Benjamin Holloway won the silver award in the collegiate composer category of the 2015 Carol Klose/Hal Leonard Composition Competition, ranking his work above submissions from students at Wheaton College and Eastman School of Music.

Hal Leonard, the world’s largest publisher of songbooks and music educational materials, created this online student piano composition competition in honor of Carol Klose, a popular piano teacher and prolific Hal Leonard composer. The purpose of the competition is to encourage the creative musical spirit that Carol always fostered, by giving piano students a platform to compose, perform and share their original pieces.

Nearly 200 contestants created original compositions and submitted YouTube videos of their performances in the competition’s three age categories: junior composer, teen composer and collegiate composer. The contestants were directed to compose their pieces for piano students learning new techniques.

Benjamin’s composition, “Café au lait,” earned him the silver award. His piece was inspired by the French coffee drink and designed to provide piano students with an introduction to the impressionistic style. Many of Benjamin’s previous compositions have also been written in the impressionistic style with some jazz influences.

Benjamin has studied piano with Becky Barlar, a Florida College music professor. Barlar is often able to offer individual attention to her students because of the small class sizes at Florida College, and she has helped Benjamin explore many different styles of music.

“Benjamin Holloway is a very talented and creative young man,” Barlar said. “As he has learned more about the structure and form of music in his music theory, music history and composition classes, he has developed an even greater ability to put musical materials together in a logical way.”

Benjamin hopes to use his talents to pursue a master’s degree in composing, after completing Florida College’s requirements for a bachelor’s degree in music in December.