Composer Carmyn Slater

Young composer wins for original work

Thirteen-year-old Carmyn Slater composes Klezmer piece

A young music composer won top place in the intermediate division for the B.C. Registered Music Teachers Composing Competition.

Sooke resident, Carmyn Slater, 13, composed a Jewish Klezmer ensemble called  Echoes From Montreal to earn first place for an original work for a solo instrument or any combination of instruments.

The work was a product of her Victoria Symphony New Exploration Workshops, where she works with professional musicians who helped develop and polish the composition.

According to Slater, the song, written for violins, clarinets, trombones, vibraphones, and percussion instruments, was crafted to emulate Klezmere music resonating through the streets of Montreal in the early 1900s.

“It’s like the music is echoing throughout Montreal around that time,” she said.

Along with going home with a provincial award, Slater also got honourable mention at the national competition with the Canadian Federation of Music Teacher’s Associations.

Slater, who has playing the piano and composing music since the age of four, said the task usually takes about two months, and usually without too much difficulty.

“I like doing it, so it comes pretty easily to me,” she said, adding the accomplishment, which is one of many, is welcomed.

“I’m at the bottom of my age category, so it feels pretty good that they’re recognizing my work.”

According to her mother, Caralyn Cole, Slater showed a natural inclination for music at a young age.

“She showed an aptitude for it. I noticed she was already picking out little tunes when she was four and she could play things by ear right from the beginning.”

In order to nurture her daughter’s talent, Cole did some research and found music teacher Pamela Smirl of PJ Music Studios, under whom Slater still studies to this day.

She is currently in Grade 9 piano, and also plays the flute in the Journey middle school band.

But her creative talents are not just restricted to music, as Slater also enjoys art and creative writing.

“Music and writing are her two creative outlets,” Cole said.

Slater is currently working on her first novel.

Other music writing awards at the national level include second place for Not Another Sonatina in 2011, first place for Scene from a Magic Carpet in 2010, second place for Rushin’ Horses in 2009 and first place for Ballet Reverence in 2008.