Composition contest to celebrate GVSU ArtPrize installation

River Tattoo by Jim Cogswell. Photo by Katie Pershon
River Tattoo by Jim Cogswell. Photo by Katie Pershon

Grand Valley music composition students will hear their adventurous, one-minute compositions inspired by the 2014 ArtPrize installation “River Tattoo” performed during a March 12 competition.

The compositions, submitted anonymously, will be performed by the New Music Ensemble in rapid succession and judged by a guest panel and the listening audience for various prizes.

“I think it’s always interesting to see how people react to visual art,” said William Ryan, New Music Ensemble director. “For this event, the audience will get to hear how the composers respond to a piece of art, and it may or may not correspond to what they see. The 30 one-minute compositions are very diverse, which I find fascinating because they all originated from the same piece of art. That illustrates how much depth is in the art, and what a personal experience interpreting art can be.”

New Music Ensemble Composition Competition
Thursday, March 12 from 7-9 p.m.
Eberhard Center, room 101, Pew Grand Rapids Campus

Featured guests include artist and creator of “River Tattoo” Jim Cogswell, who will give opening remarks, and composer Paul Steinberg, who composed a new work to be premiered during the competition.

Crafted by Cogswell, University of Michigan Stamps School of Art and Design professor, River Tattoo is an 85-foot piece celebrating the Grand River and the Blue Bridge crossing over it. It was created from thousands of pieces of adhesive vinyl applied directly to the glass to form a mosaic of colored fragments based on handmade drawings and photographs. The mural will remain installed on the windows of the Eberhard Center for a minimum of three years.

For more information about this event, contact the Grand Valley Art Gallery at (616) 331-2563, or the Music Department at (616) 331-3484.

For more information about the New Music Ensemble, visit


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