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Student Highlights - The Composers

Some student composers Wiemann has taught have gone on to careers in music. They include Juraj Kojs, who was introduced to electronic music studying with Wiemann and who is now completing a doctorate in composition and music technologies at the University of Virginia.

For other young composers, writing music remains a preoccupation.

It’s hard to predict how much composing will be part of a student’s life once he or she graduates, Wiemann says. Few composers make a living at writing. They arrange, teach, perform. Often composing is what they do on the side.

Not all student composers are music majors. But if Wiemann mentors them, they are serious about fine-tuning their art.

Student composers’ works debut on campus in UMaine musical ensemble performances. This spring, a student composers’ concert featured new and original works by artists that included junior Sara Richardson and seniors Philip Trembley, Seth Morton and Robinson Marks.

The musical styles varied widely. The works were short, no longer than eight minutes. One or two of the pieces brought to mind works by established artists.

“Young composers have been inspired by various people and that’s OK,” says Wiemann. “Part of this has to do with learning as they’re doing.

“It doesn’t matter that it’s all new. The minute the piece is finished, it’s not new anymore any way.”

Success is “getting pieces off the ground.” The composers cross their fingers that the new media technology in the electronic pieces doesn’t glitch and the performers don’t look at the music and say it’s too difficult or unworkable for their instruments.

It’s a “grounding” experience for any composer.

“For some of them, this is a way of communicating, contributing and making connections with colleagues, with faculty members and performers of their music,” says Wiemann. “Getting people to play the pieces and writing for pre-established ensembles are the basic ways composers interact with the musical world.”

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