GV students participate in Art Gallery Composition Competition


GVL / Bethann Long

Sabrina Rihtarshich, Staff Writer

On Monday, March 20, Grand Valley State University held its annual Art Gallery Composition Competition.

Students who are part of the GVSU New Music Ensemble performed a 60-second piece in a competition against one another. Each student performing was directed to respond to an exhibition in the Art Gallery show titled Convergence: Cracks in the Glass Ceiling.

This exhibition was co-created with MUSE GR and was curated by Stephen and Taylor Smith. The exhibition represents the “pushing of boundaries into spaces to cultivate growth and coordinated expansion.” The exhibition also encouraged viewers to operate out of purpose and passion in order to be released from the confines of their comfort zones, allowing them to experience a proverbial cracking of the glass ceiling. 

The compositions were submitted anonymously for this competition and then performed by the New Music Ensemble among the art that inspired the music.

A panel of judges determined the three winners and the audience got to pick their favorite piece. The judges included former Director of the Grand Rapids Public Museum Timothy Chester, GVSU Associate Professor of Piano Sookkyung Cho, GVSU Provost Fatma Mili, former GVSU Professor of Music John Schuster-Craig and Director of the MUSE GR Gallery Stephen Smith.

All winners received a cash prize, with first place getting $250, second place winner and audience favorite receiving $100 and third place receiving $50. The first-place winner and audience favorite was Christian Glascock, who was both the composer and a member the ensemble group. 

“I had to try extra hard to keep my composure and not give away which piece was mine when rehearsing them,” Glascock said.

Glascock’s piece was titled “Bugs Bunny Noir” which he said was inspired by his childhood and growing up watching “Tom and Jerry” and “Looney Tunes.” 

“I’d have to say my favorite part of the performance this year was finally coming clean that ‘Bugs Bunny Noir’ was written by me,” Glascock said. “The other members of the New Music Ensemble had no idea that I had written the piece they worked so hard on, and seeing the smile on their faces was priceless.”

Second place went to Jordan Roberts, whose piece was titled “Seven Day Theory,” and inspired by the abstract nature of the work that was detailed with numbers and triangles. 

“These symbols, which are also chord symbols in music, were present throughout the music,” Roberts said.

He said his favorite part of the event was sharing the concert with his wife and kids, as it was his newborn son’s first in-person concert. 

The third-place winner went to Natalie Feldpausch, who performed a piece inspired by the visual art titled, “Careful What You Wish For” by Andre Ray.

In addition to this performance, Feldpausch had an entry called, “Comfort Comes in Many Colors,” which was based on “Untitled Quilt D #7” by Julian Jamaal Jones. Her entry based on the backstory of the composer.

“My favorite part of the competition was performing with the ensemble,” Feldpausch said. “It was really fun to prepare the pieces, and the Director, Dr. Ryan, is wonderful to work with. I also liked playing my pieces without anyone in the ensemble knowing it was my work. It made rehearsals fun and exciting.”