Young Composers Share Their Compositions in Music Education Week Concert

On June 27, the Millennium Stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC provided a worthy platform for the winning pieces from the MENC 2010 Student Composers Competition.

MENC presented the concert as part of its annual Music Education Week June 24–29 in Washington, DC. Members of the U.S Navy Band performed the winning compositions for an appreciative audience.

The young composers, schools and teachers are:

  • Elementary/Middle School Winner: “The Days You See,” by Nicholas McConnell, Woodland Elementary School, Warren, New Jersey; Teacher: David Gordon
  • High School Winner: “Quirmlet” by Thomas Reeves; The Dalton School, New York, N.Y.; Teacher: Judith Wohlreich
  • College/Graduate Winner: “States of Disorder” by Troy Armstrong, University of Southern California, Los Angeles; Teacher: David Circle

Daniel Deutsch
, composition/improvisation chairperson for the New York State School Music Association, is national chair of the MENC Student Composers Competition.

Introducing the concert, he said, “As an essential component of the core curriculum, music education teaches our students to be creative, to think critically and to work together in teams. Our nation’s music educators provide tools and skills that help our students to excel both in the 21st century classroom and in the broader world that surrounds our classrooms.”

Deutsch said, “Music composition is the creative heart of music itself. It is the source from which all music emanates and flows and therefore it is as crucial part of music curriculum.”

He added:  “It was a delight to see the standing-room-only Kennedy Center audience give such hearty ovations to the three winners of the MENC Student Composers Competition.  It was no surprise, however, because each of the competition winners created imaginative, evocative, well-crafted compositions.  Many audience members commented on the brilliance of the pieces.

“The young composers and MENC were fortunate to have marvelous musicians bringing the music to life on the stage:  US Navy Band Musicians 1st Class Jennifer Smith, Daniel Frazelle, and Caroline Koziol.”

Deutsch offered special thanks to the Division Chairpersons who first screened the submissions in the competition: Gary Gackstatter, Lois Veenhoven Guderian, Jack Jarrett, Gerry Marsh, John O’Reilly, and Paul Siskind.

To watch the student composers introduce their compositions and hear the U.S. Navy Band perform, visit Kennedy Center videos. For more information, visit 2010 Student Composers Competition Winners.

 —Roz Fehr, July 2, 2010 © MENC: The National Association for Music Education