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Ryan Hanson '11: Science, Society and the Arts

On Composing "Wintertime"

Ryan Hanson is a senior politics major with a minor in music from Suffolk, Va. He is presenting Wintertime, his original composition for voice, piano, viola, in a live performance by W&L students Ellie Duvall '11, Pearson Nibley '11 and alumnus Andy Budzinsky '10 at W&L's Science, Society and the Arts conference on March 4, 2011.

Watch a video of Wintertime

How long have you been composing music?

Formally, I have only been composing music for about a year and a half, but I have been writing music since I was about twelve. I have been in about four bands since the 8th grade, writing guitar and vocal parts. Last year, under the direction of Dr. Terry Vosbein, I began writing music scores and am currently working on a new piece for the applied recital at the end of Winter Term.

How did you become interested in composing?

After taking music theory. I had the musical niche before, but being able to apply the theory helped me become a better composer.

Describe Wintertime. What was your inspiration and what were you hoping to achieve with this piece?

Wintertime is a piece about love. It seeks to balance tension and release, as one feels sorrow when they are away from their loved one, but understands that when they are together all is right with the world. Winter is a symbol throughout the piece and Love is the only warmth that can conquer the cold in the wintertime. The piece speaks of all the joy they will have when they are together.

What was the most interesting part of the process for you?

The most interesting part of the process for me was writing the piano. I have little piano experience and this was my first piece writing for the instrument. One of the coolest things about being a composer is I can write for an instrument I cannot play well.

What inspired you to participate in Science, Society and the Arts?

I was asked by my professor to present the piece at SSA. I was surprised and excited to hear that the music department was interested in showing my piece.

Do you plan to continue composing in the future?

I hope to continue to write in the future. I am planning on going to law school but will continue to compose music as a hobby.