to the Robert Helps Monument website

Past Festivals
:: 2008 Robert Helps Festival Winner
:: 2007 Robert Helps Festival Winner
:: 2006 Robert Helps Festival Winner
:: 2006 Robert Helps Festival

The Fourth International Competition and Festival for Emerging Composers Age 35 and Under

In commemoration of the distinguished legacy of the eminent pianist and composer Robert Helps, the University of South Florida is pleased to announce the fourth international composition competition and festival for composers age 18-35.


Robert Helps (1928-2001) belonged to the small coterie of American new music pianists who emerged in the late forties and early fifties. He was also a highly original composer, whose work might be characterized as the missing link between the Columbia-Princeton atonal school and the “New Romanticism” movement that made tonality fashionable for composers in the 20th century’s final decades. As a much sought-after teacher, Helps embodied the legacy of his teacher Abby Whiteside, whose theories of musculature and physical rhythm stood apart from the mainstream of piano teaching in her day. Likewise, the influence of Roger Sessions on Helps’ career was early and lasting, and Helps was arguably the world’s leading exponent of his mentor’s piano music. From 1980 until his death from cancer at 73 in November 2001, Helps lived, taught, and made music in Tampa, where he was Professor of Music at the University of South Florida.*

* *Jed Distler, Piano & Keyboard, Sept./Oct. 1996

Mission of the Robert Helps Prize:

The Robert Helps Composition Competition and Festival are designed to encourage the development and enhance the career opportunities of emerging young composers, honoring the oeuvre and aesthetic of the late Robert Helps, while providing an annual archival commemoration in celebration of the pianism and pedagogy of Helps, the master teacher, as well as offering the University of South Florida as a significant and valuable resource for composers and lovers of the music of our time.

The University of South Florida School of Music provides an appropriate forum for an international composition competition and festival commemorating and honoring the distinguished legacy of the late pianist-composer Robert Helps, one of the revered figures in American music and a beloved USF faculty member. Entering its sixth decade, the University of South Florida School of Music continues to be a beacon for leading composers, performers of new music, resident composers, theorists and artist-faculty, and listeners – all of whom participate in evolving, cutting-edge modernism. By establishing the Robert Helps Competition and Festival, the University of South Florida offers a valuable resource and provocative catalyst for thoughtful exchange in new music.

This university’s historic commitment to modern works has generated literally thousands of performances, commissions and premieres at the USF campus and throughout the Tampa metropolitan area by resident artist-faculty and composers, guest artists and students. This institution’s track record of presenting the most challenging European and American literature spanning all genre through the 20th century to the present is well known, and also extends to repertories of the diverse geographies of Cuba, the Caribbean, Latin America, Korea, China, post-1980 Soviet, modern Baltic, and beyond.

Composers, theorists, musicologists and performers have come to depend on this research institution’s innovative and creative work not only in performance, but also in theoretical research that focuses on modern thought and emerging shifts of approach in music. The University of South Florida is home to one of the most complete electronic studios in the country (SYCOM), and has recently been designated as the permanent home to the New York Bartok Archive and to the Robert Helps Archive in the USF Library Special Collections.



Scott Kluksdahl, chair




Milton Babbitt           

Idith Meshulam

Bethany Beardslee      

Garrick Ohlsson

Anthony Checchia

Bruce Phillips

Edward Cumming

Russell Sherman

David Del Tredici       

Gunther Schuller

Frank Dodge  

Michael Steinberg

Alan Feinberg

Augusta Read Thomas

Jorja Fleezanis

Joan Tower

Richard Goode

George Tsontakis

John Harbison

Wes York



Theresa Buckley

John McCarthy

Mark Greenberg

Margaret Miller

Scott Kluksdahl 

Wade Weast











College of Visual & Performing Arts

University of South Florida

4202 E. Fowler Avenue, FAH 110

Tampa, FL 33620-7350

(813) 974-2311


For more information about supporting the Robert Helps Composition Competition visit