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Music faculty members establish innovative composing competition

By Janet Harron | Oct. 4, 2011

Two colleagues at Memorial’s School of Music have established an innovative competition to encourage emerging Canadian composers to write music for band.

“It’s a way of bringing together people who want to play the music and people who want to write the music,” said Jason Caslor, assistant professor of instrumental conducting at Memorial and co-creator of the Canadian Band Association Composition Competition.

Emerging Canadian composers 35 years of age or younger are encouraged to submit compositions which will then be judged by a three member jury created from the five participating organizations – Memorial University, Brandon University, the University of Saskatchewan, the Sackville Community Band of Nova Scotia and the Festival City Wind of Edmonton.  Each of the five ensembles will rehearse, perform and record the winning piece.

Andrew Staniland, assistant professor of composition at Memorial, is the other half of the creative impetus behind the competition. He says that the competition is completely unique in Canadian music circles. The winner will receive five performances across Canada as a prize (along with $1,000 in cash) but Staniland explains that the real currency for composers is the performance.

“We are aiming to increase the dialogue between composers and conductors and to create a knowledge base. We’ll have five groups playing this piece – the composer can talk to the conductors and the conductors can talk to the composer. The resulting dialogue will be fascinating,” he said.

“It’s unbelievable that no one has seen this unique format before,” said Mr. Caslor of the competition that guarantees several performances of the winning composition. “In the wind band repertoire, we don’t have a long history. We don’t have a Beethoven or a Brahmns, but we do have lots of living composers writing for band. Wouldn’t it be great to have several great pieces created each year?”

Mr. Caslor is also excited by the diversity of the participating groups. “This truly reflects the breadth of musical life in this country – it’s definitely not restricted to universities.”

Those interested in submitting a composition can visit www.canadianband.ca/ or contact Jason at jcaslor@mun.ca. The deadline for the 2011 competition is Dec. 15.

The premiere performance of the winning piece will take place at Memorial’s School of Music as part of the Newfound Music Festival, Jan. 26-28.

 

 


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