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Breaking News: Announcing the winners of the 2015 Creative Reactions Contest!

Apr 14, 2015 | By Princeton University Concerts,
Breaking News: Announcing the winners of the 2015 Creative Reactions Contest!,

In January 2015, Princeton University Concerts announced a new initiative, the Creative Reactions Contest - a writing contest designed to foster reflection on the impact of hearing classical music, as perceived by students on Princeton’s campus.  Over the course of 2 months, 130 students attended 5 different concerts and were asked to capture the experience of hearing live classical music. The form was flexible allowing for blank verse, prose, poetry, narrative, even lyrics.  We are pleased to announce, from a full field of entries, there were 5 winners.

The winning reactions reflect a wide range of writing, from a piece of poetry that reflects on the use of space and time in music to a truly original short story about a boy who lives in a swamp in Florida and can stop time. Marna Seltzer, Director of Princeton University Concerts, says “The entries were all impressive.  I am astounded by the range of talent at Princeton. Most importantly, though, the pieces make clear that the music we present can and does have a profound effect on students.  None of the winners had ever been to one of our concerts and, in most cases, had very little experience with classical music.  I hope that these results will show others that you need not have any prior knowledge about classical music to attend a concert.”

The entries were read anonymously in three rounds by 11 judges:

ANNOUNCING THE WINNERS (please click on the title to read the winning piece of writing):

First Prize, $1000
Susannah Sharpless, ’15 "Space and Time," inspired by violinist Stefan Jackiw and pianist Anna Polonsky

Second Prize $500
Trevor Klee ’15, “Untitled,” inspired by pianist Marc-André Hamelin
Lucas Mazzotti ’17, “Untitled,” inspired by the Brentano String Quartet and Joyce DiDonato

Honorable Mention, $100
Benjamin Goodman ‘17, “Piety,” inspired by pianist Marc-André Hamelin
Rachel Stone ‘17, “In B-flat,” inspired by Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time,” played by violinist Stefan Jackiw and Anna Polonsky

The Creative Reactions Contest is hosted by the Student Ambassadors of PUC, a small group of classical music-loving students whose mission is to increase student interest and participation in Princeton University Concerts programs.  The contest is funded by PUC.  Each year PUC presents a professional concert series featuring renowned classical musicians from all over the world. The Creative Reactions Contest seeks to further PUC’s mission by connecting students to the arts and celebrating classical music’s unique contributions.  The first Creative Reactions Contest is dedicated to the memory of Vera Sharpe Kohn, a loyal member of the Princeton University Concerts Committee whose support and enthusiasm contributed to the health and well being of Princeton University Concerts.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

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