Andrew J Ardizzoia
Assistant Professor, Music
My style of teaching composition does not follow a “one size fits all” model. Self- examination and critiques from others are vital, and I encourage my students to constantly ask how and why they arrived at their musical decisions. Deep engagement with the material is also absolutely necessary. My job is to determine what a young composer wants to achieve, then provide the techniques, advice and models that will best help them toward that goal.
I believe the study of music theory has the ability to transform students’ engagement as creators, performers and listeners. My goal is that students become critical enough in their thinking to move past asking, “What is this?” to a more sophisticated stance of, “Why is this?” Music theory also provides insight into how music functions as a manifestation of the creative impulse and frequently invites discussion of the allied arts, history, aesthetics and science.
As a conductor, I think carefully about how best to expose ensembles and audiences to programming that is simultaneously accessible, thought-provoking and educational. I’m particularly interested in eclectic programs that juxtapose very different pieces in a refreshing way. I strive to foster excellent musicianship and camaraderie in my ensembles, regardless of major.
Research, Scholarship or Creative/Artistic Interests
As a composer, my research involves creating new works that explore my constantly evolving musical language. My process involves the careful manipulation of musical parameters to create works with engaging surfaces and solid structural underpinnings. In each work I chart a careful path between organization and intuition, between plotting each event and letting my materials lead me down unexpected side roads. I believe in directness of expression, intent, execution, elegance of line and economy of means. I use idioms ranging from Bach to Bernstein to Boulez, using those that best suit my expressive needs at any given music. I like to think that I create works that dialogue with the past but that also reflect the times in which we live.
I find inspiration in poetry, architecture and the visual arts, yet I revel in the freedom afforded by pure musical abstraction. Some of my recent works have been inspired by sources such as the buildings of Philip Johnson, and the drawings of Richard Serra. My interest in poetry has led to works involving texts by poets such as Dickinson, Whitman, Lorca and Blake.