ENVISO (formerly the Irving Symphony) and the Division of Music at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts have launched a unique partnership in which a Meadows music composition student will be selected to serve each year as a composer-in-residence with the region’s only boutique professional symphony orchestra. The new initiative is titled the William H. Lively SMU Student Composer-in-Residence Program in honor of Bill Lively, who is an SMU alumnus, former CEO of the AT&T Performing Arts Center and currently serving as vice chancellor of strategic partnerships for the University of North Texas System.
“ENVISO’s unique partnership with SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, resulting in the creation of the Student Composer-in-Residence Program, is an extraordinary example of collaborative planning,” said Lively. ‘The program will support and celebrate young musicians who aspire to be among the next generation of American composers.”
“To our knowledge, this is the first such program of its kind between an orchestra and a university music department,” said Tracy Boyd, president of ENVISO.
The first student selected for the residency is Vince Gover, a sophomore at SMU. ENVISO will perform the world premiere of Gover’s “Let Us Begin Anew…” (a quote from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech) in a concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s presidential inauguration, to be held at the Irving Arts Center at 8 p.m. November 12. The symphonic event celebrating Kennedy’s life, presidency and legacy will be introduced by Lively and will include archival video footage.
Though still an undergraduate, Gover has already received recognition for his compositions. In January, his work Children’s Suite was performed at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., by the Saxony-Anhalt Brass Quintet, an ensemble of principal performers from German orchestras. The quintet chose Gover’s work for their U.S. tour after discovering it through Gover’s high school music teacher. In addition, Gover’s Minute Fanfare was performed by the Meadows Wind Ensemble at its October concert at SMU.
“We are very excited about this new collaboration,” said Samuel Holland, director of the Meadows School Division of Music. “Our composition students have an opportunity to work with a professional orchestra and gain performance experience that will be invaluable to them in their careers.”
Meadows Executive Board member Barbara Daseke added, “This innovative collaboration is a fine example of progressive community arts entities joining together to create excitement and provide new performing venues beneficial for everyone.”
The annual competition to select the composer-in-residence will be held by a committee composed of two members of the SMU composition faculty, ENVISO Music Director Hector Guzman, who earned a Master of Music in instrumental conducting at SMU in 1983, and an outside member of the music community. The winner will be chosen by February 28 each year, and will compose at least one commissioned work to premiere with ENVISO the following season.
For more information about ENVISO, visit www.enviso.org.