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Jazz trio places at composition competition
Tim Cato / Senior Staff Writer
Three UNT College of Music students were awarded the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer award for their original compositions recorded this past year.
Aaron Hedenstrom, a master’s student in jazz studies, and jazz studies senior Drew Zaremba and junior Addison Frei were all first-time participants in the competition, which is hosted by the American Society for Composers and Publishers (ASCAP).
Richard DeRosa, a UNT professor of jazz composition, said he did not find it surprising when he heard about the award. He personally tutors Hedenstrom and Zaremba and had taught Frei in the past.
“All three are super talented and dedicated and take full advantage of the opportunity of our school,” DeRosa said. “These students have an extraordinary amount of talent.”
Hedenstrom’s piece was titled “The Sparrow Was Gone In An Instant,” Zaremba’s “Race to the Finish,” and Frei’s “The Grind.” They were three of the 29 students who were recognized by ASCAP through the competition.
Each student said they are fond of certain parts of their work. Hedenstrom was proud of the “types of emotional moments” he was able to work into his composition, while Frei looked for sounds that were “driving and enthusiastic.”
Zaremba’s motive wasn’t designed around musical qualities – he had a short time to work on the piece and had to “race to the finish” to complete the piece, explaining his title.
“I was thinking, ‘I better get this piece done,’” Zaremba said. “The title comes directly from the fact I needed to get the piece done quickly for a recording session.”
It is the first time in six years that a UNT student won at the competition.
“A lot of it comes down to helping other musicians and peers be aware of these opportunities,” Frei said. “A lot of these things exist but sometimes we just go over our heads. It just takes an awareness, and fortunately the school helped promote it this year.”
An undisclosed cash amount accompanied the award, which the students will use to help pay for college and to fund future musical undertakings.
The compositions can also be heard on each student’s website. To hear Hedenstrom’s piece, visit www.aaronhedenstrom.com. To hear Frie’s piece, visit www.addisonfrie.com and Zaremba’s piece is at www.drewzarembamusic.com.