Composer adapts Summit freshman’s work into professional piece

Summit student poses with music teacher and professional composer

Summit freshman Irene Calderon, middle, poses with professional composer Meng Wang, left, and Robert Browning, Director of Instrumental Music at The Summit. Irene’s melody was adapted into a full-scale symphonic composition by Ms. Wang.

For being one of two winners in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s student melody contest, Summit Country Day School freshman Irene Calderon, Hyde Park, earned the right to have her piece, “The Moon in my Rearview Mirror” adapted and developed into a full-scale piece by professional composer Meng Wang.

Ms. Wang visited The Summit on Feb. 8 to discuss her compositional process, display her working drafts and explain how she incorporated Irene’s work into hers.  

Ms. Wang used a portion of Irene’s melody as the climactic moment in her piece, “When He Was There.” The title refers to Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon.

“When I was her age, I wasn’t doing this kind of thing,” Ms. Wang said during the presentation. “She is very talented.”

The new piece will debut at the “One Giant Leap” concerts on Tuesday, Feb. 26 and Thursday, March 28. Fortuitously, Summit band students as well as students in the fifth and sixth grade were already planning to attend the CSO’s Young Person’s Concert series. 

That means they will hear the premiere of Irene’s melody as played by the CSO.

The inspiration for Irene’s melody came from the “sense of jubilation and accomplishment felt by those who witnessed and participated in the moon landing.”

Irene is in Theresa Merrill’s AP Music Theory class and performs with Summit’s band.

Before submitting her melody, Irene discussed the piece with Robert Browning, Director of Instrumental Music at The Summit. 

He said they had talked about a few changes but “in the end, she took the ball and ran with it. The piece is all hers.”