Senior Spotlight: Antoni Soroka Posted on May 8th, 2020 by

The “Senior Spotlight” series honors graduating fine arts majors for their contributions to the Gustavus community.

Antoni Soroka is a music major from Saint Peter, Minn. His future plans include pursuing a master’s degree in music composition. The Douglas Nimmo Professor of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra James Patrick Miller says he met Antoni as a high school student and knew right away he would go far in music. “Antoni is very thoughtful, kind, a great listener, and demonstrates a sincere desire to learn every day,” he says. “The combination of his work ethic and humility are a model for all students.”

We asked Antoni to give us a little insight into his time at Gustavus and how he’s “staying musical” while living at home.

What do you look forward to most about life after Gustavus?
AS: I’m looking forward to going out into the world and composing and arranging music that is thoughtful, meaningful, and fun for both audiences and performers. I feel like I’m just starting to find my niche in the music world, and I’m eagerly awaiting what chances will come my way to explore that. At the end of the day, I’m just excited to see where life takes me; the possibilities truly are endless!

What will you miss most about music at Gustavus?
AS: I’m definitely going to miss being surrounded by so many people who are passionate about music and getting to know them and call them my friends. I’m also going to miss being able to perform with such amazing ensembles. In the days since the move to online classes, I’ve really come to understand just how fortunate I was to have had all of these amazing opportunities.

What’s a favorite memory you have from your time in music here?
AS: I always enjoyed traveling with the Gustavus Wind Orchestra. It’s a lot of fun to share music with younger students while spending time with your friends. I especially remember the final performance of our tour last spring where the sunlight cut through the clouds as the closing piece of the program sprang to life.

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to high school students considering Gustavus?
AS: Don’t be afraid to try something new and different! There are a lot of opportunities to grow and discover your own path through life. Making those kinds of decisions can be intimidating, but you will have plenty of guidance and support from both the faculty and your peers.

How are you continuing your music in your new surroundings?
AS: Currently, I’m doing a lot of score studying and short composing exercises to improve my composition and orchestration skills. I’m also spending my free time absorbing as much music as I can. I’ve been listening to everything from classical to hip-hop to bluegrass and pretty much everything in between.

What has it been like to “be musical” at home?
AS: It’s really been a logistical challenge. Because everyone at my home has such drastically different schedules, it’s been interesting to figure out how, when, and where to practice and complete my conducting assignments without disturbing anyone else. Lately, the garage has become my recording studio!

What professor has made the biggest impact on you and why?
AS: Dr. Heidi Johanna Miller and Dr. James Patrick Miller have definitely made the biggest impact on me. The two of them have encouraged me the most to grow as a musician, a composer, and a person from day one. They’ve always believed that I could achieve my dreams, and they’ve done what they could to nudge me closer to my goals. They’ve even given me opportunities to have my music performed live! To them, I am very thankful.


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