Scene & Heard, by Kerry Gold
January 17th, 1997
The Vancouver Sun
Entertainment Section, p. C-1
top of left-most column
"Talk about your over-achievers. Former Kerrisdale boy Sean Varah, 28, has gone from flipping schnitzel at the Expo Bavarian Beer Garden to running the Computer Music Center at Harvard University in Boston.
Varah recently won $4,500 in the CBC Stereo Competition for Young Composers. He was chosen by an international jury as the third-place winner of the $1,000 prize in the electro-acoustic category for Aria, third place in the music for orchestra category for Burning, and he won the $2,500 National Arts Centre's People's Choice Award also for Burning.
Varah, an ex-pat for 10 years, originally wrote the "crowd-pleaser" piece when commissioned by the New York Youth Symphony to debut at Carnegie Hall. The Price of Wales secondary grad began playing piano at three, and cello at six. He eventually joined the Vancouver Cello Club, which he calls "the hub of all cellists". Now he plans to give part of his award money to Toronto cellist Paul Widner, who performed the piece for the competition, and save the rest for revamping his home studio in New Haven, Conn.
As for returning to Vancouver, where his father teaches computing science at UBC, Varah is vying for a job offer, and wishes the Canadian market for electro-acoustic teachers was a little more inviting. For now, he'll have to endure teaching at one of North America's most ivy league institutions. "I'm so sick of these neurotic people on the East Coast."