Former Santa Monica College student Lev Marquis, who said he composed a musical score based on a childhood nightmare, has been named a winner of the 2011 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award.

The 20-year-old Marquis, who is now a student at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, was recognized for his achievements while at SMC. The award is given to composers under the age of 30.

More than 750 scores from young composers aged 10 to 29 were received for the competition, said officials at the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP).

Marquis’ piece, “Murder in a Vast Expanse,” was composed for two prepared bowed guitars, wineglasses, contrabass clarinet, percussion and electronics.

“‘Murder in a Vast Expanse’ is a musical interpretation of a raw feeling I was exposed to in a childhood nightmare,” Marquis said. “Death is approaching and there is nothing you can do to stop it. You can fight back but it is utterly futile; soon you will succumb and fade into nothingness – even if you do manage to go out with a bang.”

Marquis designed and conceived all of the stage effects, unusual playing techniques and special sound effects in the composition.

Raised in Los Angeles, he began studying piano at age 12 and composing at age 16, and he has also studied violin and guitar.