2015 Running Start Competition
Video: Music students receive grants for entrepreneurial projects.
Two doctoral students in music performance in the MSU College of Music are off and running with projects that promise to influence their careers after winning an annual competition for musical entrepreneurship.
Joshua Ganger and Chelsea Koziatek were selected in March as first- and second-place winners in the 2015 Running Start Competition supported by the MSU Federal Credit Union. It was the first time in the three-year history of the competition that awards were granted for first and second place.
“All the proposals we saw this year were incredibly strong,” says Christine Beamer, competition coordinator and director of career services and music entrepreneurship. “We could see the potential in helping more students realize and execute their projects, particularly since so many were really exceptional.”
The committee awarded the first-place prize of $2,500 from MSUFCU to Ganger. The committee then secured additional funding from the College of Music to allow for a $1,000 second prize to be awarded to Koziatek.
“So many times, funding is a barrier to terrific ideas,” says Beamer. “We’re grateful to the generosity of the MSU Federal Credit Union in providing resources that can help students take their projects to the next level.”
Creating a repertoire
First-place winner Joshua Ganger had two goals when he set out to do his dissertation: he wanted to develop an expertise, and he wanted to solve a problem. He found a way to do both through “Bridging the Gap: Piccolo Trumpet Concerto”— a project that creates a new collegiate-level solo for the piccolo trumpet and establishes a consortium to finance and popularize the piece.
While the B-flat trumpet has evolved as the standard style, the smaller, higher-pitched piccolo trumpet has been relegated to specific orchestral pieces or solo repertoire for the Baroque period. Much of that repertoire, Ganger says, is extremely obscure or difficult, forcing students to borrow pieces from the oboe or other instruments when needed.
“When I first heard about the Running Start competition, I wasn’t sure if my project was exactly entrepreneurial, but I knew it was innovative,” he says. “So I entered, wanting to see what would happen.”
Ganger captured the attention of the committee with a well laid-out plan to close the gap in college-level repertoire by establishing a consortium that will commission and promote a piccolo trumpet concert from the well-known composer Jim Stephenson. Ganger says the piece will be ready by the fall of 2016, with regional premieres taking place through consortium members—including MSU.
“Josh knew exactly what he wanted to do and why it was important to him and to the larger musical community,” says Professor of Music David Rayl, a Running Start committee member. “The creation of a new repertoire is always important. In this case, the creation of a modern repertoire for the piccolo trumpet is a wonderful addition for trumpet players everywhere.”
Chelsea Koziatek was ecstatic when she heard she had been awarded the first-ever second-place prize through Running Start. She was also consumed by the idea of moving ahead with her vision for a project that combined music and food.
“I felt particularly honored that they took such an unprecedented step,” says Koziatek. “It gave me even more confidence that they believed in my project so much.”
Koziatek’s “Consuming Art Project” will explore the association between music and the culinary arts. The project involves a series of events in which local chefs and restaurants partner with area musicians to produce a multi-sensory experience in front of an audience.
“We have artists paint to music and we have composers take text and develop music,” says Koziatek. “But we never really combine taste and music.”
Koziatek hopes to have events in recital halls on campus, as well as in local restaurants. Her goal is to develop events based on seasonal, locally sourced foods, and to help bring music to general audiences in conjunction with the art of cooking. She says chefs will be able to preview the musical selection so they can plan their ingredients, but that the actual event will involve chefs preparing a meal to live music.
“We want the chefs to be out and visible, rather than in a kitchen, like it’s done in traditional dining,” says Koziatek. “It will be an interesting experiment to have a chef prepare a dish based on the music they hear.”
The Running Start Competition was developed by the College of Music and is designed to help students think about their careers in an entrepreneurial way, formulate new paths, and forge collaborations that bring artistry into real-world applications. Founded in 2012, the competition is supported by the MSU Federal Credit Union, and awards $2,500 to an individual or group of up to six students to be used toward a project that is likely to have a substantial positive impact on their careers.