Missouri State University
Tyler Durham

Tyler Durham

Tyler Durham’s summer routine differed from your average teenager. Rising early each morning at 6:30, Durham spent his days writing a symphony.

Student scores national award with original symphony

His dedication and early mornings paid off when his symphony—“The New Frontier”—was chosen as a winner in the full orchestra category of the national Young Composers Challenge. Durham’s symphony modernizes the “American sound” and will be performed by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, the challenge’s sponsor, in November.

“The Young Composers Challenge is something I had been aspiring to for quite a while. It was one of my goals ever since I started writing,” said Durham, a Missouri State freshman and Nixa native.

Coming from a musical family, Durham has been performing as a vocalist, percussionist and pianist most of his life. His career plans changed his sophomore year of high school when he wrote the music for a film entered in SATO48, a local 48-hour short film contest.

“I am really passionate about writing music for television and film. You are required to have a lot of background knowledge to be able to match the sound an audience hears with what’s happening on screen,” said Durham. “I love digging down to figure out what is really going on in each scene and trying to establish what the music needs to bring out within the scene.”

Through the connections he made participating independent film projects, Durham is now working on the music for a new locally filmed television project called “Morning Light.”

Durham is excited to continue developing his portfolio at Missouri State, where he received the Claude T. Smith Composition Contest Scholarship for his work entitled “Piece for Piano, Marimba and Cello.” As a music composition and electronic arts double major, he hopes to score a larger film by graduation.

(This story first appeared as a Campus Notes in the Springfield News-Leader Oct. 31, 2011.)

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