Student Success

Holt ready to unveil composition

Music major Carey-Lyn Holt has been a storyteller since she was a child. On April 7, in the University Theatre, Holt tells a different kind of story with the premiere of her composition Claudius, performed by the University of Lethbridge Wind Orchestra.

“The piece is about the Roman Emperor Claudius,” explains Holt, who is the Student Composer-in-Residence in the Department of Music. “I was learning about his rise to power in class and how he was one of the first emperors to show mercy. It was the idea surrounding his mercy that inspired my composition.”

As the Student Composer-in-Residence, Carey-Lyn Holt, will premier her composition Claudius, performed by the University of Lethbridge Wind Orchestra.

Being Composer-in-Residence is a non-credit learning opportunity where the selected student works with a studio instructor and an ensemble for three consecutive semesters. Holt has been hard at work, studying under Wind Orchestra Director Dr. Chee Meng Low.

“I can’t say enough good things about him,” says Holt, “Working with Dr. Low is amazing.”

During the first semester, the composer sits in on all ensemble rehearsals and performances, acting as part of the ensemble, while studying scores and listening for musical gestures. The second semester is dedicated to the writing process and the third to polishing the original composition for its premiere.

“It started with the story,” recalls Holt. “I would just sit and listen to different gestures and everything just started coming to me. Chee Meng let me explore different ideas with the wind orchestra.”

“She has a great imagination and is open to new ideas,” says Low.

Originally, Holt thought about studying physical oceanography.

“Then I had this realization one day, that storytelling is my calling. I have been writing and playing piano since my youth so it felt natural to write stories into music.”

The composer says she chose to do her Bachelor of Music at the University of Lethbridge because it was the only university in Alberta that offered composition starting in the first year. “My mom found the program online and told me I should give it a try,” she says.  “I’m glad it did.”

You can be among the first to hear Claudius by attending the U of L Wind Orchestra concert on April 7 at 7:30 p.m. in the University Theatre.

“My desire is that the musicians enjoy playing my piece and that everyone enjoys hearing it,” says Holt. 

Tickets are $20 regular, $15 senior/alum and $12 student and can be purchased through the Box Office. For tickets or more information visit: