Iron Composer

Friday, October 2, 2009

8:00 p.m.

Kulas Musical Arts Building, Berea, OH


Five composers from across the country came to the campus of Baldwin-Wallace College to compete in an instant composition contest. At 9:00 am, the composers were given a surprise instrumentation of two pianos, two trumpets and five tom-toms. They were also given a secret musical ingredient: Little Red Riding Hood.


The composers had just five hours to complete a piece of music, which was rehearsed and performed on a free public concert at 8:00 pm. A panel of three judges determined the winners: Sunny Knable (1st), Travis Jeffords (2nd), and Andrew Jamieson (3rd).


This concert was broadcast live on WCLV 104.9 FM and simulcasted on their website.



Devin Farney (CA), composer

Andrew Jamieson (IL), composer, Winner – 3rd Prize ($100)

Travis Jeffords (IN), composer, Winner – 2nd Prize ($250)

Sunny Knable (NY), composer, Winner – 1st Prize ($500 & the title of Iron Composer)

John Rot (OH), composer


Jack Brndiar, trumpet & voice

Mary Dobrea-Grindahl, piano, voice & Judge

Joe Drew, trumpet & voice

Sungeun Kim, piano

Robert Mayerovitch, piano & voice

Josh Ryan, drums


Mark Satola, Emcee

Bill O’Connell, Judge

Keith Fitch, Judge



The Challenge At 9 a.m., the five finalists were given a compositional challenge to finish a piece of music by 2:30 p.m. They were assigned an instrumentation that consisted of 2 pianos, 2 trumpets and percussion. The percussionist had 4 low tom-toms and a horizontal bass drum. The were also assigned a secret musical ingredient, which was the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Given all the variations on Grimm’s fairy tale, each composer was given a copy of the following story:


Little Red Riding Hood By Jacob & Wilhelm Grimm


Once upon a time there was a sweet little girl. Everyone who saw her liked her, but most of all her grandmother, who did not know what to give the child next. Once she gave her a little riding hood made of red velvet. Because it suited her so well, and she wanted to wear it all the time, she came to be known as Little Red Riding Hood.


One day her mother said to her, “Come Little Red Riding Hood. Here is a piece of cake and a bottle of wine. Take them to your grandmother. She is sick and weak, and they will do her well. Mind your manners and give her my greetings. Behave yourself on the way, and do not leave the path, or you might fall down and break the glass, and then there will be nothing for your sick grandmother.”


Little Red Riding Hood promised to obey her mother. The grandmother lived out in the woods, a half mile from the village. When Little Red Riding Hood entered the woods a wolf came up to her. She did not know what a wicked animal he was, and was not afraid of him.


“Good day to you, Little Red Riding Hood.”


“Thank you, wolf.”


“Where are you going so early, Little Red Riding Hood?”


“To grandmother’s.”


“And what are you carrying under your apron?”


“Grandmother is sick and weak, and I am taking her some cake and wine. We baked yesterday, and they should give her strength.”


“Little Red Riding Hood, just where does your grandmother live?”


“Her house is a half mile from here in the woods, under the three large oak trees. There’s a hedge of hazel bushes there. You must know the place,” said Little Red Riding Hood.


The wolf thought to himself, “Now there is a tasty bite for me. Just how are you going to catch her?”


Then he said, “Listen, Little Red Riding Hood, haven’t you seen the beautiful flowers that are blossoming in the woods? Why don’t you go and take a look? And I don’t believe you can hear how beautifully the birds are singing. You are walking along as though you were on your way to school in the village. It is very beautiful in the woods.”


Little Red Riding Hood opened her eyes and saw the sunlight breaking through the trees and how the ground was covered with beautiful flowers. She thought, “If a take a bouquet to grandmother, she will be very pleased. Anyway, it is still early, and I’ll be home on time.” And she ran off into the woods looking for flowers. Each time she picked one she thought that she could see an even more beautiful one a little way off, and she ran after it, going further and further into the woods. But the wolf ran straight to the grandmother’s house and knocked on the door.


“Who is there?”


“Little Red Riding Hood. I’m bringing you some cake and wine. Open the door for me.”


“Just press the latch,” called out the grandmother. “I’m too weak to get up.”


The wolf pressed the latch, and the door opened. He stepped inside, went straight to the grandmother’s bed, and ate her up. Then he took her clothes, put them on, and put her hood on his head. He got into her bed and pulled the curtains shut.


All this time Little Red Riding Hood was still gathering flowers. At last she had as many as her hands could hold. So she made her way back to the path and walked fast until she came to her grandmother’s cottage. She, too, knocked at the door.


“Who is there?” asked the wolf, trying to speak like the grandmother. But his voice was so rough that Little Red Riding Hood was frightened at first.


Then she thought, “Poor grandmother must have a bad cold;” so she answered, “It is I, little Red Riding Hood. I bring you some cakes and butter and a jar of honey.”


“Pull the latch, and the door will fly open,” said the wolf.


Little Red Riding Hood pulled the latch and the door flew open. In she went. There in bed lay her grandmother, as she thought. The wolf had drawn the cover up so that she could only see his head. He had pulled the nightcap as far over his face as he could, but his great eyes were shining out.


Little Red Riding hood said, “Oh, grandmother, what great eyes you have!”


“The better to see you, my dear, the better to see you,” said the wolf.


“And, grandmother, what great ears you have!”


“The better to hear you, my dear, the better to hear you!”


“And what sharp teeth you have!”


“The better to eat you up!” said the wolf. With that, he jumped out of bed at poor Little Red Riding Hood, and ate her up. As soon as the wolf had finished this tasty bite, he climbed back into bed, fell asleep, and began to snore very loudly.


A huntsman was just passing by. He thought it strange that the old woman was snoring so loudly, so he decided to take a look. He stepped inside, and in the bed there lay the wolf that he had been hunting for such a long time. “He has eaten the grandmother, but perhaps she still can be saved. I won’t shoot him,” thought the huntsman. So he took a pair of scissors and cut open his belly.


He had cut only a few strokes when he saw the red hood shining through. He cut a little more, and the girl jumped out and cried, “Oh, I was so frightened! It was so dark inside the wolf’s body!”


And then the grandmother came out alive as well. Then Little Red Riding Hood fetched some large heavy stones. They filled the wolf’s body with them, and when he woke up and tried to run away, the stones were so heavy that he fell down dead.


The three of them were happy. The huntsman took the wolf’s pelt. The grandmother ate the cake and drank the wine that Little Red Riding Hood had brought. And Little Red Riding Hood thought to herself, “As long as I live, I will never leave the path and run off into the woods by myself if mother tells me not to.”