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Music of the Spheres

2021– MTNA National Finalists

Our student composers look forward to the annual MTNA Composition Competition, a time-honored and prestigious event. They work hard all summer to finish their pieces by the September deadline, then count the days until the winners are announced! 

The Southern Division winners were announced December 7th. We are proud to introduce to you, in ascending order by age, some of these talented winners and their music:

January 23, 2022 – News flash!  
The National MTNA winners were just announced, and Alex Moiseev won Third Place! 

Congratulations, Alex, on a well-deserved win. 

You can read about Alex and hear his winning piece below.

Raphael Mouawad, Composer and Pianist

From the very young age  of around five years old, Raphael gravitated towards the piano, picking out and experimenting with various tunes he had in his head. At seven years of age, Raphael started taking piano lessons. This is when he discovered his deep passion for music.
For four years, he continued to learn and improve as well as compose a few of his own compositions until one of his teachers introduced him to Julie Harris, a wonderful composition teacher.  Julie was able to improve Raphael’s lack of music theory training as well as help him understand how to compose.
Three years later, Raphael is now writing a string quintet which he will be presenting as an end of middle school project as well as entering it into upcoming competitions. He is looking forward to creating more compositions that will help him become a professional musician. 
Raphael’s three-movement piece for solo piano, entitled Piano Moods, won him a place as a National Finalist.  Enjoy listening to the recording and then read more about the piece.
Piano Moods demonstrates a strong understanding of classical functional tonal harmony, and an inherent talent for memorable melodic lines.  He is very inventive with his rhythms, using changing meters to keep the energy flowing. Piano Moods was the first place winner in North Carolina, and went on to win first place in the Southern Division.  Raphael is now a Junior National Finalist, which is quite an achievement! 

Alex Moiseev, Composer and Pianist

Alex Moiseev, Senior National Finalist in 2021 MTNA Composition Competition
Starting from solo piano and making his way to writing for full orchestra, Alexander C. Moiseev has explored the realm of music from a very young age. He was first introduced to the piano around the age of four by his grandmother and her colleagues, who were acclaimed music teachers/professionals. When Alex was around eleven, he first started to extend his reach from solo piano into composing by creating rather spontaneous  melodies. Through searching and several recommendations, he was able to get in contact with an amazing teacher/mentor, Julie Harris, who was able to help structure those spontaneous melodies into true compositions.
Years later and still studying composition with Julie, Alex is now getting his works recognized and performed by different local ensembles. In addition to that, he is also continuing his solo piano studies, just having performed Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue alongside the Triangle Youth Philharmonic (with whom he also performs season repertoire as a timpanist) in November 2021. Taking these next steps, Alex is really looking forward to continuing his career and becoming a well rounded and professional musician.
Here is Alex’s piece, Arctic Revelations, for flute and piano, that made him a National Finalist.  Enjoy listening to the recording and then read more about the piece.
Arctic Revelations uses a colorful harmonic language that extends tonality and explores musical and emotional possibilities of both instruments.  The acrobatic flute passages contrast well with the sonorous chords of the piano, and later with the more bombastic piano exclamations. This wonderful chamber duet won first place in both the North Carolina competition and in the Southern Division competition.  Alex is now one of the Senior National Finalists.
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