Composition Winners 2007

The Young Musicians Competition expresses its sincere appreciation to The New York City Department of Cultural AffairsThe Host Organization for this grant is St. Pauls/St. Lukes Lutheran Church Sam Ash Music Corp., Sibelius Software LtdTheir support has helped make this year's Competition possible. First Prize Winner  Dayton KinneyTrio for B-flat Clarinet, Violin, and Double Bass The Trio for B-Flat Clarinet, Violin, and Double Bass was inspired by helping a friend through a difficult time.  The piece is a light and happy melody about enjoying nature and hearing life's simple beauty.  The idea came from long walks through the forest near my home, listening to the wind whispering through the leaves, and watching the woodland animals perform a ballet.  The song is written in a classic tonal style with a contemporary approach that includes occasional atonal idioms.  The voice of the clarinet is the wind dancing to its own tune while the violin and double bass represents the diverse woodland animals.  The contrast between the violin and double bass lets the listener imagine the many different animals in the forest.  Composing this trio has allowed me to share the interpretation of nature's beauty and goodness with family and friends.  The message of my composition is to simply open your heart and ears to life.  Dayton Kinney, a high school honors student, is in her sophomore year at Sacred Heart High School in Kingston, Massachusetts.  Concurrently, she attends New England Conservatory Preparatory School, studying piano and music composition.  She became interested in music and started to play the piano at the age of nine.  She has traveled abroad under the guidance of Julia Bernstein with whom she is currently studying piano.  At the age of twelve, she began studying perfect pitch with Alla Elana Cohen at New England Conservatory, gaining college credits from her studies.  At the age of thirteen, she began studying music composition and theory with Ms. Cohen.  While studying with Ms. Cohen, Dayton has achieved the following awards:  she has twice been a finalist in the ASCAP Foundation’s Morton Gould Young Composer Awards; she received two honorable mentions from the Pikes Peak Young Composers Awards; she won two Music Teachers National Association Music Composition State Competition and third place in the MTNA Eastern Regional Division Competitions; and the New York Art Ensemble Young Composers awarded her the title of Emerging Composer.  She has recently won First Place in the Senior category for her String Quartet, La passion, at the Pike's Peak Young Composers Competition, 2007, and second place in the Connecticut International Young Artist Competition 2007.  Dayton is an avid reader and loves to ski.  She is a member of the National Society of High School Scholars, the Sacred Heart Scholars, and the Société Honoraire de Français.Second Prize Winner  Eric Xu   Snow Dance For Flute, B-flat Trumpet, Two Violins and Pianoperformed by David Hsieh, violin 1; Eric Xu, violin 2; Dennis Yu, flute; Rachel Candee, Bb trumpet; Emerson Liu, piano Excerpt from the score of Snow DanceThe inspiration for Snow Dance came last winter as I looked out my window one day and saw a group of people playing in the snow.  All of a sudden, a theme popped into my head, so I sketched out this four-measure theme.  Recently I decided to use the competition as an opportunity to finish the piece.  It is a very tonal piece, and has a cheery tone and feel.  It has nuances in some passages that break away from traditional elements of music.  These include unique chord progressions in the second theme. the piece is set in D Major, modulation takes over in the second theme, and a G-sharp mixolydian scale drifts the exposition into the closing which ends on a Phrygian half cadence.  The coda of this dance is essentially one long suspension that dissolves from the dominant to the tonic.    Eric Xu was born in China in 1990. When he was twelve, he wrote his first piece,  a work for solo piano with a simple melody.  As time progressed, he started to learn music theory through a number of books.  After a couple of years, his interest shifted from the Classical style to the Late Romantic and Neoclassic styles.  From then on, he has been writing mostly for larger ensembles or full orchestra.  In eighth grade, one of his pieces was performed by the Bridgewater-Raritan Middle School orchestra in the Spring Concert.  He is now a junior at Bridgewater-Raritan High School, and performs in the High School Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Mr. Joseph Lalumia.  Since ninth grade, Mr. Lalumia has been guiding Eric in his composition, and has been very supportive.  Eric is currently working on his 42nd piece, which is an overture for full orchestra.  In 2006 Eric won grand prize in the first Wagner College Composition Competition. Later that year, he became affiliated with the Richmond County Orchestra, and in 2007  his piece St. Peter's Overture was premiered in Staten Island with the Richmond County Orchestra.  Eric was also commissioned by the Richmond County Orchestra to write a work for orchestra and basketball.  The work is called Boston Ball, referring to the introduction of "fast breaks" by the Boston Celtics, and it has a complicated percussion part derived from the use of a basketball.  Eric's high school symphony orchestra will soon perform Eric's Symphony No. 1 for Strings in the annual Spring concert.  Other than composing, Eric is a sound manager at his church, and a violinist on the youth worship team.  He is enrolled in the Music Honors Society at school. See also Eric Xu Winner 2006