About the Piece

The word “grit” is defined as “an abrasive material composed of hard, sharp granules” and also as a personality trait characterized by “firmness of mind or spirit, unyielding courage in the face of danger, and perseverance and passion for long-term goals.” Lauren Spavelko’s work Grit is composed to capture the dual meaning of the word.

The structure of Grit portrays perseverance, struggle, and courage in the face of adversity. This brief work makes abundant use of mixed meter, uneven rhythms, accents, abrupt shifts, and sharp dissonance which, combined, create the rough-around-the-edges sound of the piece. From the first moments, heartbeat is set — ragged, relentless, and driving perpetually onward. This primary theme punctuates the piece, transforming through each section, but always returning — rushing to a breathless and triumphant finish.


It is critical that the music continually drive forward and remain energized. The piece should begin at a reasonable tempo for the ensemble to allow room for this comparative growth.

[Program and performance note by the composer]


String Orchestra

Click HERE to view a complete perusal score of the version for String Quartet.

Click HERE to view a sample of the version for String Orchestra.

About the Composer

Lauren Spavelko (b. 1989) is a composer, teacher, performer, and visual artist in Columbus, Ohio. From the serious to the lighthearted, Lauren’s diverse works inspire deeper connections with one another and ourselves. Here, listeners find play, curiosity, joy, catharsis, and empathy. Lauren’s works have been performed across the US, as well as in Italy and Singapore. She has been commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Central Ohio Symphony, the Johnstone Fund for New Music, and numerous artists & performing ensembles. She arranged Orphée+ with Opera Columbus.

Lauren and her work have won multiple awards, including the 2017 Young Composers Competition in Spoleto, Italy and the Ruth Anderson Commission Prize from IAWM. She has been a finalist for the NATS Art Song Composition Award and for the American Prize in Vocal Chamber Music and Orchestral Music.

She also presents as a guest composer in K-12 classrooms, designs youth composition workshops, composes for youth ensembles, and delivers lectures on solo entrepreneurship for college students.

Lauren Spavelko is a graduate of the University of Louisville (M.M. Composition) and Ohio Wesleyan University (B.M. Music Education). She has studied composition with Steve Rouse, Clint Needham, and Jason Bahr. 

For additional information about Lauren Spavelko and her works, please click HERE.

Performance Materials

For information regarding performance materials for Grit, please click HERE.