Dutcher Snedeker

Pianist, Sound Engineer, Booking Agent

GVSU Student Composer Competition 2015

It's that time of year again! Ever year during winter semester, GVSU professor, resident composer, and the New Music Ensemble director Dr. Bill Ryan organizes a brilliant competition to involve a variety of students and faculty. The competition requires that all current members of the composition studio write short works for the GVSU New Music Ensemble that are inspired by whatever is currently displayed in the art gallery within the Performing Arts Center (not to be confused with the Calder Art Gallery).

The competition rules involve a few key elements:

- First, all submissions, while worked on privately with Dr. Ryan during lessons, are submitted anonymously, must be written for the instrumentation of the current New Music Ensemble (piano, cello, violin, percussion, oboe, tenor saxophone, clarinet, and flute),  and must be no more or less than 60 seconds

- Since the New Music Ensemble utilizes iPads to read scores, all documents are read and learned anonymously from parts distributed in one large PDF to each player, so nobody has any idea who wrote them aside from educated guesses

- During the day of the competition's live performance, each audience member gets a program listing all of the works and marks their favorites

- In addition to a prize for "Audience Favorite," a mixed panel of judges is chosen to pick their favorites and the winning Top 3

Last year, I had the opportunity to both compose for the New Music Ensemble and perform all of the student works with the ensemble! It was fun to secretly work out all of my pieces with the ensemble, but it was often hard avoiding moments of trying to directly coach the ensemble, as it would give away what pieces were my submissions.

This year, the same competition will be held and based instead on the piece "River Tattoo," an 8' x 85" adhesive vinyl on glass display created by artist Jim Cogswell. The piece is located in the Eberhard Center, a building part of GVSU's Pew Campus in downtown Grand Rapids.


While I won't be submitting any works myself, I look forward to performing a collection of student works with the GVSU New Music Ensemble!

You can catch the ensemble's performance March 12th at the Eberhard Center from 7:00 pm - 9 pm.

You can also catch my submissions for last year, one of which almost took audience favorite, with full descriptions at this link:


Come to the show! https://www.facebook.com/events/1428900004067658/

*Photo credit to the event planners

©2015 Dutcher Snedeker. All rights reserved.