Laurier music grad honoured

Wilfrid Laurier University graduate Nick Storring has been awarded the Toronto Emerging Composer Award by the Canadian Music Centre.

The award was created to promote the work of Canadian contemporary classical composer and recognize the excellent work of music creators who “exhibit innovation, experimentation and a willingness to take risks in their work.”

The prestigious title is accompanied by a $5,000 dollar prize meant to benefit the artistic development of the winning composer.

Storring completed an undergraduate degree in music composition at Laurier, with an emphasis on the cello, while also delving into the field of improvisation.

After graduating from the program in 2005, Storring went on to a master’s degree at Toronto’s York University, where he continues to pursue his passion of musical composition.

Prior to determining the contest winner, the Canadian Music Centre requires applicants to pitch a concept to a jury.

Storring’s proposed work was inspired by composer Charles Stepney, who provided the orchestration to the album Come To My Garden by Minnie Riperton.

Storring described the piece which won him the award as “an orchestral piece, using all kinds of instruments you might not see in a normal symphony, layered over computer generated music.” The result, said Storring, is a “fairly organic, yet produced feel.”

The Canadian Music Centre will publicly present Storring with the award on May 15 at Koerner Hall in Toronto. The presentation will be a part of the finale concert in the Esprit Orchestra’s New Wave Young Composer’s Festival, which will feature Storring’s 2003 composition “Remember How We Used To …?”

In terms of his own musical tastes, Storring is “really diverse, very literally.”

He continued, “I stay away from current top 40, that doesn’t interest me.” Otherwise, the composer does not limit himself to enjoying any particular genre but instead favours all kinds of sounds from pop and 60s soul to Bollywood-inspired beats.

Storring is involved in a wide variety of musical projects, and his work often accompanies projects in theatre and film.

At 29, Storring has enjoyed many successes. In 2008, his broken violin based electronic piece “Artifacts (I)” won First Place in the Jeux de Temps/Times Play Competition for Canadian electroacoustic composers. When asked about the future of where this career will take him, Storring asserts that he hopes only to “be able to sustain myself doing the things I love.”

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