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ISSUE 118 VOL 5 PUBLISHED 10/15/2004

Lund's life in song

By Nicole Vettraino
Executive Editor


Friday, October 15, 2004

Composer, teacher and St. Olaf alumnus Josh Lund `99 held an informative lecture Friday, Oct. 8, for a small gathering of theory/composition majors in Christiansen Hall of Music. Lund recounted his experiences as a St. Olaf student, shared a few recordings of his original music and encouraged the theory/composition majors to be prepared for a hard but rewarding road after college.

Initially, Lund considered going into music education, but after seeing Mr. Hollund's Opus, he opted for the theory/composition major so that he would have ample time to compose.

"I have a soundtrack -- the soundtrack of life -- going on in my head twenty-four/seven," Lund said. "If I didn't have time to put that down on paper, I would go mad. "

Lund attended graduate school at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill., and received his master's degree in 2001. After graduate school, Lund was a substitute teacher, held a teaching position at a preparatory school in Elgin, Ill., and briefly worked for a credit card printing company before landing a teaching position at William Penn University in Oskalooska, Iowa. He hopes to pursue a doctoral degree sometime in the future.

Lund began his lecture by playing some of his original compositions. The first, a piece for piano entitled Aged, wove a unique melody that got progressively more complex with a two-note chord ostinato. Lund explained that the piece exemplified the moments when self-reflection led him to the realization that he had grown or aged in some way.

Following Aged, Lund played a recording of a string quartet, the first movement of which he had written while attending St. Olaf. Lund's creativity with rhythm and form stood out in his string movements. During one movement in particular, the melodic motifs in each instrument progressively sped up (because of decreased note values) until halfway through the piece. Then, Lund literally took a mirror image of all the material up to that point, inverted it and had it played backwards, so that in the end, his movements slow back down.

Lund spoke openly about his mentality regarding composition. He encouraged students to love their music, because he pointed out that it is not worth it for a composer to put a single note on paper if he does not like it. Moreover, Lund explained how he is still forming his compositional style; with every piece he writes, he is approaching his own true and unique composition style.

"I'll know when I've found [my own unique composition style] when I can write a piece of music that I can listen to over and over again, for the rest of my life," Lund said.

Lund also gave specific advice to student composers. As far as what to do after college, he admitted that a decision to go to graduate school was a matter of personal choice, at the same time, he said it is good to start making connections with the gurus of the composition world right away.

Regarding composition competitions, Lund suggested students enter everything [they] can (assuming the entry fee is not outrageous). Lund said that even small competitions are good, because the winners are getting exposure to publishers and important people in the composition world.

Lund left his audience with several words of wisdom. "Never throw anything out, he said. Be a compositional packrat -- you never know when you might be able to use something in a future work."

He went on to explain that composition can be inspired anywhere and at any time. Lund should know; like a true artist, he has a small book of manuscript paper in the glove compartment of his car and on the nightstand by his bed -- just in case inspiration strikes.





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