Musical Composition Contest


$2,500 Award Winner

Nava Ryan

Queensland, Australia

Nathan’s Despair

(excerpts from p. 318 of Forever Gentleman)

As he sat at the piano, Nathan only felt darkness and doom.  Almost without thinking, Nathan began playing single notes with his right hand, in the middle register of the keyboard.  The simple tune evoked such sadness that Nathan felt tears welling in his eyes.

            Why, dear God?  Why has this curse come upon me?

He repeated the theme in thirds and then triads with his right hand.  Next the left hand followed in accompaniment, painting a portrait of utter hopelessness.  The slow and quiet theme continued as Nathan improvised subconsciously in a distant key.  With his fingers, he then chronicled his gradual descent into darkness, reflected by the theme which became even darker, deep in the bass register of the keyboard.  The theme carried no hope, only dread.  There would be no moment of triumph in this composition.   The left hand was now alone, first triads then thirds, then single notes, until the last sound faded away unresolved—no tonic, no super tonic.  That’s how his life would someday end.

Nathan left the bench, but the hopeless theme continued in his mind, so melancholy, so heartbreakingly sad—a kindred accompaniment to his own feelings.

Nava Ryan

Queensland, Australia

Nava is an 18-year-old multi-instrumentalist, composer and music technologist who is currently studying at the Queensland Conservatorium, Australia. He was first introduced to the world of music in 2010; piano lessons were his birthday present that he really loved. In only a short few years, his natural affinity for the instrument has led him to create a respected name for himself amid the Queensland piano scene. Receiving a mark of 98 for his Licentiate in Music diploma, Nava’s performance highlights including a string of annual appearances at the Yamaha Keyboard Festival and performances as soloist at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre alongside Queensland Ballet.

Given his early exposure to the music technology, and specifically, the performance and programming capabilities of MIDI, Nava’s personal projects include arranging expansive medleys from the soundtracks of his favourite movies. In 2017, Nava won the international remix competition hosted by electronic music icon Moby, for his song ‘Are You Lost In The World Like Me?’.The remix was released on 12” vinyl via New-York-based label Little Idiot, alongside remixes by Blanck Mass and Moby himself. Nava also enjoys writing for film, with scores for several animations as part of the Queensland Music Festival, as well as his music being featured in the upcoming short documentary entitled ‘8-Bit Domination’, which is centered around the Australian chiptune & 8-bit music scene.

Besides his passions in music, Nava enjoys playing chess and is a fan of the fantasy genre of films. In the future Nava hopes to become a full-time film and game composer, incorporating his classical roots with electronic music influences. To see more of his work, go to his YouTube channel at the following link: