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Student Composer Showcase - Drew Frankenberg

Student composer Drew Frankenberg's piece "Noble Serenity" will be featured in this year's Farmer's Night Concert taking place at the State House in Montpelier, Wednesday, February 1st.
ANGELA STEVENS/Juniper Studios
used with permission
Student composer Drew Frankenberg's piece "Noble Serenity" will be featured in this year's Farmer's Night Concert taking place at the State House in Montpelier, Wednesday, February 1st.

Drew: Well, the first thing I'll say is Music-COMP has definitively changed my life for the better.

James: That’s Drew Frankenberg, a homeschool student from West Rutland, Vermont and the highlighted composer for this month’s Student Composer Showcase. Drew is an avid musician, playing the clarinet, saxophone, piano and various other instruments from time to time. But after speaking with Drew, it’s obvious that their first love and interest is in composing.

Drew: Right from the get go I've been a part of Music-COMP, which is an excellent young composers program which pairs younger composers with professional mentors to guide them through writing a piece to enter into a competition to have it played by professional musicians. It’s an incredible program. I believe I've had my pieces performed opus 32 through 36 for Music-Comp, as well as a couple of other summer festival opportunities and one other special opportunity to have my piece played by the Champlain Valley Orchestra with the Vermont Film Festival, written for the first eight minutes of the silent movie Metropolis, to be played alongside that, which is an incredible opportunity.

James: Drew’s music will also be featured in this year’s Farmer’s Night Concert at the State House in Montpelier. This annual, free favorite is finally returning after three years. The 2023 David M. Wilson Memorial Farmer’s Night Concert is taking place, Wednesday, February 1st at 7:30pm under the baton of Director of Orchestra and Associate Professor of Music at UVM, Dr. Yutaka Kono. On the program there’s works by Rosinni and Haydn, as well as Drew’s piece “Noble Serenity”.

Drew: Yeah, I am very excited to be part of this opportunity. It's just a dream to come true to have your piece played by the VSO. Originally the concert was going to be held in February of 2022 and it got moved to this year. I was contacted by Matt Larocca who's the head of Music-COMP. He asked me to write a piece for chamber orchestra and gave me the instrumentation and immediately I knew I wanted to write it to feature the french horn because I had a very clear idea to write about a sunrise that I witnessed a couple of weeks prior up in Maine.

James: Describe the piece for us, what is it trying to evoke.

Drew: … the idea of slowly building up grandeur, just to relax into the day at the end; starting off pretty sparse, building slowly up to a very clear climax and then settling down again. You see the colors up on the horizon and then you see the sun peaking over the mountains in the distance. It was really special. So I really wanted to capture that.

James: Now that you’ve finished your high school studies, where do you see yourself going next?

Drew: I hope to just continue to grow as an artist, find new ways to express myself, meet really incredible musicians along the way, who can play my music.

James: What advice do you have for any student that is interested in composing or curious about joining Music-COMP?

Drew: Do it! Join this program. If you are interested in writing music, join this program. It's truly unique and special. Just having the mentorship is invaluable to anyone who's beginning composing for the first time or has dabbled in it a little bit. Without the support of this incredible organization, I mean, I might be a composer, but I certainly would not be a composer who has had the opportunities that I've had.

James: That’s Drew Frankenberg, January’s highlighted composer for the Student Composer Showcase. You can hear Drew’s piece “Noble Serenity” performed live by the Vermont Symphony Orchestra at this year’s Farmer’s Night Concert at the State House in Montpelier, Wednesday, February 1st at 7:30pm. You can find more details about that performance at The Student Composer Showcase is produced in collaboration with Music-COMP, the music composition mentoring program.

The Music Composition Mentoring Program (Music-COMP) is a Vermont non-profit started in 1995 that teaches students in grades 3-12 how to compose original music. Students are paired with professional composers as mentors, and over 50 works are premiered each year with professional musicians.

Production support for the Student Composer Showcase is provided by Lake Champlain Access Television, a community media center serving eight towns in Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle Counties, providing a free forum for expression, and a link to local government and training. More at