News From Masters
A musical piece composed by sixth grader Roma McHugh was performed on January 6 at the Young People's Concert Overtures program sponsored by the New York Philharmonic orchestra.
Philharmonic musicians performed works by Roma and three other youngsters in the orchestra’s Very Young Composers program. Roma’s composition, "War and Sorrow,” was inspired by Beethoven and was written for cello, violin, clarinet, oboe and snare drum.
Roma gave a speech about both her composition and a painting she created, which was projected behind the musicians during the Overtures performance in David Geffen Hall. In her notes on the artwork, she says, “It’s an abstract piece of art that creates a feeling of war. I used watercolor and Cray-Pas [oil pastels]. First I painted green across the paper to make it like a battlefield. Then I added streaks of paint to create the abstract battle. The black represents the darkness of war. The rest of the colors help to create a chaotic scene.”
After participating in a fourth grade program at her elementary school – also called Very Young Composers – with a teaching artist from the Philharmonic, Roma was invited to study at the Philharmonic itself in grades 5 and 6, according to her mother, Jennifer Firestone. At the end of each term, Philharmonic musicians perform the young composers’ final pieces at a special gathering.
Roma has studied piano since kindergarten and has participated in several children's musical theater productions, Ms. Firestone says.