NZSM student wins international student composition competition

New Zealand School of Music student Tatiana Riabinkina has won the international Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra’s Student Composition Competition for 2019.

Tatiana Riabinkina

The Russian-born musician, who is studying for a postgraduate diploma at the New Zealand School of Music—Te Kōkī, took the top prize for her piece ‘Northern Spells’. The Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra, based in Chicago in the United States, receives entries from all around the world for its annual Student Composition Competition.

“I wrote Northern Spells in Moscow as part of my Bachelor’s degree. It took a few months and coincided with me having my daughter. It’s nice to say it was written together with her,” says Tatiana.

"The piece is based on the musical folklore of the northern nations of Russia. I tried to describe in music the feeling of cold snow valleys and warm hospitality of people. You can hear the songs and the dances there and feel different moods—like different characters you can meet in your journey in the Russian North.

“I was really excited when I found out I had won. It’s interesting that the folklore of small nations in Russia is unfamiliar to most people.”

Born in Ekaterinburg, Russia, Tatiana began her studies in piano performance. She studied at the Moscow College of Improvised Music with a focus in bass guitar, and the Moscow Academy of Music with a degree in Composition, before travelling to Wellington.

As part of her win, Tatiana’s piece will be performed by the Orchestra in its spring 2019 concert series in March.

“It is incredible that my music will be played in Chicago. I hope the conductor and musicians will feel this piece the right way,” says Tatiana.

“Composing music is like a magic for me. I believe art is only way to transmit the intransmissible. Moreover, it is boundless field for exploring and experimenting, and it will never be boring.

“In the future I hope to get my Master’s or even PhD in composing, because I just want to live in music every day. Winning this competition is a very happy step on my way and gives me confidence for my future career.”

Hear some of Tataina's compositions on SoundCloud.