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REF NO.: 91

SUBJECT: Music graduate's composition wins award

DATE: Dec. 22

{Clay Puddister}
(L-R) Dr. Tom Gordon, director, School of Music, Memorial University; Emanuele Sala, Centre for Newfoundland and Labrador Studies, Waterford Institute of Technology; Clay Puddister; Colin Maddock, Ireland Business Partnership.
(Click for larger version)
Clay Puddister, a Memorial music graduate, received recognition for his work in solo piano, Abstraction No. 1, at a ceremony held Wednesday, Dec. 17, in Memorial's M.O. Morgan Building, School of Music. Mr. Puddister was selected as winner in the piano category of the Waterford Institute of Technology/Memorial University of Newfoundland Partnership Music Composition Competition.

This was the first year for the competition, an initiative which originated in Waterford, Ireland, as way of both celebrating and forging the cultural links between Waterford and Newfoundland. Waterford was once the port of departure for a large number of Irish boats bound for Newfoundland in the 18th and 19th centuries. The competition was intended to celebrate the twinning of the city of Waterford and the city of St. John's.

A fourth-year composition major at Memorial's School of Music when he entered the competition, Mr. Puddister wrote his prize-winning submission while taking the advanced composition course with Dr. Clark Ross, an associate professor of composition at Memorial, and an active composer himself. "He was one of the hardest-working students I've ever had and remarkably pleasant to work with," Dr. Ross said. "I expect Clay to carry on to even greater successes as a composer, as long as he wishes to stick with it."

Applicants to the competition were limited to students and graduates of the Waterford Institute of Technology or Memorial University. The applicants were short-listed by both Dr. Ross and well-established Irish composer and head of music at the Waterford Institute, Eric Sweeney. The adjudicator was John Kinsella, ex-director of music at RTE, the Irish National Broadcasting Agency. There were three categories for awards: Chamber Orchestra, Song/Ensemble and Piano.

Referring to Mr. Puddister's winning submission in the piano category, Mr. Sweeney commented, "The composer's individual style of writing is particularly suited to solo piano and he exploits this to good effect in Abstraction No. 1. There are exciting pianistic passages and a wide range of interesting ideas in this well-shaped piece."

Mr. Puddister has also written several other pieces which have been recognized on a high-profile scale, such as a work written for chamber orchestra that was premiered in spring 2003 by the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra.

Mr. Puddister is currently working on his master's in composition at University of Toronto on full scholarship, a feat which Dr. Ross says is a remarkable achievement and a testament to both his talent and work ethic.

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