CSO Sponsors Young People’s Melody Contest


The CSO’s annual Melody Contest for local elementary schools enhances the Orchestra’s commitment to commissioning and premiering new music by giving some of Cincinnati’s youngest composers a chance to shine. The Orchestra invited students from around the Cincinnati area to submit melodies of their own invention.

One of these submissions was selected to be the foundation of a brand new work for orchestra called First Light. The winner of this season’s Melody Contest is Lauren Brunswick, a fifth-grader at Nativity School in Pleasant Ridge. Lauren composed a melody titled “March of the Bumblebees,” which was inspired by the sound of bees buzzing through flowers. “I credit my piano teacher, Rachel Kramer, for showing me how much fun music can be,” said Lauren, who enjoys writing music and playing it on the piano. “I am also thankful that my school music teacher, Mr. Beiting, told me about the competition and encouraged me to enter.” A second melody, composed by Casey Fulton of Holy Family School in Covington, also appears in the new composition. Composer Michael Lanci, a graduate student at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, transformed these melodies into a three-minute work for full symphony orchestra.

“Both the melodies are very charming, lyrical and easy to remember and recognize, which are exactly the type of musical traits necessary for this type of collaboration,” said Mr. Lanci. First Light premiered at the CSO’s Young People’s Concert on January 19, conducted by Associate Conductor Keitaro Harada.

Mr. Lanci paid a visit to Lauren and her classmates in November. “One of my favorite parts of my visit was when the students and I conducted along with the orchestra score and students raised their hands or sang along when they heard Lauren’s melody while we listened to a computer-generated recording of the piece,” he said.

-Meghan Berneking