2018 Competition Contest Winner
Charles Peck's piano quartet Sunburst is the winner of the 2018 Left Coast Composition Contest. Left Coast will perform the piece in the 2018-19 season. Charles currently teaches at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and is a doctoral candidate at Cornell University. Find out more about Charles at his website.
Peck describes his work as a two-movement work that explores the energy in sunlight. The first movement, titled Reflect, focuses on the frenetic, scattered motion of light waves. The music contains only a few short gestures, but it jumps to and between them at speed, as if it were following a ray of light over contrasting surfaces. Each gesture is imbued with that same, active motion, exemplified by the use of extreme ranges in the piano and tightly interlocked rhythms in the ensemble. Contrarily, the patient second movement, titled Absorb, acts as a solar-powered circuit. The music begins in the low register and breathes slowly while the circuit receives and stores energy. As the power accumulates, the electricity begins to hum, an effect that is personified by drones in the violin and viola. Finally, after flickering on and off, the movement climaxes with a powerful release of energy, followed by a steady, sequential descent in register as the circuit runs out of power.
Charles Peck is an American composer whose work has been called “daring” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “vivid” (UArts Edge magazine), and “spell-binding” (Rappahannock News). His music, spanning a range of chamber and large ensembles, has been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, the Albany Symphony, Alarm Will Sound, the Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, the New York Youth Symphony, the JACK Quartet, Sandbox Percussion, the Locrian Chamber Players, Derek Bermel, Ji Hye Jung, and Holly Roadfeldt. He has also been named a winner of the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, the Lake George Music Festival’s Composition Competition, the Boston New Music Initiative’s Commissioning Competition, the Salvatore Martirano Memorial Composition Award, the NFMC Emil and Ruth Beyer Composition Award, and the Symphony in C’s Young Composers’ Competition, among others. His music has been featured at a variety of venues and festivals, including Carnegie Hall, the Aspen Music Festival, the Mizzou International Composers Festival, the Civic Orchestra New Music Workshop, the Minnesota Orchestra’s Composer Institute, the Mise-En Music Festival, and the New Music Gathering. This coming summer, Peck’s recent orchestral work Vinyl will be performed at the ISCM World Music Days in Beijing and the Cabrillo Festival’s Composers Workshop in California. Peck currently teaches at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and is a doctoral candidate at Cornell University.
2018 Honorable Mentions
Image credit (strings): Vivian Sachs