Clef masters

Student composers win honors in MasterClef competition


Beck Mac

Safran ’23 and Stewart ’23.

Beck Mac, Staff Writer

Have you ever wondered how music was written? Or even wanted to write it yourself? Jeremiah Stewart ‘23, Tiko Bedrosian ‘23 and Robbie Safran ‘23 took their interest in musical composition to the next level by submitting their original pieces to the MasterClef competition for a chance to be performed by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. All three were chosen as state finalists for the competition with Stewart winning honorable mention. 

Stewart is a member of the BHS orchestra and enjoys composing music as a hobby. The competition has given him a chance to test his skills and he has found a lot of support from his parents in creating his piece.

Safran ’23 on the cello. Photo: Beck Mac

“My dad works in classical radio, and he’s also a composer himself. And my mom is a piano accompanist,” Stewart said. “They were excited, and I was able to get some criticism from my dad.” 

Although Stewart was the only one to win, Bedrosian and Safran felt very accomplished as finalists. Bedrosian has participated in the competition previously, being a finalist last year as well.

“It started in elementary school, where we had Noteflight (a music notation software) accounts and I just wrote random stuff,” Bedrosian said. “I didn’t know anything about harmony at the time, but I thought and music came out.”

Bedrosian composed in middle school and even won a scholarship in grade eight for a quartet he wrote. Bedrosian says he is inspired by all the diverse media he consumes like jazz and classical and says  music is an important part of his life. 

“I stayed up all night the other day and wrote a song and I missed school that day,” Bedrosian said.

Safran has been composing music as a hobby since grade six and this is his first year entering the MasterClef competition. 

“I really just did it for fun,” Safran said. “I enjoy composing and I enjoy music, so it was a fun exercise for me.”

Safran says he liked the entire process. Finalists gathered at City Hall for a workshop and participants listened to each other’s work along with a panel of three judges. Among the panel was composer, Dr. Matthew Evan Taylor who wrote the musical theme that all of the students based their pieces around. 

“[It was a] very supportive environment,” Safran said. “We all got free tickets for our families for the Vermont Symphony Orchestra.”

Safran, Bedrosian and Stewart are all close friends outside their hobby for composing music. 

“I think that’s no accident,” Safran said. “We all have similar interests and composing music is definitely one of them.”