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Patsy Lu Prize

Irina Naryshkova & Eleanor Blake
Canary Burton


This music was awarded by the International Alliance of Women in Music in 2013

PatsyLu Prize

The melody for Southern River wandered about in my head while I was gardening, and I sang it while driving. I thought it had a pop sound and would not be suitable for classical music, but I recalled that Joan Yakkey, also a member of IAWM, had taken several of my pop songs and turned them into very nice choral pieces. I decided that it was silly not to use the melody in a classical work.

I was looking for a new spot to hold a concert in  an art gallery in Harwich. The Gallery on Main Street was staffed by a woman who wanted a concert there. Laura Craciun also played the viola and was in the Falmouth Symphony. I wrote this music for her that seemed to me to be dripping moss and slow moving water. She performed it with cellist Suzanne Mueller, another IAWM member, in that gallery in August, 2012.

There are two quotes in this piece, “Moon River-these two words, and Somewhere, Over the Rainbow”. In my major listening years I loved hearing a quote so when they began to happen to me, I kept them.

This piece is easy to understand for player and for listeners. The only thing a performer has to look for is holding the tension between the two lines. It's like there is an iron bar riding just between the two musicians. And it's like each one is holding onto that bar that's tethered to the respective musical lines. One that is established, one just needs to play the notes with the feeling of: Shade with Dappled Sunlight and Warmth. The lines are not equal, sound funny if played alone. It's a short piece only 6:45. I have since then, written for viola in the three movements of “The Twelfth of Cold”.

“Southern River” with Laura's title Soaring is on my album just released, “Classical Bird, the chamber music of Canary Burton which can be bought at and on my website at