Students gain valuable experience with artist in residence Frank Ticheli

5/20/2013
Composer Frank Ticheli has been guest conductor at Carnegie Hall and in cities throughout the world, including Beijing, London, Rome and Sydney. Recently, he added Seguin and Texas Lutheran University to his vast experiences as a guest conductor.

The award-winning composer and composition professor at the University of Southern California visited TLU as an artist in residence in late April. While on campus, he taught master classes and conducted a concert, Apollo Unleashed, with the TLU symphonic and wind ensemble bands featuring his selected works, including “Cajun Folk Songs,” “Shenandoah,” “Sundance” and the premiere of his tribute to the Big Band Era—“Blue Shades.”

With 30 years experience composing and conducting, Ticheli spends many days and weeks working with young musicians at universities throughout the nation. His current position at USC, he said, allows him to work with college students and pave the way for younger musicians.

“I feel it is a privilege and a responsibility to work with students,” Ticheli said. “It’s as if I’m carrying the torch that my mentors and teachers passed down to me and it’s a way of paying them back. I really enjoy seeing how other musicians and conductors interpret my work. When I come to a university, the students have the notes down already and I can work with them to really get behind the notes and understand what they mean.”

At TLU, Ticheli had the opportunity to work with both music and non-music majors. He enjoys working and interacting with both groups, appreciating the differences and qualities of each.

“I love working with the non-music majors just as much at the music majors,” Ticheli said. “The non-music majors are here doing it for the pure love of music. I love working with them just as much as the polished music students. It’s equally as wonderful to see the passion music majors. I encourage all of my students to listen. Listen to what’s going on now in music. Listen to what music was like during the Renaissance. Above all, it’s important to understand that music can be for everybody.”

Sophomore music education major Greg Demoore said Ticheli’s visit to TLU stirred excitement in the music department and gave students a unique experience with someone they revere.

“Ticheli's music is well recognized and played in Texas from early band musician days of middle school and well into high school through college,” Demoore said. “Having the opportunity to work with a man whose music and name we've had placed in front of us for over ten years is an opportunity that isn't really received that often. With works of composers that become popular being played across the world in forms standard symphonies or solo repertoire, most of these composers are either deceased or hard to come in contact with. Frank Ticheli's residency at TLU showed a living in the flesh composer. Some music students will never have the opportunity to experience a musician as well respected and distinguished in his or her field.”

While Ticheli truly enjoys teaching and playing music, his main goal is for students to know that the struggle and challenge of composing and conducting is also the fun. “What I do for a living is not work—it’s pure joy,” Tichelis said. “I believe many musicians feel that way. We not only love music, we love what it represents.”