Composition by Asheville School senior selected for West Coast Music Festival

September 21, 2017

Asheville School senior Mac Waters (Banner Elk, N.C.)  is dedicated to music and committed to strengthening and broadening his compositional portfolio. The young composer has attended two sessions of the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Young Composers Program and regularly writes and performs original music at Asheville School.

This summer, Waters answered a call for scores for The Spontaneous Combustion New Music Festival, and his piece for solo flute was selected as one of five winners in the category.

Waters’ score was selected from an international pool of composers, many with professional experience and years of formal compositional training. At age 17, Waters is the youngest composer to have a piece selected for the festival.

Waters’ score, titled “Tinted,” is inspired by Emily Dickinson’s poem, “The Tint I cannot take—is best.” During summer 2017 Waters attended the North Carolina Governor’s School Instrumental Music Program, where he first encountered Dickinson’s poem and began composing his piece.

“It’s basically about the beauty in small things in life—the beauty of love, of nature,” Waters said. “I used that as an inspiration for the composition and the structure and tonality…at the end of the piece, the flutist whispers the last stanza of the poem into the flute, which is a really cool thing I’ve seen done before and wanted to use. It makes a wispy and cool timbre that I really like.”

The Spontaneous Combustion New Music Festival (SCNMF) is a new festival that will tour the west coast in January and February 2018. According to the SCNMF website<>, the festival aims to be “an exciting new concept for bringing talented up-and-coming performers specializing in new music to new audiences.”

According to Waters, “Tinted” will be played at performances in Eugene, Oregon; Santa Cruz, California; and Los Angeles, California. He is excited to hear the piece played professionally and hopes he can make it to the west coast to hear a live performance this winter.