The three winning compositions in the 2023 Young Composer Competition will debut at the Carroll Symphony Orchestra’s Masterworks Concert Friday evening, February 9, 2024, at the Carroll County Schools Performing Arts Center. The three young composers are Konish Pisoh age 11, of Whitesburg Elementary School, Ada Key, age 12, from Bremen Middle School, and Drew Williams, age 14, of Carrollton Middle School.
The 2023 Carroll Symphony Orchestra Young Composer Competition was open to students K5 through 12th grade throughout the state of Georgia. A musical theme was released to the public in September, and students were invited to compose a piece using that theme. There was no minimum length for their finished piece, but the maximum time it could be was four minutes. The treatment of the theme could range from simple chordal accompaniment to advanced contrapuntal techniques and thematic transformations.
The competitors’ scores had to be submitted to the CSO by midnight on December 31, 2023, to be considered. Scores were then submitted to a composition judge for consideration in three age brackets.
Winners received orchestration lessons courtesy of the Symphony with its Musical Director and Conductor Terry Lowry. Now they will finally hear their works performed by the Symphony on a program that includes Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony and The William Tell Overture, also known as the theme of The Lone Ranger.
Konish, who had entered the annual competition for the first time, began at age seven to learn piano on his own via a computer app and now studies with Ms. Katie Byrd, who coincidentally is a member of the Carroll Symphony. In addition to the piano, he also plays recorder and accordian. His favorite subjects are math, science, music, and coding.
When asked what was the most fun about the competition Konish said, “I got to learn how my piece would be transformed by adding multiple instruments in the process of orchestration. I’m excited that my piece will be played.” He continued, “I learned other music facts, too, and I am looking forward to doing this next year.”
Ada Key has been studying piano since she was four. She also plays alto saxophone and has recently begun playing the guitar. She says her favorite subject is math. This year was her third time to enter the state-wide competition and her third time to win.
Ada said that the most fun part of the competition was “just better[ing] myself and my skill set on the piano, and then of course hearing other people’s pieces, celebrating their accomplishments with composition, and seeing how we compare and create when given the same starting point. [It’s] just a fun, creative competition that makes us all better musicians.” When asked about the upcoming debut of her piece Ada said, “I’m really excited. I feel this is my best piece yet, so I can’t wait to share it with everyone!”
Drew Williams plays percussion instruments and says “It’s…neat that two of my band instructors [David Trumble and Zachary Nelson] are playing in the orchestra” that will debut his composition. His favorite subject is history/social studies. This was his first time entering the Young Composers Competition, and as a winner he says the most fun about it the entire process was “writing the orchestra piece with Mr. Lowry. It’s been great to work with him and see my composition come to life.”
The CSO Masterworks Winter Concert will be February 9, at 7:30 p.m. at the Carroll County Schools Performing Arts Center. Tickets are available at the Carrollton Center for the Arts or online at cprcad.myboxoffice.us/program/cso-masterworks-winter-concert-1637