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Alumnus transforms notes, chords and bars into harmonious melodies

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April 24, 2012

Bars, notes and chords flow and fill across blank sheets of paper, turning complex creations into musical masterpieces.

The art of creating and arranging music Alumnus John Hennecken conducts a Georgia College orchestra. Alumnus John Hennecken conducts a Georgia College orchestra.for different instruments into harmonizing melodies takes patience and skill — a skill Georgia College alumnus John Hennecken developed during his undergraduate studies.

“Composition is a unique job,” said Hennecken, ’10. “It’s more than just learning how to write music. You have to find a way to do it differently and hopefully develop personal style.”

The award-winning composer’s personal style became evident when he took first prize in the 2012 Southeastern Composers League Composition Contest for “Brass Quintet.”

“I felt a sense of vindication that my work was recognized,” said Hennecken, a professional trumpet player. “’Brass Quintet’ was an experimental piece for me, so it was exciting to see it succeed.”

Before Hennecken graduated Georgia College, Dr. Maureen Horgan, associate professor of music, asked him to write a piece for brass quintet that features the trombone.

“I told him if he would write it, I would play it,” she said.

Horgan featured Hennecken’s “Brass Quintet” during her 2012 spring recital, which became the world premiere of the prize-winning composition. Hennecken attended the event.

“Dr. Horgan has been fantastic in supporting my work,” said Hennecken of Augusta, Ga. “She played on many of my performances during my undergraduate studies.”

Hennecken earned his bachelor’s degree in music composition. Also a varsity baseball player, the student-athlete managed to balance his extracurricular activities while studying music.

“My most important classroom work was in music theory and composition with Dr. Douglas O’Grady,” the music major said. “When I arrived to Georgia College, I knew little about music composition. I wrote my pre-college pieces by improvising at the piano without much theoretical knowledge.”

Hennecken immersed himself in the field of music during his college career — from performing in Georgia College ensembles and writing music to recruiting performers and conducting his recitals.

Today, he serves as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Georgia Hugh Hodgson School of Music.

Hennecken recently wrote two new compositions, “Sonata for Trumpet and Piano” and “Soundscape for Clarinet and Electronics.”

Georgia College Music Department featured “Soundscape for Clarinet and Electronics” during its spring 2012’s Sound Sculptures 7 concert.

“I would tell other students interested in composition that they need to have an intense desire to write music and work on the craft as much as possible,” Hennecken said. “I am grateful that Georgia College offered me so many opportunities to have my music performed.”

ABOUT GEORGIA COLLEGE: Georgia College, the state’s designated Public Liberal Arts University, combines the educational experience expected at esteemed private liberal arts colleges with the affordability of public higher education. Its four colleges – arts and sciences, business, education and health sciences – provide 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students with an exceptional learning environment that extends beyond the classroom, with hands-on involvement with faculty research, community service, study abroad and myriad internships.

Founded in 1889, Georgia College boasts one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation with Corinthian columns fronting red brick buildings and wide open green spaces. Georgia College also offers graduate education at the historic Jefferson building in downtown Macon, at Robins Air Force Base and online.

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