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Secret Ingredient Suggestions

Iron Composer OmahaThis year’s Iron Composer Omaha competition is open nationally to people between the ages of 18-26. First prize is $500 and loads of bragging rights.

Because we were focusing ARTSaha! 2007 on Futurism, we settled on the main motif of The Jetsons theme song as the secret ingredient. The five finalists had five hours to write a piece for woodwind quintet based on that four-note cell.

The secret ingredient could be anything from a narrative outline, to a poem, a chord sequence, or even a found object.

Our chairman last year was Hal France, longtime conductor of Opera Omaha. If you were the chairman of this year’s competition, what secret ingredient would you choose?


Comment from Tiven
Time: March 21, 2008, 1:59 am

I am so glad to hear of the existence of Iron Composer. I just finished watching an episode of Iron Chef and have long thought some sort of reality show for composers should exist. For the secret ingredient I’d go with one that could be used in both shows: beer! Give the drink to the chefs and the bottles to the composers. Most musicians I know have quite a bit of experience making music on beer bottles so it would be fun to hear a group of such pieces.

Comment from Daniel Wolf
Time: March 21, 2008, 10:23 am

More than a bit a praise is due the organizers of this competition: they have really gone out of their way on matters of fairness and ethics. They are upfront about the prize money, make a very reasonable effort to cover travel expenses, and ask for no entry fees. The judging system is described in detail. Whatever the secret ingredient may be (portamenti in contrary motion, anyone?), compliments to the chefs-des-concours!

Comment from Robert Bonotto
Time: March 21, 2008, 12:03 pm

My secret ingredient would be to argue for a competition for composers from 50 to 65. (I’m 45.) -rb

Comment from James Combs
Time: March 21, 2008, 1:53 pm

A great “secret ingredient” would be variations on the tune “Chim Chim Cher-ee” from “Mary Poppins.” Just a little shout out to Richard Sherman, a wonderful composer.

Comment from Mell Csicsila
Time: March 21, 2008, 3:44 pm


Comment from Steve Layton
Time: March 21, 2008, 4:28 pm

That the pieces have a prominent solo passage for a randomly chosen member of the audience, who has no formal music training.

Comment from Sparky P.
Time: March 21, 2008, 4:32 pm

Tonight’s secret ingredient: 4’33″! Allez cuisine!

Comment from Christian
Time: March 22, 2008, 12:40 am

I’ve got a fever, and the only thing that will cure it is … more cowbell!

Comment from Jeffrey Quick
Time: March 24, 2008, 12:37 pm