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COLUMBUS, Miss.—Mississippi University for Women junior and piano performance major, Hannah Heaton, recently received first place in the 2020 Arnold Salop Memorial Competition.

“The recognition means a lot to me. I was shocked and overwhelmed to receive first place,” said Heaton. “With 2020 being a difficult year, the award and comments received were uplifting and boosted my confidence.”

For the competition, Heaton submitted her original composition, “For Serena” to the Southeastern Composers League. The submission was originally written for University of North Georgia violin professor Serena Scibelli and a fellow music partner. Scibelli and Heaton were first introduced to one another through the 2020 International Music by Women Festival held on The W’s campus. 

The original composition was written under the guidance of Dr. Valentin Bogdan, associate professor of music. 

“‘For Serena’ is a great composition because it represents the right combination of fresh musical ideas, sincerity in its compositional approach and idiomatic writing for the two instruments. It is effective because it takes in consideration not only the message it sends to an audience, but also it tailors its approach to showcasing the skill and musicianship of its two performers,” said Bogdan. 

“As a teacher, I am most proud of her musical growth and her progress. I think this also illustrates the progress that our music composition program has made since its inception a few years ago.”

The annual competition was hosted by the Southeastern Composers League. University students from across the region submitted original compositions to enter the contest. Heaton received a $400 first prize for winning the Arnold Salop Memorial Competition for Undergraduate Students. 

Founded in 1950, the Southeastern Composers League is an association of art music composers and scholars located throughout the Southeastern United States. It is one of the oldest organizations of its kind in America.The League is comprised of composers from Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

Feb. 11, 2021
Contact: Tyler Wheat
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