Goshen College senior wins music composition competition

Jake Smucker
Jake Smucker

Goshen College senior Jake Smucker, a music major from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, won the 2015 Indiana University South Bend (IUSB) String Quartet Composition Competition with his work “Un Quatour à l’Envers.”

Smucker studies composition with Dr. Jorge Muñiz, associate professor of music at IUSB, who encouraged him to enter the competition. Smucker’s first-place winning work, chosen by the members of the Euclid Quartet, will premier April 17, 2015 at 7 p.m. at the Louise E. Addicott and Yatish J. Joshi Performance Hall at IUSB, part of the last concert of the first season of Ensemble CONCEPT/21, dedicated to new voices in Michiana.

“Un Quatour à l’Envers,” which translates to “a quartet in reverse” in French, is unusual in that, unlike most compositions, it begins with complexity and moves toward to simplicity.

“In my study of classical musical forms such as the sonata, I was struck by how a melodic idea typically moves from simple to complex, then back to simple at the piece’s conclusion,” Smucker said. “I wanted to explore the musical possibilities by reversing that familiar progression in ‘Un Quatuor à l’Envers.’”

“Writing this piece was tricky because it’s surprisingly difficult to go against the simple to more complex progression,” Smucker said. “Mostly, I had to work backwards and write simple to complex first, then reverse it.”

The IUSB String Quartet Composition Competition is open to students enrolled in Michiana high schools or colleges, whose work has never been published, publicly performed or awarded a prize at a competition.