Music professor with local ties honored

Published 1:52 am Sunday, February 22, 2009

A UAB music professor with ties to Chilton County earned a prestigious designation recently with his original composition.

University of Alabama at Birmingham Assistant Professor of Music William Price, D.M.A., was named the 2008 Music Teachers National Association (MTNA)-Shepherd Distinguished Composer of the Year for his work, “Hardboiled (Red Harvest).”

Price, a 1989 graduate of Chilton County High School who also attended Jemison High, said it was his aim to create an energetic and engaging piece of music.

“‘Hardboiled (Red Harvest)’ is a single movement work scored for clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, percussion and piano,” Price said. “The piece was inspired by the crime fiction of Dashiell Hammett and the iconic visual imagery associated with 1940s film noir, including the interplay of light and shadow, the use of distorted camera angles and disjunctive narrative techniques (flashbacks and flash-forwards), and of course, the obligatory car chase.”

The composition’s subtitle refers to Hammett’s 1929 novel “Red Harvest.” The work was premiered at the Alabama Music Teachers Association State Conference in June 2008 and will be performed at the Music Teachers National Association Conference in Atlanta on March 29.

Price also was awarded a $3,000 prize.

“My current research focuses on the use of temporal disruption and its effect on the progress of the musical narrative,” Price continued. “As it relates to the work, I explore three concepts usually associated with discursive semantics: the brief, yet violent interjection, the extended interruption, and the longer musical digression. It was my aim to create an energetic and engaging piece that focuses on the juxtaposition of dissimilar tempi, texture and timbre, yet somehow maintains a sense of continuity and direction.”

Price earned his bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of North Alabama in 1995, and earned his master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees from Louisiana State University in 1998 and 2004, respectively.

“My favorite composer is Igor Stravinsky,” he said when posed the question.

Price is married to Robin Hilyer, is the son of Shelton and Donna Price, and the brother of Lynn Price.

More about MTNA

The MTNA-Shepherd Distinguished Composer of the Year Award is given to the composer of the most outstanding composition submitted as a state-commissioned work.

MTNA is a nonprofit organization of nearly 24,000 independent and collegiate music teachers committed to furthering the art of music through teaching, performance, composition and scholarly research. Founded in 1876, MTNA is the oldest professional music teachers’ association in the United States.