Composer Blogs@Sequenza21.com

Stefanie Lubkowski received her bachelor's degree in Music and Technology and Guitar Performance from Connecticut College, in New London, CT. In fall of 2005 she will begin a masters degree in composition at New England Conservatory, where she will study with Lee Hyla. Stefanie's past teachers include Noel Zahler, Yehudi Wyner, and Pozzi Escot. Stefanie has written for various chamber ensembles and electronic media. Her most recent commission was El Hombre de Plata, an electronic tango premiered at the Auros Groups for New Music "Tangothen & Now" concert in Cambridge, MA.

Stefanie's musical interests and ambitions are wide ranging. She enjoys putting her iPod on shuffle and letting it spit out a mix of electronica, 20th century string quartets, Tom Waits, punk rock, 1930s orchestral tangos, Einsturzende Neubauten, early American blues, Beethoven, Johnny Cash, and opera. She hopes that one day her music will be heard on concert stages around the world, independent films, computer games, car commercials, radio (or its future equivalents), and anywhere else music is being enjoyed.

Friday, December 30, 2005
semester break

I finished my first semester at NEC on December 19. I really love the program there, so much so that I will apply to continue through the doctorate. The professors are great, and other students are wonderful. Itís a total music environment, and one I find so stimulating that in addition to the three pieces I completed during the semester, I have three more waiting to be realized. Next semester will be devoted to the most ambitious of those projects: an orchestra piece inspired by the Nortec Collectiveís Mexican electronica. This will be the second orchestra piece Iíve written, and itís far more complex than the first; Iím planning significant percussion parts event though I know nothing about writing for percussion. Iíll be consulting with percussionists quite a bit.

Right now, Iím doing some sketches for my orchestra piece in short score. My previous orchestra piece was written in full score the whole way, partly because my teacher wanted me to do it that way, and partly because I had very specific timbral ideas. With this piece, thematic development is more important, so short score seems like the right thing to do.

Once again, I am worried about my ear training skills. I have to re-take the ear training proficiency exam on Jan 17. I had been practicing steadily Sept-Nov and making plenty of progress. But then with the stress of my Dadís illness and routine end of the semester panic, I stopped in December. Now Iím back at it, but itís unclear how much of my previous progress stuck, and Iíve only got 2 weeks!
The most important lesson that Iíve learned at school this semester is not a healthy respect for ear-training. It is that the more experimental or challenging things that I have written are more successful than I think they are. This semester I had to write two things that challenged my skills or plunged me into unfamiliar territory: a trombone etude for orchestration class and a rhythm ďmorphingĒ exercise for composition seminar. In both cases, I brought my work into class thinking ďthis is going to sound terrible and be a dismal failure.Ē And both times, not only was my piece not a failure, but it was praised by the player and/or professor as not only meeting the requirements of the assignment, but also as being well-done. My teacher even suggested I turn my rhythm exercise into a full percussion piece (which I will do in the near future). Iíll have to keep this phenomenon in mind as I dive into my orchestra piece.