Ending on a high note

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Aug. 5—Two young New Mexico composers will make Albuquerque proud when they perform at the Golden Key Music Festival of Vienna.

Octavia Rossi Pressley and Natalia Sofia Lopez Hinojosa will perform their original music, as well as a Mozart piece, at Mozarthaus in Vienna on Saturday. The pair also performed at Ehrbar Hall in Vienna on Wednesday.

The Golden Key Piano Composition Competition of Vienna announced the winners of its 2022 World Composers competition, which included a group of New Mexicans from Garland Piano Studio in Albuquerque.

"I am so proud of all the emerging composers for their creative dedication to new music and so excited for those who are going to Vienna to embrace their place in the musical world," said Elizabeth Garland, composer, teacher and owner of Garland Piano Studio, in a news release.

Garland's solo piano and ensemble has been featured in films and documentaries, and she has performed her works in America and internationally.

"Many people learn to play music. Very few learn to compose," Garland said. "The skills required to compose and notate music both enhance the knowledge and skill of the player and allow for a much wider range of creativity to be called upon than simply playing standard repertoire, as the recognition of the art of composition is crucial to the establishment and preservation of a society's culture."

This competition had 126 participants competing from 22 countries, with five winners from New Mexico including:

—Garland, first in professional national category for "Precipice."

—Isaac Amor Garcia, 19, second in senior national category for "Esperanza, dos bailes españoles."

—Rossi Pressley, 10, second in the elementary national category for "The Robot and the Wolf," and will play in Vienna.

—Lopez Hinojosa, 13, "Dublin," third place in junior national category, and will perform in Vienna.

—Symmes Lin Cannon, 16, fourth in senior national category for "Cirque Solitaire."

Octavia's mother, Giovanna Rossi, helped her daughter make the trip across the pond to perform.

"Oh, it was an amazing feeling, we are so proud of her for working so hard, and whether or not she placed anywhere, we were just pleased for her to be involved," Rossi said. "But when she won a prize, we were really proud of her and really encouraged that young people are ... composing their own music."

For Octavia, musical talent runs in her family.

"Her dad plays all kinds of different instruments and her aunt is a trained musician, while her grandma is a former music teacher," Rossi said. "So she definitely has it in her family."

In August, the Golden Key Music Festival of Vienna celebrated its 15th edition with a series of special events.

"This is actually my first one and I wrote a story about a robot and a wolf," Octavia said. "I liked writing the piece and learning how to compose."

The festival combines a unique artistic, performing and educational experience for professional musicians and students.

"The Good News File" is a series of uplifting stories in partnership with KOAT-TV and KKOB Radio. The Journal will publish a "Good News" feature the first Friday of the month, KOAT-TV will present its feature each second Friday and KKOB each third Friday.