Six Degree Singers is thrilled to announce the winning selection for its 2016 Young Composers Competition — ”Homage to Ourania”, a composition by Katherine Bodor.
"Newly-composed music is an important staple of our concert programming and our annual Young Composers Competition is a great way to showcase exciting young talent — plus we love helping to bring more choral music into the world," says Rachel Carlson, Artistic Director for the Six Degree Singers.
This year’s Young Composers Competition was built off Six Degree Singers’ upcoming concert series theme, ‘Nine Greek Muses.' Composers were encouraged to select one of the nine Greek muses as the inspiration for their submission. The aptly named ”Homage to Ourania” honors Ourania, who is regarded as the muse of astrology.
“I have always felt deeply stirred when looking up at the night sky,” Bodor told us. “There is something about realizing how small you are in comparison to the vast universe that spurs one to live a more purposeful life.”
Musically, ”Homage to Ourania” evokes reverence not only for the sky, but also the Greeks themselves. Inspired loosely by the Seiklos epitaph, the oldest surviving music composition, Bodor used modal themes to convey an element of Ancient Greece in her piece. While composers were permitted to use existing poetry or lyrics for their submissions, Bodor opted to use an original poem as the basis for her piece — a risk with pros and cons.
“The advantage to setting my own poem to music is that I could pick words and word orders that contain strings of textural consonants or vowels that would be enjoyable for a singer,” she said. “However, since I am so close to the text, I can't take it and say something new with its music … I would love to see how another composer would set my words and what new interpretations they would have.”
Bodor is currently a senior at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. She is seeking dual degrees in mechanical engineering and music, and as a result of such a strenuous course load, we suspect she’ll soon be seeking a few extra hours of sleep once she graduates this month.
The world premiere of ”Homage to Ourania” will take place during Six Degree Singers’ spring concert series, ‘Nine Greek Muses’, with performances scheduled on June 4 and 5, 2016. This year marks Six Degree Singers’ Fourth Annual Young Composers Competition, open to all composers ages 18-40.