Annual Young Composers Competition Winners, Events March 20-21

| February 18, 2015

Six young composers, ranging in age from 15 to 20, were named the winners of the 11th Annual Young Composers Competition. They were among the dozens of young composers from 13 states who submitted compelling works for consideration in this competition. The event is hosted by Webster University’s Community Music School (CMS) and sponsored by Arden and Harry Fisher.

The winning compositions will be performed at the CMS at 3 p.m. March 21. Earlier in the day, two workshops for emerging composers will be held. The night before, the Department of Music will present a concert featuring works by the Composition Faculty. All of the events are free and open to the Public.

“The student composers selected in this competition are among the best emerging young composers in the nation,” said Carol Commerford, director of the CMS. “It will be exciting to hear these amazing works performed by professional musicians in a formal setting, and for some of these musicians, it will be the first time they will hear their own works performed by someone else.”

Since 2004, the Young Composers Competition recognizes and encourages the efforts of those between the ages of 12 and 21 who are involved in the creative process of composing music.  This program, unique to the St. Louis region, is open to nationwide participation and has recognized young composers across the continent.

This Year’s Winners

Level One (12-16 years of age)

  • 1st Place, Paul Novak, 16, from Reno, Nevada, for Nocturne
  • 2nd Place, Julia Riew, 15, from St. Louis, for Laughing Lake
  • Honorable Mention, Molly Monahan, 16, from Holland, Michigan, for Meadow Winds Suite

Level Two (17-21 years of age)

  • 1st Place, Erin Hoerchler, 19, from Jefferson City, Missouri, for Flight of the Hang Gliding Nightingale Nurses
  • 2nd Place, Gus Knobbe, 19, from St. Louis, for Murmurations  
  • Honorable Mention, Kelly Stathis, 20, from Poughquag, New York, for Numbness and Tingling

The winning works will be performed by professional musicians at the Emerging Composers Concert on Saturday, March 21, 2015 at 3 p.m. at the CMS Center.  The concert will include “A Middle Quartet (In Medias Res),” an original work by guest composer, Don Freund. Freund is a professor of Composition at Indiana University. Freund is an internationally recognized composer with works ranging from solo, chamber, and orchestral music to pieces involving live performances with electronic instruments, music for dance, and large theater works.

He has been a professor at Indiana University Jacobs School of Music since 1992.  He has given lectures and master classes in Australia, Europe, and Asia.  He has published a series of essays and lectures for young composers.

His work has been described as “exciting, amusing, disturbing, beautiful and always fascinating” by the London publication Music and Musicians. He has been described as “a composer thoughtful in approach and imaginative in style” (The Washington Post), whose music is “exciting, amusing, disturbing, beautiful, and always fascinating” (Music and Musicians, London).  For more information on Dr. Freund visit:

In addition to the Emerging Composers Concert, the CMS will host a weekend of composition activities. The Webster University Department of Music Composition Faculty Recital will kick off the weekend’s festivities at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 20.  Two workshops will be presented on Saturday, March 21.  At 10 a.m. guest composer, Freund will present “From Idea to Audience” discussing the idea, sketch, and organizational process of composing.  Kim Portnoy, Webster University’s director of Composition, will present the second workshop, “Making a Botch of It”:  Inspiration, Imitation and the Creative Process” at 1 p.m.  All events are free and open to the public.

Young Composers Competition Events

All events are free and will be held at the Community Music School Center on the Webster University campus.

  • Faculty Recital: Friday, March 20, at 7 p.m.
  • Workshops: Saturday, March 21, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
  • Concert: Saturday, March 21, at 3 p.m., featuring winning works and music by guest composer Don Freund

For additional information, visit the The Community Music School website or call 314-968-5939.


Category: St. Louis Campus News, The Arts

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