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Hendrix Music Professor Announces Composition Contest

CONWAY, Ark. (November 4, 2013) – Hendrix music professor Dr. Karen Griebling is leading a grassroots program to cultivate and promote high quality new music in Conway. 

The Conway Composers Guild (CCG), in which Griebling serves as president, formed in 2010 in response to the Conway 2025 Initiative for long-range planning in the city of Conway.

Since its founding, CCG has developed an internet presence through social media to promote new music by its members and significant events that include new music making in and around the city, and offered an annual concert devoted to the latest new music by CCG member composers at First Methodist Church in Conway in early February. 

“Since the beginning, we had envisioned developing an educational outreach program as one of our goals but kept stumbling up against a variety of obstacles,” Griebling said.

The opportunity finally came thanks to a collaborative initiative with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, she said.

This year, CCG will hold the inaugural Dr. W. Francis McBeth Memorial Composition Contest. The competition honors the memory of the Arkansas' most significant composer, William Francis McBeth (March 9, 1933 - January 6, 2012).

McBeth was appointed Composer Laureate by the governor, the first composer in the nation so appointed. A celebrated composer with an international reputation, he served as professor of music at Ouachita Baptist University and as conductor of the Arkansas Symphony during its formative years. 

The project will continue McBeth's legacy as composer and educator by encouraging and supporting young composers from the state which became McBeth's home for more than half a century, Griebling said. 

“The collaboration is, in fact, one of the things that make this program unique among composition contests,” she explained. “Unlike most competitions that simply end with a prize, ours cultivates the young composer and encourages further growth. Not only does the competition specifically target young composers with a connection to Arkansas as residents, natives and students, but the prize includes being mentored by professional musicians, including performers, composers and conductors to create a commissioned piece.”

To assure that the competition winner has the resources to produce the commission with high quality engraved score and parts, MakeMusic has generously contributed its Finale music notation software as a tangible award. Learning to use this software will be a part of the education process for the winner as well. 

The competition brings together many things Dr. McBeth cared about including encouraging young composers, music education, and the symphony, Griebling said. 

Judges have been drawn from among the most respected professional composers from around the country. Entries should be postmarked by Dec. 6, 2013.

For more information including membership inquiries and contest entry forms, contact and "Like" The Conway Composers Guild on Facebook.

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the sixth consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of the country’s “Up and Coming” liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report.  Hendrix is featured in the latest edition of Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges, as well as the 2014 Princeton Review’s The Best 378 Colleges, Forbes magazine's list of America's Top Colleges, and the 2014 Fiske Guide to Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit