MSU Earns Hermitage Prize

Music composition alumnus receives coveted award for prestigious artist retreat.

Sink and fellow composers take in sights outside of the Aspen festival. Shown here at Maroon Bells, left to right: Katie Balch, Phil Taylor, Carolina Heredia, Melody Eötvös, Tonia Ko, Phillip Sink.
Composer fellows and composition faculty pose after a recital in Harris Hall. Front Row: Will Cooper, Melody Eötvös, Sunbin Kim, Tonia Ko, Steven Stucky Back row: Phil Taylor, Phillip Sink, Carolina Heredia, Syd Hodkinson, Weijun Chen, Michael Small

A young composer with strong ties to the Michigan State University College of Music was recently selected to attend a six-week residency at the prestigious, invitation-only Hermitage Artist Retreat, as well as a $1,000 stipend to cover expenses.

Phillip Sink was awarded the Hermitage Prize in August after capturing the attention of a renowned jury of composers during his summer fellowship at the Composer's Showcase at the Aspen Music Festival and School. The jury selected Sink based on his experience to date, as well as their faith in his future work.

“I can’t think of a more appropriate use of the term ‘up-and-coming’ than when referring to Phillip Sink,” says Ricardo Lorenz, an associate professor of composition and chair of the composition area. “His achievements to date position him to not only enjoy a great career as a composer but to also become an influential voice in the national and international music scene.”

Lorenz said that Sink’s success is due in great measure to the originality and quality of the music he creates.

“I am very proud of the fact that MSU has contributed in some way to his success,” Lorenz says.

Sink earned his master’s degrees in music composition and music theory pedagogy in 2012 from MSU where he also served as a graduate assistant in music theory. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in music composition/theory and music education from Appalachian State University. He is currently a fellow at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he is pursuing a doctoral degree in music composition with a minor in electronic music and music theory.

Sink’s music has been performed in the U.S. and Europe and at many conferences and festivals including the 2015 Aspen Music Festival, 2015 Art and Science Days, Bourges, France; 2015 SEAMUS conference, 2015 N_SEME, 2014 Electroacoustic Barn Dance, 2012 World Saxophone Congress, and 2012 North American Saxophone Alliance (NASA) national conference. Other honors include winning the 2015 Dean’s Prize for chamber music at Indiana University, 2015 Boston New Music Initiative Call for Scores, 2015 Innovox Ensemble’s Call for Scores, 2013 Kuttner String Quartet Composition Competition, and the 2013 NOTUS Prize.

“I was shocked to be selected for the Hermitage Prize,” Sink says. “This prize is such an incredible gift of time and space in which to compose without the normal distractions of life. During the residency, I plan on composing my dissertation, which is a piece for orchestra.”

Lorenz remarked that an artist community is a great place to get major work done, confirming Sink’s thoughts.

“Having myself benefited from different artist retreats, I am certain that the Hermitage Artist Retreat will be a powerful artistic and spiritual experience for Phillip, one that will bare fruits beyond the specific work he will compose while in residence there,” Lorenz says. “I am extremely proud of my former student, friend, and colleague.”

Source: Hermitage Artist Retreat/Aspen Music Festival and School Press Release – August 24, 2015

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