Southern Vermont Shines In October's Student Composer Showcase

Oct 16, 2017

VPR Classical's Student Composer Showcase celebrates the work of young Vermont composers. This October, we'll hear from a pair of student musicians in Southern Vermont.

Brigham Cooper is in 6th grade at the Long Trail School. Moonlight Ball is Cooper's first composition, and he started by simply trying out different combinations of notes. "The 25th combination sounded pretty cool and I decided to base my piece off of that," Cooper says.

As a bass player, Cooper uses a sense of swing, and a walking bass line beneath the dance-like work. "If you don't have fun, then what's the point of it?"

"When people write music, it's a way of representing yourself and who you are as a person." With Moonlight Ball complete, Cooper reflects that, going by the music, he's an even more "upbeat" person than he realized.

Ellery Stahler is a 9th grader at Burr and Burton Academy, who places math, music, and lacrosse at the top of his interests. Sometimes those interests intersect, as they do in Stahler's Stuck In The Corner Of A Circle. "There's this problem in math called "squaring the circle"...that's kind of what I was basing my piece on, bringing out some of the more mathematical concepts in music."

Stahler also uses triplets and plays with meter to emphasize the math-music relationship. "For fun right now I've been working on a piece with 19/16 as the time signature."

When asked why he started writing music, Stahler says that, "At the beginning of the year we were given three elective choices for school. I didn't really like the other two, and I knew I liked music so I was like, 'Hey, I'll try this out.' Turns out I loved it."

Both performances were recorded at Music-COMP’s Opus 32 concert in May of this year, with musicians Letitia Quante and Jane Kittredge, violin; Mike Close, cello; Evan Premo, double bass; Elizabeth Reid, viola; Alison Cerutti, piano; and Steve Klimowski, clarinet.

The Student Composer Showcase is produced in collaboration with Music-COMP, which provides online composition mentoring support to students and local schools. Click here to find out more.