Professor of Composition Paul Richards was recently honored as Columbia Summer Winds’ 2014 Outdoor Composition Contest winner. This biennial contest held by the New York City-based wind ensemble provides wind-band composers the opportunity to present their new, unpublished works to the public. The winner receives $1,000, and the winning piece is performed and recorded during Columbia Summer Winds’ 2015 Summer Season held in New York City public parks.
Richards submitted his piece titled “If You Could Only See The Frog,” which stems from a Bulgarian children’s song sung in the Spanish-Jewish dialect Ladino. Richards says he chose to submit this piece because of its ability to work well with outside venues.
“Unlike other wind ensemble works of mine, this work is not terribly complex or intricate, and the spirit of the piece should come through, even outside of the controlled conditions of a concert hall,” says Richards.
A New York City-native himself, Richards was attracted to the contest because of his early musical experiences in the city, particularly in Central Park. He hopes his work can have similar effects on children listening to the performance.
“Every chance to have my music presented to a public audience is important to me,” says Richards. “That's why I write."
"For nostalgic reasons, I'm hoping there's a child at one of these performances that goes home afterwards and tries to invent something of his or her own.”