Junior, Trey Makler Wins Prestigious Sinquefield Composition Prize



Lauren Petterson – MUTV 23 News Staff Writer


MU undergraduate student, Trey Makler has been awarded the Sinquefield Compostion Prize for his original composition entitled Elysium.

The prize includes a scholarship to MU and the performance and recording of an original piece commissioned for the annual Chancellor’s Concert.

Makler began his musical career when he decided to join band in the 6th grade. He knew how to play the saxophone and the drums prior to joining band. Along the way he learned to play the oboe, which is his primary instrument now.

“When I was in 7th grade, I went to a band camp and they introduced us to Finale,” Makler said.

Finale is computer software that allows users to compose original works. This was the beginning of his interest in composition.

Around his junior year of high school, Makler began to show his compositions to his band and choir directors. He says they were supportive of him, and gave him opportunities to showcase his original works.

“My choir director programmed a piece of music that I had written my senior year, and at our spring concert we sang it.”

Originally, Makler had intended to be a Music Education Major, but during his summer welcome, he decided to be a Composition Major, which he is still committed to, now in his junior year.

Makler says that his professors at MU have encouraged him greatly in his composition endeavors. The small size of the composition program has allowed him to foster good relationships with his professors.

According to Makler, his composition process does not have a rigid structure.

“I find that I almost always will lean towards a more natural method of just letting the ideas kind of come and go as they please, and I’m just the conduit.”

His inspiration for Elysium came from a particular image of Forrest Park.

Once his new composition for the Chancellor’s Concert is completed, Makler will be able to work with the conductor and musicians that will perform his piece in the University Philharmonic Orchestra. He will work with the musicians in rehearsals to make sure that what he writes is appropriate and achievable for the musicians performing it.

“I think the relationship between composer and musician is really, really important,” Makler said.

As a performer himself, he understands that having a bond between the composer and the musicians allows for the musicians to understand what the composer’s true intentions were, and to give feedback to the composer.

With plans to graduate with his bachelor’s degree from MU and then immediately enter a graduate program, it is important for Makler to have recordings of his original compositions. Several graduate school programs require large ensemble recordings of applicant’s compositions, so opportunities like this are very helpful. Composition competitions require high quality recordings of pieces as well, so this opportunity will also allow Makler to enter additional competitions.

In the his remaining time at MU, Makler intends to continue to develop his compositions skills.

“I’ve had a lot of really great opportunities here, and I look forward to continuing to have great opportunities here,” said Makler.




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