Davidson Fellowship Given to 17-Year-Old Composer



Timothy Andres

The Davidson Institute for Talent Development, which is a Nevada-based non-profit organization that has as its mission “…nurturing profoundly intelligent young people,” has awarded Timothy Andres, a gifted composer from Connecticut, one of its fellowships, which includes a $25,000 scholarship.

Timothy, who is just beginning his studies at Yale University, has already composed a substantial body of work. For the competition he submitted three piano pieces: a concerto, a sonata, and a suite. The works themselves are heavily invested in the composers who he cites as influences, a list which includes many Americans. “The concerto,” he says, “is the earliest of these pieces and shows the influence of Bartók, Stravinsky, and Prokofiev. The Sonata is a much larger scale piece in four movements; here I was influenced much more by American music, in particular Ives, Copland, Bernstein, Barber and Sessions. The Suite shows more contemporary influences, like Corigliano, Carter, Danielpour, Adams, Ligeti and Rzewski.”

“I think,” says Andres, “that now is a great time to be growing up compositionally, despite the obvious obstacles. I feel as if I am allowed to do whatever I want: I can be tonal, atonal, romantic, neoclassical, minimalist, jazzy, all in the same piece if it pleases me. I don’t think, historically, any other generation of composers has had this freedom.”

Future plans for this young composer include the completion of his first symphony, which he has already started. “It’s my largest piece to date,” he says. “Much of it was inspired by my new interest in the great Romantic symphonists. I don’t know if mine would be considered ‘romantic,’ even though deep down I am a sap. I think it’s appropriate that I wrote it while leaving the relative safety of high school and starting college.”

Other fellowships were awarded to 16 year old Devon Guthrie, who is not only a singer but takes existing American poetry—e.g. Emily Dickinson or Edna St. Vincent Millay—and “sets” the words to the music of illustrious American composers like Aaron Copland, Jake Heggie, and Ricky Ian Gordon, and to pianist Pallavi Mahidhara.