Southeast Music Professor Wins National Honor for Opera Composition

Dr. FruehwaldCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 23, 2014 – A Southeast Missouri State University professor of music has received an honorable mention award from The American Prize competition for an opera he composed entitled “Double Blind Sided.”

Robert Fruehwald’s work was recognized in  the professional theater works division.

Fruehwald’s composition was selected from applications reviewed this past summer from across the United States. The American Prize is a series of new, non-profit competitions unique in scope and structure, designed to recognize and reward the best performing artists, ensembles and composers in the United States based on submitted recordings. The American Prize was founded in 2009 and is awarded annually in many areas of the performing arts.

“This award is meaningful to me because it gives my work outside validation,” Fruehwald said. “I believe that many of us at Southeast, and my collaborators at Idaho State University, do excellent work but we are unsure how it stacks up against work produced in other parts of the country. The award shows that our work compares favorably with work from all over America.”

Composer and teacher, Fruehwald grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, where he played flute in the Louisville Youth Orchestra. He attended the University of Louisville receiving a Bachelor of Music in Composition (with honors).

While in Louisville, he studied composition with Claude Baker, and Dan Welcher. He earned his Master of Fine Arts at the California Institute of the Arts studying with Mel Powell, Morton Subotnick, and Leonard Rosenman. He returned to the Midwest to work on his doctoral degree at Washington University in St. Louis. There, he studied under Robert Wykes and finished his doctorate in 1985.

Before accepting a teaching position in the late 1980s, Fruehwald developed a series of programs to print musical examples for scholarly journals and books. In 1989, he took a teaching position at Southeast Missouri State University.  Fruehwald has taught numerous subjects at Southeast including applied composition, music theory, applied flute, electronic-computer music, and the history of modernism. He served as chair of the Department of Music from 1995-2000.

Finalists for The American Prize receive professional adjudication and regional, national and international recognition based on their recorded performances.

The American Prize grew from the belief that a great deal of excellent music goes unrecognized and unheralded, not only in our major cities, but all across the country, in schools and churches, in colleges and universities, and by community and professional musicians.

David Katz is the chief judge of The American Prize. As a professional conductor, award-winning composer, playwright, actor and arts advocate, he is the author of “MUSE of FIRE,” the acclaimed one-man play about the art of conducting.

Joining Katz in selecting winners of The American Prize is a panel of judges made up of distinguished musicians representing virtually every region of the country. The group includes professional vocalists, conductors, composers and pianists, tenured professors and orchestra, band and choral musicians.

“Most artists may never win a Grammy award, or a Pulitzer, or a Tony, or perhaps even be nominated,” Katz said. “But that does not mean that they are not worthy of recognition and reward. Quality in the arts is not limited to the coasts, or to the familiar names. It is on view all over the United States if you take the time to look for it. The American Prize exists to encourage and herald that excellence.”

By shining a light on nationally recognized achievement, winners of The American Prize receive world-class bragging rights.

“If The American Prize helps build careers, or contributes to local pride, or assists with increasing the audience for an artist or ensemble, builds the donor base, or stimulates opportunities or recruitment for winning artists and ensembles, then we have fulfilled our mission,” Katz said.

In addition to composition awards, The American Prize sponsors competitions for conductors, ensembles, vocalists and pianists.

The American Prize is administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc., a nonprofit performing arts organization based in Danbury, Connecticut.