Southeast Alumnus Composes Work to Premiere at Sheldon Concert Hall

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Southeast Missouri State University alumnus Daniel Fitzpatrick has recently been nominated to compose a piece for the Mizzou New Music Initiative.

Fitzpatrick, a 2019 Southeast graduate with a Bachelor of Music with an emphasis on music composition, is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in music composition at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Fitzpatrick was commissioned to compose a new piece as part of the Mizzou New Music Initiative, and his work will premiere April 29 at The Sheldon Concert Hall and Art Galleries and will be performed by St. Louis-based musicians, including members of the St. Louis Symphony.

“Being nominated to compose for members of the St. Louis Symphony is almost surreal, but in the best way possible,” he said. “Any time I write a piece, I first find high caliber musicians to perform and record my potential pieces. Often times, this step can produce some limitations if you are unable to find high caliber musicians, so having the opportunity to write for members of the St. Louis Symphony is quite liberating. I will be writing music for world class musicians to perform and record.”

A native of Wentzville, Missouri, Fitzpatrick says that his love for music composition blossomed during high school when the electronic genre of dubstep became a mainstream fad. He had already been a proficient banjo player, drawing inspiration from Bela Fleck, an American banjo player known for his innovative and technically proficient style.

“Technology is what excites me most as a composer,” he said. “We live in a time in which we have so many different kinds of audio processing and synthesizing softwares that can be used to create any sound imaginable. My music often time reflects this fact as I tend to blend acoustic elements with many various forms of music technology.

“Within my own composition, I am always looking for ways to expand genres of music so often times my works feature odd fusions of genres or using an often stereotyped instrument like the banjo to perform pieces that no one would ever think to do on that instrument.”

He says his time at Southeast and knowledgeable faculty from whom he learned prepared him to pursue his future goals.

“I chose Southeast because of the professors who are very qualified in their fields,” he said “Dr. (Robert) Fruehwald (Southeast professor of composition) was fantastic because he has a background in electronic music composition and was supportive of my artistic vision. He challenged me to find my voice as a composer and to decide what sets my music apart.”

His fondest memories of his time at Southeast are creating music with his friends from Southeast’s Department of Music and having his music performed on stage, Fitzpatrick said.

“My favorite memories at Southeast come from the performance of my large-scale electro-acoustic compositions. One of which was performing two movements of my piece ‘Codex Machina’ with cellist Evan Watkins during my junior recital in the (Robert F. and Gertrude L.) Schuck (Music) Recital Hall,” he said. “The piece was essentially a virtuosic cello concerto infused with dubstep in which I performed on various midi controllers alongside Evan. We have gone on to produce a full music video for the piece that will be released by this winter.”

Fitzpatrick is also working on a composition for the banjo.

“I want to keep expanding the repertoire of my first instrument, the banjo and I’m currently working on a mini-concerto for banjo to be performed and recorded by the Mizzou New Music Ensemble,” he said.

Fitzpatrick hopes to earn his doctorate and help shape and guide the next generation of composers.

“I plan to pursue a doctorate in music composition and eventually become a college professor so that I can help students with music composition and teach the various aspects of music technology,” he said.

Writing and producing music will always be his first passion.

“I hope to make a name for myself by producing large scale compositions combining various genres of electronic music and original classical music,” he said.

Fitzpatrick says the best guidance he can offer current and future Southeast students is a piece of advice that was given to him by his father.

“My father always told me ‘find something you’re passionate about and find a way to make it your career,’” Fitzpatrick said. “If you love what you’re studying or the career you’re working in, you’ll be willing to put in the overtime to be successful at it.”

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