Two Blair alumni among laureates of American Viola Society Composition Competition

Chris Lowry, BMus’11, and Peter Dayton, BMus’12, both received recognition in the American Viola Society’s 2024 biennial Maurice Gardner Competition for Composers. Among the 77 submissions to the contest, Chris Lowry was the first prize winner, with his work, “Zenith (for Jackson)” for viola and electronics, winning the $1,000 prize and receiving a performance at the annual AVS conference. Lowry holds a Doctorate in Musical Arts in Viola performance from Louisiana State University and is currently principal violist for the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.

Peter Dayton was one of two composers to receive an honorable mention for “Beyond the Last Thought: Third Fantasy” for viola and piano. He holds a Master of Music in Composition from The Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and is the director of operations for arts education in Maryland Schools.

Frequent collaborators, Lowry recorded Dayton’s (first) “Fantasy” for viola and piano on his album Milestones: Music for Viola from the Third Millennium (Centaur Records, 2022), and premiered Dayton’s “Temptress Helen: Greek Legend Verse Excerpts” for soprano and viola in February 2023, which was among 12 finalist entries in the 2023 National Association of Teachers of Singing Art Song Composition Award.

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