Senior student wins composition competition

Posted on February 21st, 2005 by

Paul Fraser ‘05

Paul Fraser ‘05

While still in grade school in Sioux Falls, S.D., Paul Fraser was playing piano and trumpet and participating in jazz band and wind ensembles. At Brandon Valley High School, where he was awarded the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award for his trumpet prowess, he started writing contemporary and jazz piano pieces in his spare time and put together a CD of his compositions in his senior year.

On February 5, 2005, Fraser, now a senior at Gustavus Adolphus College majoring in music and computer science, learned that his composition Chimera had been selected as the winner of the second annual Caltech-Occidental Composition Contest for new music for concert band. The contest drew entries from all over the world, and as the winner, Paul will receive a cash award and a recording of the world premiere of the work at a concert by the Caltech-Occidental Concert Band in Pasadena, Calif., in May.

As a student at Gustavus, Paul continued to write piano music and various chamber works and began studying the euphonium. During his sophomore year, he formed a progressive funk/jazz/rock band called the Organ Donors, which has begun to perform in southern Minnesota locales. He started work on Chimera, his first large-scale composition, during the summer of 2004. The four-minute wind orchestra piece incorporates several different genres: contemporary, jazz, funk, and even a little rock influence.

This year, Paul became a member of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, the College’s touring wind band ensemble, and began private lessons on the tuba. “I find myself evolving to lower and lower sounding brass instruments,” he jokes. He is also busy writing a new wind orchestra piece, which is nearing completion. He counts as his musical influences Eric Whitacre, Frank Mantooth, and Chick Corea, among many others.

Following his graduation this spring, Paul, who is the son of Marti and Brian Fraser of Sioux Falls, S.D., plans to pursue graduate study in composition.


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