February 10, 2011
W. Vincent Gover, a freshman at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts majoring in music composition and French horn, had his composition Children’s Suite performed at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. on January 12.
The three-part work – Nightmare, Motherly Love and Fanfare – was played by the Saxony-Anhalt Brass Quintet, an ensemble of principal performers from German orchestras. The quintet toured several U.S. cities last week and performed Gover’s work, along with pieces by Wagner, Strauss, Mancini and others.
Gover composed the work while a senior at River Hill High School in Clarksville, Maryland. His music teacher there, Richard McCready, showed the composition to his old friend Bruno Uetz, a founding member of the Saxony-Anhalt ensemble.
In a recent interview in Maryland’s Columbia Patch newspaper, Uetz said, “We were completely amazed about the suite. It was the best contemporary music for brass quintet we came in touch with in the last years, and by such a young but very well-gifted composer. Our Hungarian trumpeter, Zsolt Nagy-Major – who is the principal trumpet of the German National Theatre Weimar – fell in love with the piece immediately.”
Gover said he has been interested in music for as long as he can remember.
“I started piano lessons when I was 4 years old, wherein I developed perfect pitch, and when I was 10 years old I began studying French horn,” he said. “I recall composing little piano pieces in the latter half of my 9 years of piano lessons, but it wasn't until high school that I started taking it more seriously. In 10th grade I composed my first French horn concerto, in 11th my first brass quintet, and in my senior year of high school, my first orchestral piece.”
Gover said he fell in love with composition in high school, and was encouraged by his teachers and musical mentors to pursue it.
The ideas for his compositions “just come to me somehow, but they always stem from something I'm currently listening to. My biggest influences at the time (when he composed Children’s Suite) were the works of Viktor Ewald, Tchaikovsky, and Shostakovich. I composed the first movement in three months, the last movement in one month, and the middle movement in two weeks.”
SMU was selected by Gover because he said he wanted to study horn performance and the horn studio under Greg Hustis has an excellent reputation. A few weeks before the start of his first semester, he decided to also major in composition.
Professor of Composition Simon Sargon said, “Vincent is an unusually gifted young composer, whose work reveals an abundance of ideas and an abundance of moods.”
Gover said he was thrilled to have his piece chosen for performance by the Saxony-Anhalt Brass Quintet.
“It was truly an unimaginable experience, to have my very first published work premiered at the Kennedy Center,” Gover said. “I have been so fortunate to have had this opportunity, and I certainly hope it won't be the last.”