Bits ‘n’ Pieces: Young composers hear future

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Twenty-one young composers will have their work played by professional musicians at the 14th annual Hearing the Future concert. The event is part of Fear No Music’s Young Composers Project, and four Clark County youths are among those whose pieces will be showcased.

Ian Guthrie, Alyosha Weyman and Reese Pathak are veterans of the Young Composers Project, while Drew Swatosh is participating for the first time. The concert will take place May 1 at Portland State University. For more information, go to http://www.fearnomusic.org.

This is 18-year-old Guthrie’s fifth and final year participating. For this year’s concert, Washougal resident and Portland Community College sophomore Guthrie composed “Elegy,” a piece for clarinet, violin, double bass, piano and percussion.

“Elegy” was inspired by music from the film industry, Guthrie said. It’s relatively short, simple and dramatic, but still harmonically sophisticated.

Because last year was Weyman’s first Young Composers Project experience, he played it a bit safe with his composition. This year, the 16-year-old Hockinson High School junior took some risks with “Requiem for Life,” a piece for clarinet, piano, percussion and double bass.

Weyman employed various time signatures, dynamics and tempi, which makes the composition “more interesting to listen to,” the Hockinson resident said.

He looks forward once again to hearing his music played by live musicians, since they infuse it with emotion.

“When you write the music on your computer or whatever you use, it sounds a lot different,” he said. When musicians play it, there’s “the personal touch.”

This is Skyridge Middle School eighth-grader Pathak’s fourth year participating in the Young Composers Project, and he’s taken a different approach.

Last year, Pathak, 13, composed a whimsical suite in three movements. This year, he composed a more serious piece for percussion, piano, violin, double bass and clarinet titled “Imagery.”

“This piece is definitely very different from last year,” the Camas teen said. “It’s more dramatic, and it depicts more.”

Pathak is excited to hear his own piece played at the Hearing the Future concert, but he’s also excited to see what his fellow young composers have been working on.

“I’m looking forward to hearing what they wrote,” he said.

Though this will be Swatosh’s first time hearing his music played by professionals, the 17-year-old Vancouver School of Arts and Academics senior has had a composition performed before. In June, his school choir sang a piece he wrote called “In Flanders Field.”

For the Young Composers Project, the Vancouver resident put together a piece for piano, violin and double bass titled “La Connaissance de l’Esprit Féminin,” or “The Cognition of the Feminine Mind.”

“In an abstract way, it’s a male’s take on how women process things differently than a guy would,” he said.

Today’s Bits ’n’ Pieces was written by Mary Ann Albright. The column appears Mondays and Fridays. If you have a story you’d like to share, call Courtney Sherwood 360-735-4561, or e-mail features@columbian.com.