Gorge Sinfonietta awards composer

August 13, 2011

Oregon is known for its bountiful crops, but beyond the luscious pears, apples, cherries and delectable wines, the state also boasts a wide variety of artistic fruits, as well.

The Columbia Gorge Orchestra Association, a long-established nonprofit organization supporting classical music performance in the Gorge, has just added to the local musical harvest.

On Aug. 8, CGOA announced that Eugene-area composer Seth Stewart has been awarded the first-ever CGOA Composition Prize for his orchestra work, "Quest for Avalon."

In addition to receiving an honorarium, the CGOA Sinfonietta will present the world premiere of Stewart's work this fall as part of the competition award.

Established to encourage young Oregon composers and introduce local audiences to fresh, new voices, CGOA created the composition competition this past spring and sought out new works to be considered for performance.

According to Sinfonietta conductor and director Mark Steighner, Stewart's piece was selected from a field of "nine outstanding, interesting" submissions.

"All of the submissions were good," Steighner said, "but Seth's piece fit most closely the instrumentation and abilities of the Sinfonietta, as well as having audience appeal."

The first concerts of the Sinfonietta's 2011-12 season will be entitled "Made in Oregon," to be performed Oct. 21 and 23 at the Hood River Middle School auditorium.

Along with Stewart's prize-winning piece, the October concert selections will include music by local composer and pianist Sydney Stevens, PSU composer Tomas Svoboda and Ernst Bloch, famed classical composer who lived his later years in Agate Beach, Ore.

Stewart is a graduate composition student at the University of Oregon and the director of the Eugene Contemporary Chamber Ensemble. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Utah.

"As student of medieval literature and longtime Arthurian enthusiast, I chose the theme of Avalon in this orchestral work to represent a quest; an inner journey of the individual," said Stewart. Avalon is the mythical Celtic island where the fabled King Arthur went to die.

The CGOA prize is not the first for Stewart, who is also a recipient of a Barlow Endowment commission and winner of the Portland Vocal Consort's Best of the Northwest Young Composers competition.

Stewart's music has been performed widely by such acclaimed ensembles as the Portland Vocal Consort, Convergence Vocal Ensemble in Austin and the Canyonlands New Music Ensemble of Salt Lake City.

Steighner anticipates that the CGOA Composition Prize competition will continue as an annual event, offering further opportunities for up-and-coming composers.

To listen to Seth Stewart's music, samples are available on his website at www.SethStewartMusic


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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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