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Student Composer Showcase - Mayla Landis-Marinello

Mayla Landis-Marinello was involved in Music-COMP last year as an 8th Grader and is participating again this year.
Mayla Landis-Marinello
used with permission
Mayla Landis-Marinello was involved in Music-COMP last year as an 8th Grader and is participating again this year.

MAYLA: I noticed that I wrote like sort of a “call and response” section where some instruments play a part and then the other instruments play back in response, kind of like a conversation.

JAMES: That’s Mayla Landis-Marinello a 9th grader at U32 High School in East Montpelier and our featured composer for this month’s Student Composer Showcase. In a moment we’ll hear Mayla’s work “Spring Equinox” performed and recorded at Music-COMP’s Opus 36 concert back in April of 2022. Music-COMP is an online composition mentoring program that pairs students with professional composers who mentor them as they create an original musical work.

MAYLA: I did my first Music-COMP last year when I was in 8th grade and I'm doing it again this year because I really like doing it. It was really great. It's really cool to get support and advice from a professional composer. My mentor gave me a lot of helpful suggestions on the rhythm, how to make the piece a good length and figuring out the overall layout and the melody for my piece.

I would definitely encourage anybody to try out Music-COMP. It's a great opportunity and anybody who submits the start of a piece gets a mentor to work with. And additionally, if your piece gets chosen to be performed at the concert, it's really cool because you get to hear it played by professional musicians, which sounds a lot better than how it sounds when played by the computer.

JAMES: You mentioned that you’re doing Music-COMP again this year. What are you working on?

MAYLA: So, my piece for this year's Music-COMP Opus 37 is written for a brass quintet and piano. It's four more instruments than my piece that I did for last year, so that's definitely been a different experience, working on writing for more parts. I've been learning a lot about how to have all the instruments play together; playing different parts, different notes and having them all sound good together. Actually, when I was listening to my piece from last year, I noticed that there's definitely some similarities.

JAMES: We’re about to hear that piece you wrote for last year’s concert, what can you tell us about it?

MAYLA: My piece is called “Spring Equinox”. It's written for violin and piano. It symbolizes Spring taking Winter’s place.

JAMES: That was “Spring Equinox” by 9th grade U32 High School student Mayla Landis-Marinello. We heard violinist, Brooke Quiggins Saulnier and pianist, Alison Cerutti, recorded at Music-COMP’s Opus 36 concert that took place in April of 2022 at The Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Burlington, Vermont.

The Music Composition Mentoring Program (Music-COMP) is a Vermont non-profit started in 1995 that teaches students in grades 3-12 how to compose original music. Students are paired with professional composers as mentors, and over 50 works are premiered each year with professional musicians.

Production support for the Student Composer Showcase is provided by Lake Champlain Access Television, a community media center serving eight towns in Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle Counties, providing a free forum for expression, and a link to local government and training. More at

James Stewart is Vermont Public Classical's afternoon host. As a composer, he is interested in many different genres of music; writing for rock bands, symphony orchestras and everything in between.