Music: In the Prize Ring

Modern composers usually complain that art is long and cash is short. But a ready way for a young composer to keep body and soul in a decent kitchenette apartment is to act like the girl who wants to be Miss America: enter all the contests.

Scores of musical contests (set up by foundations, wealthy individuals, schools) offer prizes that include cash fees, scholarships, performances, recordings, or expenses for study abroad. One of the classiest contenders in this musical prize ring is Ramiro Cortés. 21. Born in Dallas of Mexican parents, he took up...

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