Winning composition to debut downtown

At 7 p.m. Thursday, an international award-winning choral composition by Keane Southard will be presented during Pops at the Fountain in downtown Warren.

Southard, from Ohio, is the winner of the Promising Young Composers Competition, sponsored by the Warren County Summer Music School in honor of the school’s 25th anniversary.

Ann Mead, director of the board for the school, said the composition will be performed by school faculty, interns and selected students, as it is “a challenging choral piece.”

Denise Pearson, committee chair for the competition, said they advertised through musical websites on the Internet and sent letters to several hundred colleges that have musical departments. Twelve entries were received from the U.S. and other countries.

Open to musicians between the ages of 15 and 30, “It’s an opportunity to extend an outreach to the next generation of composers,” Pearson said.

First prize, which was taken by Southard, is $1,000. The second prize of $500 went to a entrant in British Columbia, Canada, and the $250 third prize to one in Portugal.

Pearson noted there were three categories for entries – choral, orchestral and jazz – and Mead added that the categories represent the three areas the school excels in, along with the skills of its faculty.

Pearson said the judge for the competition was Dr. Neil Flory, the new music department chair at Jamestown Community College, who is also a composer. “He typed at least a full page of comments and constructive analysis for every entrant,” she said.

They plan to continue the international competition next year.