51 composers from 6 countries participated in the Composer Quest Olympic Games, a series of six Olympics-themed composing challenges: National Anthems, Table Tennis, Weightlifting, Hurdles, Relay Race, and Composer’s Choice. You can hear all the resulting compositions below.
If you’re in Minnesota, join us at the American Composers Forum on Monday to find out who won the gold, silver, and bronze medals, and stick around to hang out with some of the composers who participated.
Monday, Nov. 21
American Composers Forum
75 W 5th St, St Paul, MN 55102
We’ll also be streaming the ceremony at composerquest.com.
Thanks to the American Composers Forum for co-hosting this challenge, and a big thanks to composer Michael Maiorana for helping organize the Olympics while I was away on tour.
Event 1: National Anthems
“Make a creative arrangement of one of your favorite national anthems for any instrumentation (acoustic or electronic), and record it to share with the group.”
Event 2: Table Tennis
“You’ll be randomly paired with another composer, and you’ll collaborate on a short composition in any style, for any instrumentation. The only requirement is that you and your partner must alternate contributing notes/beats one at a time, ping pong-style. You can try sending a notation file back and forth, or send recordings, or just email note names and lengths. When you’re done, provide a recording to share with the group.”
Event 3: Weightlifting
“Write a 30-second or less tuba solo, which will be recorded by friend of the podcast Eric Ebeling.”
Event 4: Hurdles
“Charlie will provide a lead sheet for you to compose over. Each measure will have one chord (the hurdle), and you decide how to compose around it, in any style. Provide a recording to share with the group.”
Event 5: Relay Race
“Charlie will randomly assign you to a team of 4-5 composers, and you’ll collaborate on a composition by passing it from one person to the next. You decide as a team who will go first, and each person will contribute 20 – 30 seconds of music until you have a roughly 2-minute collage composition. You can also decide as a team if you want to notate it and have someone record it as a whole, or you can send recorded chunks to each other.”
Event 6: Composer’s Choice
“Maybe you can’t compete in a REAL Olympic event, but you an at least compose something in honor of one. You’ll pick an event and decide what style or form captures its essence. For example, if you picked javelin throw, you might compose a long continuous arc in your melody. Or maybe you want to capture the improvisation of a boxing match with competing jazz solos. Or maybe you just want to write a song about a bobsled team. Provide a recording to share with the group, plus a short written description of the event you chose and how you represented it in your composition.”
For more context on these Composer’s Choice submissions, check out their program notes.