Riona Ryan, a 17-year-old junior at the Perpich Center for Arts Education, has been named winner of Zeitgeist’s 19th annual Eric Stokes Song Contest in the youth category. Ryan lives in Mankato and plays flute in the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony's premier auditioned ensemble.
Ryan’s winning composition, Jackal Dance, is her first completed piece. “In the end, the personality that came out of the piece felt mischievous and scrappy, reminding me a lot of jackals,” she explained.
Ryan’s winning composition, Jackal Dance, is her first completed pieceand was written for a composition class taught by Janika Vandervelde in preparation for Zeitgeist’s residency at the Perpich Center for Arts Education. Riona explains:
“Through this piece, I learned how to write for the ensemble's instrumentation, and even got to attend a reading session with Zeitgeist, which was an amazing opportunity. The piece was built almost entirely off of one measure of inspiration I found while noodling on a piano - in the end, the personality that came out of the piece felt mischievous and scrappy, reminding me a lot of jackals. The quick switch between soft vibraphone rolls and more ominous piano felt like the attack and retreat of the animals hunting.”
“Riona’s evocative piece will be perfect for the intimate environment of Studio Z during the Playing it Close to Homeconcerts,” said Heather Barringer, artistic co- director and percussionist for Zeitgeist. “We are thrilled to add her to our illustrious list of Eric Stokes contest winners.”
The Eric Stokes Song Contest is sponsored by new music group Zeitgeist in memory of late composer Eric Stokes; the contest was designed to encourage and celebrate amateur composers throughout the Twin Cities. The winning composers have the opportunity to participate in Zeitgeist’s annual Playing it Close to Home concerts in February; in addition, they receive a $100 prize and a one-year membership to the American Composers Forum.
Playing it Close to Home
Feb. 21-22, 7:30 p.m.
Studio Z: 275 E. 4th St., Suite 200, St. Paul
Feb. 23, 2 p.m.
Roseville High School: 1240 County Road B-2 West, Roseville
With winning songs from our Eric Stokes Song Contest plus music by local composers Nathan Hanson and Viv Corringham, Zeitgeist’s annual Playing it Close to Home concert celebrates the wealth of musical creativity found right here in our own backyard.
Playing it Close to Home and Zeitgeist's Eric Stokes Song Contest is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.