Student Composer’s Work Crosses Frontiers

Opera by College of Music master's student selected for acclaimed Fort Worth new works series.

Evan Snyder reviews the piano portion of the aria for "A Capacity for Evil" with College of Music piano performance alumnus Neill Campbell.
College of Music tenor alumnus John Riesen reviews the first aria in "Capacity for Evil" for the role of Detective Daniel Lewis with Evan Snyder.

A master's degree student studying composition and music theory at the MSU College of Music is one of eight composers nationwide whose unpublished operas were selected by the Fort Worth Opera for presentation during their new works series Frontiers, funded in part by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

A 20-minute excerpt of Evan Snyder's work A Capacity for Evil will be presented during the 2017 Forth Worth Opera Festival, May 3-4, in Fort Worth, Texas, and will feature artists from the esteemed opera festival. Now in its fifth year, the critically acclaimed Frontiers series is considered a premiere showcase for new works by composers and librettists of 21st century opera.

“I just started my first degree in composition this year, so it’s very exciting to get positive feedback at this level,” says Snyder. “I’ve long been passionate about opera and the world of possibilities that the genre offers. So, I’m really enthused to see others sharing in my excitement.”

Snyder was mentored by Professor of Voice Richard Fracker and earned his bachelor’s degree in voice from the College of Music in 2014. He says that the skills he acquired in his voice program led him to pursue composition. Snyder cited support from his friend and MSU alumnus John Riesen (MM ’14) who helped him conceive and shape A Capacity for Evil—as well as faculty members Fracker, Professor of Music Theory Ron Newman and Assistant Professor of Composition Alexis Bacon—who have helped him along his path to becoming a professional musician.

Bacon, assistant professor of music composition, began working with Snyder in the fall of 2016 during his fist semester as a master’s student. She described his music as extremely lyrical and carefully crafted. She added that Snyder is tremendously resourceful at seizing opportunities for performance and professional development—a skill she says is particularly important for today’s composers.

“This is a huge opportunity for an early-career composer,” says Bacon. “The Fort Worth Opera has been a leader in commissioning and performing new opera and nurturing talent. He will have the opportunity to work with musicians and arts managers that are at the top of their game, and get valuable feedback from professionals. I have no doubt that Evan will make great use of this opportunity to further his growth as a composer.”

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