Talented CSUN Music Student Wins Choral Composition Contest
(NORTHRIDGE, Calif., Dec. 8, 2005) -- Kentaro Sato, a Cal State Northridge graduate student in music, has won the 26th Annual Choral Composition Contest from Ithaca College in New York.
His piece, "How Do I Love You," was chosen first place out of 100 entries and had its world premiere performed by the West Genessee High School Chorale last month. The Ithaca College choral composition contest and festival was founded in 1979 to encourage the creation and performance of new choral music.
This award adds to an impressive collection of achievements for the young composer.
"It's always nice for a composer to know that people want my piece to be performed and that they find a certain beauty in my pieces," Sato said about the recent acclaim his compositions have been receiving.
Sato recently was honored with the American Choral Directors Association's Raymond Brock Choral Competition Award, for his piece "Kyrie," which premiered in February, and the California State University (CSU) Outstanding Award in Music.
Sato comes from a deep musical family. Sato's older sister plays the piano, and both of his parents are talented singers. Growing up in Hamamatsu, Japan, he started his musical endeavor playing the organ at age five. He started to take his musical training seriously at the age of fifteen.
"In my family, we sang a lot together when I was growing up," Sato said. "I enjoyed reading new songs, and singing in harmony."
Before coming to CSUN, he had pondered attending other programs at UCLA, the Berkeley College of Music, and Boston College. He said the affordable education at CSUN, its strong music program, and his relationship with Elizabeth Sellers, an assistant professor in CSUN's Department of Music, helped shape his decision.
"We had met at the CSU (California State University) summer arts program. We became good friends that shared the same musical type, and dreams. I knew I wanted to study with her," Sato said.
"Kentaro is a very optimistic composer," Sellers said. "The music he writes is based on his love of humanity and beauty and that shows through. His style uses elements of jazz harmony. He uses some of the lush voicings of the 1940's and 50's in his work, but updated with touches of John Williams."
Sato's pieces have been used by such groups as the Moravian Philharmonic in the Czech Republic and the Philharmonia Orchestra of London.
He is also interested in film and holds a cinema degree from Santa Monica College as well as a bachelor's of music in composition from CSUN. He is now in the midst of starting graduate studies in musical conducting at Cal State Northridge.
"Kentaro's talent will allow him to pursue any number of choices as an arranger or composer. His sound is unique and he already has a following. I fully expect to see him on a college campus some day as well," said Sellers.
California State University, Northridge has 32,000 full- and part-time students and offers 63 bachelor's and 48 master's degrees as well as 28 education credential programs. Founded in 1958, it is among the largest single-campus universities in the nation and the only four-year public university in the San Fernando Valley. The university serves as the intellectual, economic and cultural heart of the Valley and beyond.