Two “Young” Composers highlight a weekend of music at the Avalon Theatre

Mention the name Wolfgang Amadeus to anyone on the street and nine times out of ten they will finish with… Mozart.

Arguably one of the most famous composers of all-time and a childhood prodigy at that, Mozart began composing music and performing publicly at the age of 5. The Grand Junction Symphony’s Mozart in March concerts on Saturday, March 7th and Sunday, March 8th will highlight some of his most famous works including Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Sinfonia Concertante for Winds and his famous¬†Prague Symphony (No. 38).

Now mention composer Gavin Hart and he probably won’t be as easily recognized unless you are his parents, piano teacher or friends at Wingate Elementary. Gavin is the winner of the Grand Junction Symphony’s 6th Annual Crystal Baton Composition Competition and his melody Ghosts and Goblins will have its world premiere at the concerts on March 7th and 8th. Hart, 10, a 4th grader, says he composed his melody last Fall around Halloween and thought it sounded like ghosts and goblins. He is the first young man to win the competition and the first elementary schooler. The Crystal Baton Competition asks elementary and middle school students to compose a melody completely on their own and submit it to Music Director Kirk Gustafson for consideration. The winning melody is then arranged for a full orchestra and performed. Gavin will be on stage during the premiere performance, awarded a handmade crystal baton and receive a bound copy of the conductor’s score.

The Saturday, March 7th performance begins at 7:30pm and the Sunday, March 8th performance begins at 4:00pm. Both performances will be held at the Avalon Theatre.

Eine Kleine Nachtmusik is a 1787 composition for a chamber ensemble. The German title means “a little serenade,” though it is often rendered more literally but less accurately as “a little night music.” The work is written for an ensemble of two violins, viola, and cello with optional double bass, but is often performed by string orchestras. The serenade was completed in Vienna on 10 August 1787,around the time Mozart was working on the second act of his opera Don Giovanni.

The Sinfonia Concertante for Four Winds in E flat major is a work for oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon, and orchestra. The Sinfonia Concertante is popular today, and regularly performed. It is well regarded by professional musicians. Four of the Grand Junction Symphony’s principal wind players will be featured including Dr. Mary Lindsey Bailey, oboe; Dr. Jun Watabe, clarinet; Diana Musselman, horn and Ken Heitt, bassoon. Musselman and Heitt have been with the Grand Junction Symphony Orchestra since its inception in 1978 and were featured soloists on the GJSO’s premiere of the Sinfonia Concertante nearly 20 years ago.

The Symphony No. 38 in D major, was composed in late 1786. It was premiered in Prague on January 19, 1787, during Mozart’s first visit to the city. Because it was first performed in Prague, it is popularly known as the Prague Symphony. In spite of the fact that the Symphony No. 38 was first performed in Prague, it is not certain that it was actually written for Prague. It is clear that Mozart was invited to Prague on the strength of the reception of his opera Le nozze di Figaro during the 1786-1787 winter season of the National Theater in Prague.

Mozart in March is sponsored by Ron Beckman and Kate Denning, respectively. The Crystal Baton Composition Competition is made possible with the continued support of the Grand Junction Symphony Guild.

All seating is reserved and tickets range from $20 to $40 for adults and only $5 for students. They can be purchased online at, by calling 970-243-6787 or visiting the Grand Junction Symphony office at 414 Main Street.

Make plans to join us for Mozart in March and hear not only the most famous young composer in the world but also the newest young composer in the Grand Valley.

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