Alumnus Profile: Graduating Music Major Matthew Star Wins Louis Sudler Prize!
Above photo: Matthew Star (CC '12) and Sarah Dooley (BC '11) in the recording studio. Click to enlarge.
Graduating Music Major Matthew Star wins Louis Sudler Prize
The Department of Music congratulates graduating senior and music major Matthew Star, who has been awarded Columbia's prestigious Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts. The Sudler Prize is awarded annually to a graduating Columbia College senior who, in the opinion of the Faculty, has demonstrated excellence of the highest standards of proficiency in performance or execution or in the field of composition in one of the following general areas of performing and creative arts: music, theatre, painting, sculpture, design, architecture, or film.
Mr. Star was awarded the Sudler Prize for his senior honors thesis, which entailed producing a new album of music by Sarah Dooley's (herself a Barnard College alumna, 2011). This project grew out of conversations Mr. Star had with the Computer Music Center's Terry Pender about what it means to be a 21st century music producer, especially with the advances in recording technology. Star writes that "after [these] discussions, I read as much as I could about record producing and recording techniques to learn how to use all of the Computer Music Center's recording equipment and microphones. Sarah had always wanted to record an album of her original songs; she's an amazing songwriter but she's always been a solo artist, meaning each song only has vocals and piano parts. In producing her album, I arranged and recorded instrumental parts, and then mixed them all together." He also worked extensively with Prof. Brad Garton, Director of the Computer Music Center.
Two of the completed songs produced by Mr. Star for Ms. Dooley's album may be heard at Ms. Dooley's website: http://sarahdooley.bandcamp.com/
Mr. Star is spending the summer in New York City, recording, building up his music library and doing freelance jobs, as well as scoring a web series and a video game, and recording as much music as he can. He plans to continue his career in music and media production.
Mr. Star is also bassist for the band Capital, which features fellow Columbia graduating seniors and Jazz Performance Program students Jesse Chevan and Evan Johnston.
Matthew Star Biography:
Mr. Star got his first taste of music with piano lessons when he was 6 years old. Growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, he performed a lot of music, but his only experience with any form of composing in high school was writing a musical about a nuclear apocalypse for a senior project. When he came to Columbia, Mr. Star initially was a Film Studies major; however, he switched to the Music Major in his sophomore year after taking a music theory class with Adjunct Professor Ramin Arjomand, and as he increased his involvement with plays and musicals on campus.
At Columbia, Mr. Star composed music and lyrics for the 116th Varsity Show and XMAS 4! as well as many other plays on campus, including, more recently, KCST's outdoor production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Additionally, he composed music for a short film entitled "Dear Hunters" that won Best Picture at the Columbia University National Undergraduate Film Festival and was accepted to the Seattle International Film Festival. Last summer, he had the opportunity to work in the Film Music Department at Walt Disney Studios, learning about the film and music industries. After graduation, Mr. Star will continue composing for films and producing songs. Currently, he's producing the remainder of BC '11 alum Sarah Dooley's album (which began as his senior honors thesis), as well as the album for Capital, a band he started in his freshman year with fellow CC seniors Evan Johnston and Jesse Chevan.