Composition Alumnus Receives Fellowship to Aspen Music Festival

Susan and Ford Schumann Center for Composition Studies hosts top international composers during festival.

Phillip Sink takes a bow with NOTUS: IU Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, during his premiere of “Fire and Ice,” Auer Hall, Bloomington, Ind. Photo © Scott Scheetz.

The opportunity to create, collaborate and re-energize his composing career at Michigan State University set College of Music alumnus Phillip Sink (MM 2012) on his path to a coveted composition program through the Aspen Music Festival.

Sink, who is currently a doctoral fellow at Indiana University, will attend the Susan and Ford Schumann Center for Composition Studies this summer where he will work with internationally renowned composers. Only eight to 10 students are accepted each year and receive full fellowships. Students are selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants from around the world.

“When I started at MSU, I faced a complete restart of my career after taking years off from composing,” says Sink who simultaneously earned both a master’s in music composition and music theory pedagogy. “In the three short years at MSU, I was able to develop my compositional voice and hone my technique and craft.”

Sink says his former professors at MSU are still his biggest advocates and the key to his success. Ricardo Lorenz was among them.

“Phil is both in tune with the world around him and at the same time in tune with his inner self, allowing the two to feed off each other and to live in harmony and balance,” says Lorenz, an associate professor of composition and chair of the composition area. “It is difficult to make students understand that, above all, music composition and art in general is an act of love. Pure and simple. I think Phil has always understood this.”

Sink’s music has been performed in the U.S. and Europe, at many conferences and festivals, and has been read by prominent orchestras. While Lorenz was his primary instructor at MSU, Sink also worked with Professors Jere Hutcheson and Charles Ruggiero. 

Phillip Sink takes top honors at Aspen’s Music Festival. See follow up article about the Hermitage Prize.

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