FHTMS student and composer, Andrew Kim, has been selected to be part of VPR’s Student Composer Series. 

A Young Winning Composer: VPR Showcases Andrew Kim

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Thursday April 06, 2017

Vermont is rich in the number of artists per capita who make their home here, including a young budding South Burlington artist who is already making his mark in the Green Mountains. Andrew Kim, only an eighth grader at Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School (FHTMS), has been composing music for three years. This month, Vermont Public Radio (VPR) will highlight Kim’s talent as part of a collaborative program between VPR Classical and Music-COMP, the music composition online mentoring program. According to Music-COMP’s Executive Director Sandi MacLeod, Ed. D., “It’s a huge honor as only one student is selected each month. Currently we have over 100 active students sharing their work with professional composer mentors. Only a small portion of those get their works performed live.”

Kim has connected with professional composer mentors through Music-COMP since he was in sixth grade at FHTMS, where his music technology teacher, Karola Troidl, introduces all students to music composition and notation software. His first composition was titled “Song of the Birds” for solo piano and was selected for Music-COMP’s Opus 29 in 2015, a live performance of original student works by professional musicians. Since then, Kim has submitted several other works for mentoring including “A Late Walk,” performed in 2016 by a vocal quartet at Opus 31.

Troidl says, “For Andrew, composing music comes naturally to him. He’s able to take a musical story in his head and bring it to life through his compositions.”

Kim’s latest composition was written for the violin and piano. The young composer says it helped him work on “learning how to write Pizzicato sections effectively.” Pizzicato, a term generally not heard from an eighth grader, is a directive to a bowed string instrument performer indicating “notes are to be plucked with the fingers rather than bowed.”

Recently, Kim was interviewed by VPR’s Kari Anderson, morning host and producer of the station’s Student Composer Showcase series. In the interview, Kim shared his experience as a composer and musician. Also included is music composed by Kim from a live January performance with professional musicians at Wake Robin in Shelburne. MacLeod says, “We’re so appreciative of VPR and Kari for highlighting the work of our students each month. VPR listeners hear the interview with these amazing student composers and are amazed at the quality of the work.” VPR re-broadcast times for Kim’s interview include Friday, April 7, at 4 p.m., Saturday, April 10, at 9 a.m. or listeners can find the feature on the web at http://digital.vpr.net/term/student-composer-showcase#stream/0.

The non-profit Music-COMP organization began in 1995 and was formerly called the Vermont MIDI Project. The program is recognized throughout the country for its work connecting students and professional composers, as well as the many opportunities they provide for students to hear their work performed live. The process begins when Music-COMP students post their work-in-progress for feedback on a web discussion site. Often compositions are created with the hopes they will be selected for the upcoming Opus concert, a live performance with professional musicians. Each Opus concert begins with online mentoring eight to ten weeks prior to the concert event and concludes with a day-long celebration. Each selected student rehearses with the musicians, participates in workshops, and meets other student composers from around the state. The day concludes with the public evening concert. Their next concert, Opus 32, is May 15 at Elley-Long Music Center at St. Michael’s College in Colchester. The free family friendly concert begins at 6:30 pm.

Meanwhile, Kim continues to create music that speaks to a mature and refined sensibility. Visit music-comp.org, click on their “performances” link and hear Kim’s “The Changes in the Season” and listen for yourself.

When asked which piece over his three years of composing was his best work, Kim responded as any excellent steward to one’s growing library would, “They are all good to me, but in different ways.”