SHSU music professor rewarded for ‘Symphonia’

Sam Houston State University not only has professors teaching historical music, they are also winning awards and being recognized for their own new compositions.

Brian Herringon, professor in the department of music theory and composition, was invited and recognized for his music at the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers this past December.

At the awards ceremony, Herrington was honored with two awards for young composers under the age of 30-years-old. He received the Morton Gould Young Composers award and the Leo Kaplan award, the highest award given to a composer in this age range.

The work created by Herrington that was recognized was his classical piece “Symphonia.”

But this is not the only time Herrington has been recognized for his work. Before the fall 2006 semester, a piano piece of Herrington’s music was selected by a jury of the International Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany. He said attending the event felt historical and was a real learning experience.

“The school was founded in 1946 and being there you just feel like a piece of history,” he said. “Some of the best composers went there and attend there. I attended two weeks of lectures, lessons and concerts. It was amazing.”

He said that being acknowledged for his achievements and work in America was quite a thrill.

“Being recognized for these awards was very exciting,” he said. “It was important for me because these were American awards and I’ve already had a lot of attention in London and Germany it’s nice to know locally people are noticing the music.” Herrington said his music derives from his Texan roots.

“I was raised in Silsby, so my music draws off my background in the country,” he said. “I guess in New York it’s considered ‘exotic.’ I live in Texas and draw on Texas folk songs and what I’ve grown up with.”

The award-winning piece “Symphonia” was previously commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society in England was played by the London Sinfonietta, which is considered one of the best small orchestras in London.

“You’re talking about a handful of the best players in England,” he said. Herrington studied composition at the Royal Academy from 2001-2004 and is currently completing his Ph.D. dissertation from the Academy.

He said he encourages students to move around and keep their options open for their education.

“Just always keep in mind that you can end up anywhere,” he said. “Try to travel and expand your horizons as much as possible. I took my undergraduate classes at Lamar University in Beaumont and ended up in London.”

Herrington has been teaching at Sam Houston since the fall of 2004.

For more information visit the Web site http://www.brianpherrington.com.

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