Composition Undergrad Wins National Grant

Christian Kolo’s work recognized for young and emerging wind band composers.

Christian Kolo at an orchestra rehearsal poses with another piece he wrote, “Postcards From Paris,” 2016.

Composition undergraduate Christian Kolo from the MSU College of Music was awarded the grand prize for his original composition The River Runs Silver in the 2016 James E. Croft Grant for Young and Emerging Wind Band Composers.

Established in 2005 by the band directors of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the nation-wide competition and grant seeks to stimulate interest in composition for the wind band by new and deserving talent. Kolo’s prize consists of a $5,000 cash award and performances by at least a dozen college or university bands representing the members of the ACC.

Kolo regards the award as his highest achievement to date while attending MSU, and says his professors made it all possible through their ongoing support, guidance and opportunities to have this piece and others read and performed by the MSU Orchestra and MSU Wind Symphony. He was particularly thrilled by the news since he had been working on The River Runs Silver for nearly a year.

“Without the support from my two fantastic professors—Dr. Ricardo Lorenz and Dr. Zhou Tian—this piece would not be as brilliant as it is now,” says Kolo.  “The wonderful opportunities they have given me have helped shape my compositional skills in order to compete, and ultimately win a large scale competition like this one.”

Associate Professor of Composition Zhou Tian affirms that the award is a testament of Kolo’s talent and hard work, and can serve as a spark that inspires future works.

“Composing, like writing, can be a long and lonely process. These kinds of recognition encourage composers to trust their heart and to be more daring and more creative in their music making,” says Zhou. “Christian is a very talented young man whose wonderful musicality and energy shine through his music. I believe he will have an impressive career ahead of him.”

Kolo studied his first two years at MSU with Lorenz and began studying with Zhou in the fall of 2016. Kolo has won the Dallas Winds Fanfare Contest two years in a row, and was one of three students who won this year’s Large Ensemble Composition Competition at MSU.

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