Winner of Cantus Young & Emerging

Composer Competition

I was named the winner of the 2019 Cantus Young & Emerging Composer Competition! The 8-member men's vocal ensemble originated at St. Olaf College, where I currently attend, and is regarded as “the premier men’s vocal ensemble in the United States” (Fanfare). They will perform my piece Discoveries at St. Olaf and around the U.S. this coming year. Click here to view the announcement, and here to view the article written about me by National Cathedral School!

Discoveries is a recent composition inspired by the all-girls high school I attended, National Cathedral School. From fourth grade through senior year, this school encouraged my classmates and me to have the confidence to pursue careers largely dominated by men. Many important people in my life, including myself, are doing so. For example, my sister recently began her undergraduate degree at Georgia Tech as a neuroscience major, and my partner Elmira is pursuing architecture. While my field is not part of the sciences, I face similar experiences being surrounded by mostly men. I therefore wanted to write a piece that highlighted female scientists from the 18th and 19th centuries, when being a woman in science was obviously even harder than it is today. My aim is to both inform listeners of these scientists’ impressive accomplishments and inspire young girls to feel comfortable and confident pursuing any career they desire.

Cantus is currently performing Discoveries as part of their concert series, "One Giant Leap."

"One Giant Leap, with performances across the United States and in five Twin Cities venues, celebrates the allure of upward exploration, the triumph of the human spirit and the pursuit of excellence through innovation and technology – including the awe-inspiring first steps on the moon. From seeing heroes represented in the constellations in Edvard Grieg’s Ave Maris Stella, to David Bowie’s Space Oddity, One Giant Leap reflects on how the moon, stars and night sky’s tapestry are responsible for some of humankind’s oldest mysteries and greatest accomplishments." -Cantus

© 2019 by Elmira Sperling.