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Winners in APSU Annual Young Composers Competition named

Winners in the 21st Annual Young Composers Competition for 2007 were announced recently by the Austin Peay State University Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts, which sponsors the event.

First prize was awarded to Thomas Royal, Greensboro, N.C., for his Three Poems of Pierre Reverdy for baritone, violoncello and piano. Nikolas Jeleniauskas, Bloomington, Ind., earned second place for his Abstractions for violin, clarinet and piano. Third prize was awarded to Benjamin Williams, Akron, Ohio, for his A Childs Garden for tenor and piano.
Winners in the 21st Annual Young Composer's Competition for 2007 were announced recently by the Austin Peay State University Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts, which sponsors the event.

First prize was awarded to Thomas Royal, Greensboro, N.C., for his “Three Poems of Pierre Reverdy” for baritone, violoncello and piano. Nikolas Jeleniauskas, Bloomington, Ind., earned second place for his “Abstractions” for violin, clarinet and piano. Third prize was awarded to Benjamin Williams, Akron, Ohio, for his “A Child's Garden” for tenor and piano.

Royal completed a B.S. in Music Composition in 2005 at APSU. Since 2006, he has been pursuing a M.M. in Composition at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. He writes music concerned with reconciliation. The goal is creating a strong stylistic unity from subtly disparate elements. Much of his work explores the role of counterpoint in creating such unity. The “Three Poems of Pierre Reverdy” is an exploration of the type of sounds that can be created through the smallest number of notes possible.

Much of Royal's recent work has explored humankind's relationship to technology, as seen in his work “Soft Stings of a Cold Dead Image” for speaker and live electronics. Royal recently studied the design of custom electronic music controllers at Stanford University's computer music research center. Future work will focus on complex contrapuntal procedures and alternative performance paradigms made possible through the use of technology.

Jeleniauskas is a composer, conductor and dancer from Syracuse, N.Y. He is a second-year graduate student at Indiana University, pursuing a master's in composition. He received his bachelor's in composition/musicology with high distinction from Syracuse University. In 2006, Nikolas' work, “Abstractions,” was premiered at the Society of Composers Regional Conference at Hamilton College and was featured on WCNY's “Fresh Ink” program in May 2007.

Williams is pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in Composition at Ohio State University. He received his Master of Music in Composition from the University of Akron in 2007. Williams has had performances by The Akron New Music Ensemble, The University of Akron Chamber Choir and The Cleveland Chamber Symphony.

Since 1987, the Austin Peay State University Young Composer's Competition has been held each year, becoming a national competition in 1993. The APSU Department of Music and the Center of Excellence for the Creative Arts have awarded prizes to composers from such prestigious musical institutions as Peabody Conservatory of Music, Harvard University, Yale University, the Cleveland Institute, New York University and the Eastman School of Music.

The purpose of the contest is to encourage young composers by providing professional-level performances of their music as well as financial incentive and support. Composers winning first prize traditionally are invited to Austin Peay's campus for the performance of their music, an important facet of the competition. The composers also interact with both undergraduate and graduate students in composition and theory, talking to classes and meeting with composition students.

The competition is open to student composers in the U.S. Scores submitted this year were for a wide range of instrumental and vocal media. Qualified university faculty and composers served as judges. For more information, contact Dr. Jeffrey Wood, professor of music at APSU, by telephone at (931) 221- 7819 or by e-mail at woodj@apsu.edu. -- Melony A. Jones