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Brattleboro-Area Student Composer to be Featured on VPR Classical

Molly Durling, a 9th grader at Brattleboro Union High School, will be featured on VPR Classical October 6-11 as part of the station’s Student Composer Showcase.

An interview with Molly, along with her piece, “Grand Jig”, will broadcast Monday, October 6 at 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, October 8 at 8:30 a.m., Friday, October 10 at 4 p.m., and Saturday, October 11 at 9 a.m. VPR Classical can be heard in Brattleboro at 94.3 FM and online at VPR.net.

VPR Classical’s Student Composer Showcase is a collaboration with Music-COMP, a music composition mentoring program that matches aspiring students with accomplished composers and supports live performances of their work. The monthly series launched in 2013.

Molly began composing with Music-COMP in 2010, but has had a life-long fascination with Northern traditional music, from contra dances to fiddle music of Ireland, Scotland, Canada, and Norway.

“I know some people don’t think of it as important music but it was important to the people who gave emotions to their songs,” Molly said. “They found courage, joy, and comfort in the simple tunes which have remained a part of their culture for hundreds of years. Not every instrument is in tune, not everyone is at the same level of talent, some play a harmony part or drone, but it all comes together and sounds good. Even the stomping feet, clapping hands, and dancers’ laughter create part of a great romping joy. This is the sound I am looking for.

She said “Grand Jig” is a tribute to her ancestors.

“I want this piece to be a thank you to my grandparents, great grandparents, and all my ancestors who came from different countries, played different instruments and remembered the old songs. Each of them added something to the tune we call family and each gave a musical gift to me.”

Molly lives on an apple orchard in Dummerston. Her mother, Daria Durling, says that they didn’t watch television when she was young, but instead listened to all kinds of music. Molly began composing songs on their piano when she was in preschool.

“She wrote them down in a little number system she invented,” Durling said. “I would often find numbers written on the piano keys so she could remember the sequence of notes. All the songs were composed of ten notes because that was the limit of her counting ability.”

Molly has played the violin – which she calls the fiddle – since she was 4, and has played sessions at Dougie Maclean's Perthshire Amber Festival in Dunkeld, Scotland. She also sings and plays some piano, ukelele, guitar, and mandolin.

"VPR Classical is committed to engaging with younger audiences and showcasing talented musicians of all ages in our region," said VPR Classical Managing Producer Kari Anderson.  "It’s an honor to work with these young composers, and share the results of their hard work and their excellent music with VPR Classical listeners everywhere."