2012 Student Composers Contest Winners


Elementary/Middle School Winner

Calvin Lu, Marlboro Middle School, Marlboro, NJ

Calvin Lu, age 12, is a 7th grade student at Marlboro Middle School in Marlboro, New Jersey. He started playing the piano at age 4 and obtained the London College of Music Diploma certificate at age 10. He began composing when he was 8, studying composition with Felicia Ruffman and Dr. John Girvin. He has won numerous awards since then. In 2011-12, he won 2nd place in the Junior Division of the MTNA National Composition Competition. That year, he was the only young composer from North America to be invited to perform his original composition at Yamaha’s International Original Concert in Yokohama, Japan.

In addition to piano and composition, Calvin also plays clarinet, cello and trumpet. He is an active member of the school jazz band and string orchestra.

Besides creating and performing music, Calvin likes to read, participate in science competitions, design websites, and create computer games. He also enjoy sports such as skiing and swimming

Listen to Calvin’s composition – Dances for Clarinet and Piano


High School Winner

Jae Lee, Northview High School, John’s Creek, GA

Jae Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea in 1994. His piano study began at the age of eight, and he began to compose and improvise shortly thereafter. After moving to the Unites States in fourth grade, Jae was introduced to jazz and became obsessed with listening to jazz, writing transcriptions for improvisations, and interpreting standards as his own. He learned to play the saxophone so he could join the school concert band. Jae has played in several district honor bands. A student at Northview High School in Johns Creek, Georgia, Jae currently studies piano with Joanna Kim and composition with David Peoples.

Jae has won several awards including first place in the Georgia Bach Competition, Georgia Music Educators Association Piano Competition, and the Georgia Music Teachers Association Piano Competition.

In his spare time, he enjoys playing jazz piano for gigs, going to church, and watching YouTube. Jae hopes to make a career out of writing works for bands and orchestras, scoring for films, and teaching music at a university.

Listen to Jae’s composition – Stream of Consciousness


Collegiate Winner

Christopher Lowry, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN

A 23-year-old from Nashville, Tennessee, Christopher Lowry has extensive experience as a performer and a composer. A classical violist, Lowry is an active soloist, orchestral musician, and chamber musician playing across America and in Europe. Lowry received his Bachelor’s degree in viola performance and composition in 2012 from Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. As a violist, Lowry has received prizes in several competitions including the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition (2012), first prize in the Junior Viola Division of the 2007 ASTA National Solo Competition, the Vanderbilt University Concerto Competition (2008), and the Eastern Music Festival Concerto Competition (2006). Lowry is also a member of the Ars Nova String Quartet which attended the Aspen Music Festival in 2011.

Christopher Lowry’s music has been performed by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra, the Vanderbilt University Wind Symphony, the Middle Tennessee State University Orchestra, the New York All-State String Orchestra, the Curb Youth Symphony, and the Appassionata Duo. His orchestral work Celebration Overture, Opus 1 No. 1, was premiered in December 2006. Lowry was commissioned by Nashville Symphony principal horn Leslie Norton and percussionist Christopher Norton to compose Duo for Horn and Percussion, Opus 4; he is currently writing a piece for four violas for the American Viola Society. His Suite for Viola and Piano, Opus 5, received Honorable Mention in the New York Art Ensemble Competition . His string orchestra piece The American Dream – An Anthem, Opus 10, was premiered in December 2011 at the Eastman School of Music as part of the New York State School Music Association Winter Conference. Lowry will attend Louisiana State University this fall for graduate study in viola and composition.

Listen to Christopher’s composition – Livewire!