Recent graduates

Very exciting news for acoustic/electronic composer and senior composition major, Daniel Miller. Click here for more details!


The January 25 Lawrence Symphony Orchestra concert will feature an unprecedented TWO world premieres by Lawrence student (and former student) composers! The orchestra will perform “All But Inescapable” by Nolan Veldey ’13 and “LUX: Fanfare for Brass” by Evan Williams ’11. At Maestro Más-Arocas’s initiative, there will now be an annual performance of an orchestral composition by a Lawrence student composer on one of the LSO’s regular concerts.

Join us for the video webcast Friday, January 25 at 8:00p.m. (CST).

Douglas Detrick ’06 and NOW Ensemble

by Joanne Metcalf on November 5, 2012

in Performance,Recent graduates

One of our biggest events this year is the residency of the NOW Ensemble, who will be teaching and performing at Lawrence Nov. 13-15, with a concert on Thursday, November 15 in Harper Hall. The concert will include a performance of Memorial by composer/trumpeter Douglas Detrick, one of our star alums. We’ve invited Doug to write about his piece and how his career as a professional musician developed after graduating from Lawrence.

Guest post by Douglas Detrick ’06
Douglas Detrick is a composer and trumpeter whose work straddles the worlds of jazz and contemporary classical music. He is the leader of AnyWhen Ensemble, a chamber-jazz quintet that will release its third album in 2013 entitled “The Bright and Rushing World,” a 10-movement suite commissioned by Chamber Music America. He graduated with a B.Mus. in Trumpet Performance from Lawrence University in 2006. Learn more at

About Memorial
The wonderful NOW Ensemble will perform a work I composed for them in 2010 called Memorial, written in honor of the late Jeffrey Cumpston, my high school band teacher and a close friend. Jeff was living in Zimbabwe with his family, teaching at an international school in Harare when he was killed in a bicycle accident in 2009. He was an incredible man, and had a profound influence on me when I was growing up. Though he was primarily a jazz drummer, he exposed me to jazz, classical music, folk music from around the world, and more, all with the same sense of wonder at the diversity of human expression.

Memorial is an attempt to honor Jeff’s influence in my life by creating a piece that I thought he would have liked. Jeff had the rare ability to listen to his students to understand their lives, but also listen to the potential that each of us had and to push us to achieve it. All music requires listening, but this piece is written so that all the musicians must listen to each other in order to perform it. The music is written in “spatial” notation where each note is played in time based on its position on the page in relation to all the others, not with traditional meter. All the musicians read from a score with all the parts, and so they must always be listening to their ensemble partners to know when to play their parts. Like in a living ecosystem, everyone must lead and react to their neighbors while working towards a common goal. It is a reflective tribute to a musician, father, and teacher who cared enough to really listen.

Life after Lawrence
After I graduated in 2006 I went to the University of Oregon to do a Master’s in Jazz Composition. I was a Graduate Teaching Fellow and had the wonderful opportunity to teach undergraduates while I was pursuing my own goals, which included getting better on my instrument, and to continue to write music that integrated my diverse musical interests into a cohesive statement. After I finished my degree and spent two more years in Eugene, Oregon, I moved to New York where I live still. As I try to continue achieving my musical goals it has been a big challenge to “pay the bills” both musically and financially at the same time, but I can say that this struggle has pushed me to learn many new things and to expect more of myself than I ever had before. Life as a musician can be challenging, but the struggle has made all the great experiences I’ve had with friends in music that much sweeter.

David Werfelmann ’06 received his M.Mus. from Indiana University at Bloomington in 2009 and is now a student in the doctoral program in composition at USC. David did a double major in theory/composition and percussion at Lawrence and graduated with honors cum laude for his film score for The Black Pirate. Several conservatory faculty worked on that project, including myself, Professor Fred Sturm (Jazz Studies), and Professor David Becker (Lawrence Symphony Orchestra). For his senior recital, David assembled and conducted an orchestra of nearly sixty students musicians who provided live accompaniment for the film.

David’s recital also featured four pieces of chamber music that he composed in the Lawrence composition studio, including the exciting, energetic Hypercolors for saxophone quartet. Listen to Hypercolor I, played by members of the Lawrence saxophone studio.

Listen – Jonathon Roberts ’05

by Joanne Metcalf on January 8, 2010

in Listen,Recent graduates

Lawrence composers write for all the instruments of the orchestra (and beyond), and we consider ourselves fortunate to have great artistic partnerships with all the performance studios in the Conservatory. The saxophone studio is one of our frequent collaborators and works by student composers are regularly performed by saxophone students whose numbers have included winners of the MTNA Young Artist Competition, the Lawrence Concerto Competition, and Wisconsin Public Radio’s Neale-Silva Competition.

This recording of Mary Ann by Jonathon Roberts ’05 features saxophonist Sara Kind ’05, who is now a Lawrence faculty member. Jonathon composed this piece for saxophone and piano when he was a junior at Lawrence. He is now touring the country as a composer/performer with his multimedia show Project Paul.

Many of our students go on to top graduate programs after Lawrence, but some go directly to careers as professional composer-performers, teachers, church music directors or electronic music artists. The composition program prepares students for all these paths.

Thanks to our partnership with our friends in the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra, every year we are able to read an orchestral work by an advanced composition student.

Unfolding for orchestra was played on the senior recital of Devin Burke ’04, a double-degree student who received a B.Mus. in Theory/Composition and B.A. in Anthropology. He describes the inspiration for the gradually developing, unfolding nature of the music as the stop-motion photography of flowers showing the gradual opening and closing of flowers with all the unique stages in between. Devin completed his M.A. in composition at UC Santa Barbara and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in musicology at Case-Western Reserve University.