I asked both Steven Snowden and Ivan Trevino a question. They answered.
I asked a couple of the most popular composers today to give me a 3 – 5 sentence response during a little Q&A. Here’s what they said.
Question: If you had to point to one musical or technological skill you think every upcoming composer should have, what would it be and why?
Steven Snowden: I would say that web design is one of the most important skills for any upcoming composer to develop. Having a clean, intuitive website is hands-down the best promotional tool you can have and it goes a long way toward broadening your reach beyond your local community. Additionally, maintaining private collaboration blogs has become an essential way for me to organize and streamline the commission/composition process while keeping performers in the loop every step of the way.
The music of Steven Snowden has been described as “Beguiling… combining force with clarity” (San Francisco Classical Voice), “Wonderfully dynamic” (Interlude Hong Kong), “Rustic, red-blooded” (New Music Box), and “Marvelously evocative” (Cleveland Plain Dealer). Writing music for dance, theater, multi-media installations, and the concert stage, he is equally at home writing acoustic and electro-acoustic music and has taken a keen interest in interdisciplinary collaboration and live electronic audio manipulation as a tool for improvisation.
Snowden’s work often deals with concepts of memory, nostalgia, and the cyclic nature of historical events as they pertain to modern society. While his musical influences are deeply rooted in bluegrass, folk, and rock, he utilizes non-traditional techniques and processes to compose works that don’t squarely align with any single genre or style.
A native of the Ozarks countryside, he began composition studies in 2002 at Missouri State University and subsequently earned his Masters degree at the University of Colorado and Doctorate at the University of Texas. In 2012-2013 he was a Fulbright Scholar in Portugal, researching and implementing motion tracking technology as a means to facilitate collaboration between music and dance. In 2013-2014, he was a visiting professor and composer in residence at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and is the co-founder/director of the Fast Forward Austin Music Festival. He currently works as a freelance composer and is on an eternal quest to make the perfect breakfast taco. I recently commissioned Steven Snowden to write a piece for solo timpani.
Ivan Trevino: It’s difficult pinpointing one technological skill that upcoming composers should have, as the medium changes so fast and offers so many different things for so many different types of composers. For me personally, it’s been the ability to record high quality audio / video representations of my compositions to showcase on platforms like YouTube, SoundCloud, etc. Learning about mic placement, EQ, video editing, and other recording techniques has been quite helpful.
(b.1983) Ivan Trevino is an award-winning composer, percussionist, and rock drummer currently living in Austin, TX.
As a composer, Ivan’s music is regularly performed around the world and has become standard repertoire in the field of percussion. He is a multi-award winning recipient of the Percussive Arts Society’s International Composition Contest and has composed over 30 works for the percussion idiom, many of which were commissioned by leading performers and universities in the field.
Ivan is also a songwriter and percussionist with Break of Reality, an international touring cello and percussion quartet. As a member of Break of Reality, Ivan has headlined concerts across North America, South America, and Asia and was named a music ambassador for the U.S. State Department in 2015. His drumming and songwriting with Break of Reality have been heard on NPR, PBS, Huffington Post and Yahoo Music.
In addition to composing and performing, Ivan is also an active educator. He is a member of the percussion faculty at Baylor University and frequently attends colleges and universities as a guest artist and lecturer. He is currently an artist / clinician for Malletech Instruments and Mallets, Zildjian Cymbals, Evans Drumheads, and Meinl Percussion. In 2014, Malletech collaborated with Ivan to design his signature marimba mallets, which are now distributed to percussionists around the world.
Away from music, Ivan enjoys writing and blogging. His 2014 blog post “My Pretend Music School” received widespread acclaim, sparked debate about music school curriculum, and has reached over 45,000 readers to date. He occasionally writes stories and poetry, and recently completed Space Junk, a children’s story accompanied by music, set to release in 2017.
Ivan received a BM and MM from Eastman School of Music, where he went on to design and teach a course in music business before moving to Austin in 2014.