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Ohio Wesleyan Student Wins International Music Composition Award
Senior Jabez Co of Manila Recognized by Mu Phi Epsilon Professional Music Fraternity

September 7, 2011

Jabez Co ’12.
Photo by Linda O’Horo
DELAWARE, OH – Ohio Wesleyan University student Jabez Co of Manila, Philippines, has won an original composition award from the Mu Phi Epsilon international professional music fraternity. The award, recognizing the most outstanding chamber music composition by an undergraduate student, includes a $200 prize.

Co, a senior majoring in music education at Ohio Wesleyan, earned the 2011 Mu Phi Epsilon award in Division I, Class B, which includes compositions of up to six minutes in length and written for either instrument or voice.

Based in Fresno, Calif., Mu Phi Epsilon is a coeducational, professional music fraternity whose mission includes advancing music in the community, nation, and world; and promoting musicianship, scholarship, therapy, and education, with emphasis on service through music. Ohio Wesleyan has a collegiate chapter of the music fraternity.

Co’s award-winning composition, “Viva,” is a five-minute piece scored for flute, violin, and piano. “Viva” is the third movement of a three-part, 15-minute composition titled “Danzika.”

“The piece is entirely pure music,” Co said. “I started composing ‘Danzika’ with dance rhythms in mind, but I wanted a piece to have syncopation and irregular meters. It evokes an almost lively Latin feel in the first and third movements, while the second movement portrays an underlining tango rhythm.”

Co said he spent about three months thinking about what he wanted to compose before he actually began writing the music.

“Once I came up with the idea, it only took me about five days to compose the third movement,” he said of the award-winning “Viva” composition. “The first and second movements were composed about two months later, but both movements were written and completed in about seven days.”

After he earns his OWU bachelor of music degree in May, Co plans to attend graduate school to study composition. He also hopes to explore his interest in musical theater.

“Before coming to OWU, I never would have thought that I would be able to compose,” Co said. He credits his Ohio Wesleyan professors—including Clint Needham, D.M., and Michael Malone, Ph.D.—with providing opportunities that have “helped me to grow as a musician and have afforded me real-world experiences with the skills I will need in the professional world.”

Needham also recently won an international composition award. He is the recipient of the 2011 Barlow Prize, presented annually by The Barlow Endowment for Music Composition. Needham earned a $12,000 commission to compose a major new work for woodwind quintet that will debut in 2013.

Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Music. Learn more about the Mu Phi Epsilon professional music fraternity.


Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 45 states and 52 countries. Ohio Wesleyan was named to the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.