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Music grad finds creative expression in composition

With his heart set on writing music for the movies, Garrett Krause is determined to get his name out there as a composer
June 10, 2015

After high school, music gradudate Garrett Krause took time off to work, then headed overseas to study piano at the Vienna Conservatory of Music. Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

After graduation, Garrett Krause will continue to work on his German and composing; next summer he hopes to begin studying in Paris with one of the most famous composition teachers in the world. Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

After graduation, Garrett Krause will continue to work on his German and composing; next summer he hopes to begin studying in Paris with one of the most famous composition teachers in the world. Photo by Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

Garrett Krause was always interested in composing music. But he thought he needed a “magical, epiphany moment” before he could actually do it.

It was when his piano teacher, Linda Kundert-Stoll, told Krause that he could start writing music “right now” that he decided to go for it, recalls Krause, who convocates from the University of Calgary Wednesday with a Bachelor of Music degree in composition and a Bachelor of Arts in German. 

For Krause, 28, who thrives on expressing himself creatively, “composition is a great avenue for that.”

Since he began writing music seven years ago, Krause has won several local, provincial and national composition awards, including the 2014 PEI Symphony Celebrate Canada Composition Competition, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown Conference on confederation. Krause’s winning orchestral piece, ‘Where Pines and Maples Grow’ is a fantasia on Canadian folk tunes, built on themes drawn from Canadian history.  

Born and raised in Calgary, Krause began studying with Kundert-Stoll after high school, and completed his Grade 10 piano and Associate of the Royal Conservatory (ARCT) diploma in piano performance with her.

A lot of musicality and ability

“With regard to his piano, he was always very determined. He works hard and has a lot of natural musicality and ability,” says Kundert-Stoll, an alumna with a master’s degree in music in piano performance. “He is very smart and very capable. I think that if he chooses to become a composer he will be very good at it, because he does whatever he sets his mind on. He just has to find the opportunities and to keep going with it.”

After high school, Krause took time off to work, then headed overseas to study piano at the Vienna Conservatory of Music.

“I really fell in love with the musical culture there, and also with the language,” says Krause, who is of German descent, and learned to speak German while in Vienna. “There is so much musical history tied to that place — getting to see that was quite an experience. It really spurred this desire to go to university when I was back in Canada.”

On his return home, Krause enrolled at the University of Calgary, studying music, composition and German.

A context kind of guy, interested in the ‘more beyond’

Pianist Charles Foreman, professor emeritus of music, describes Krause as a very special student. “He is a thoughtful kind of guy. He is a context kind of guy,” says Foreman, who taught Krause in the last three years of his music studies. “He is a person who can really use a university education at its most valuable. He is very good at drawing out what I know about music, which includes how to play this piece we’re looking at — but there is more beyond that, and he is very interested in the ‘more beyond.’”  

As he looks ahead, Krause wants to continue developing both his German language and music composition — and he plans to get his name out there as a composer. His heart is set on writing music for the movies, and he wants to study composition next summer at the Paris-based European American Musical Alliance, where programs follow the techniques of Nadia Boulanger, one of most famous composition teachers of the 20th century. And at some point, he’d like to do a master’s degree in music, in Austria