Music Educators Association of New Jersey

Serving teachers and students since 1927

April 2021



April 25th, 2021, Screen Shot from the Zoom Original Composition Concert


Twenty-three students representing 11 teachers entered the ESOCC this year. The Senior Division represented ages 15-18 (9 entrants), the Junior Division represented ages 11-14 (8 entrants), and the Elementary Division represented ages 10 and under (6 entrants). We utilized two judges again this year: Dr. Stefan Young for the Senior Division, and Amir Mortezai for the Elementary and Junior Divisions. The judge receives only the age and title of the composition, which eliminates any bias. The judges wrote a detailed evaluation that provided thoughtful comments and suggestions for each student composer. The teachers eagerly anticipate receiving these evaluations, which serve as a valuable educational tool. This year there were original compositions for piano solo, piano four hands, and piano with ensemble.

The first, second, and third place winners in each division received trophies this year. Previously, only first place winners were given trophies. All students received a student composer certificate. The judges also recognized a few compositions with a descriptive honor: Most Dramatic, Most Cinematic, along with an Honorable Mention. Dr. Stefan Young along with Amir Mortezai were dedicated to providing positive encouragement for these young composers.

Senior Division:

First Place Winner: Metamorphosis by Kailyn Williams, student of Danette Whelan

Second Place Winner: Elegy by Lukas Kebuladze, student of Eric Olsen

Third Place Winners:
A Day of Max for piano 4 hands by Yutong Lin, student of Kay Tsuji

The Dormouse Waltz for piano/chamber ensemble by Ryan Arrazcaeta, student of Joan Bujacich

A la Derive by Charles Love, student of Nancy Modell

Honorable Mention: Desert Stars by Joseph Uglialoro, student of Nancy Modell

Junior Division:

First Place Winner: Jazz by Aviv Cohen, student of Marcia Maull

Second Place Winner: Moonlit River by Kaitlin Knipe, student of Nancy Modell

Third Place Winner: A Socially Distanced Waltz by Jayden Adams, student of Nancy Modell

Most Cinematic: Dreams of Aspen by Nathan Crisci, student of Nancy Modell

Elementary Division:

First Place Winner: Cherry Blossoms by Ellie She, student of Nancy Modell

Second Place Winner: Admiring Butterflies by Ella Zhang, student of Nancy Modell

Third Place Winner: Ninja by Emi Simonds, student of Sondra Tammam

Most Cinematic: Power Outage by Ira Sinha, student of Lisa Casia



The Original Composition Festival was held on April 25th, via the zoom platform, with 32 student composers altogether from the ESOCC and the Festival representing 12 teachers. Composition Chair Katherine Knittel greeted the composer-performers and viewers.

Judge, Amir Mortezai

Judge, Dr. Stefan Young

The program included compositions for piano solo, piano four hands, and piano with ensemble.

All student composers received a certificate. Dr. Stefan Young and Amir Mortezai, the judges of the ESOCC, were also able to attend and speak to the students. Committee memberJoan Bujacich acted as host on the upgraded zoom, and conducted sound checks prior to the start of the program to optimize the audio experience. All teachers were also sent audio tips/recital protocol, prior to the Festival to disseminate to their students. Committee member Lisa Gonzalez took screen shots of the composers. The program was a huge success and there were many positive comments from teachers, parents and the students themselves. This Festival offers a very unique opportunity for student composers to gather, be inspired, and network. Congratulations to all the student composers!



Writer: Katherine Knittel, Composition Chair
Layout: Joan Bujacich
Screen Shots: Lisa Gonzalez