By Olivia Lee
Genevieve Eckel graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Composition last year along with an impressive list of accomplishments. She earned the President’s Scholar Award as well as scholarships from San José State University and other programs such as the National League of Pen Women. Genevieve also won the Allen Strange Memorial Composition Prize from the San José Chamber Orchestra.
Her years at SJSU were fruitful and enlightening—she became an expert of music composition, uncovering the intimate details of writing music. Genevieve explains, “I learned to understand the anatomy and role of each instrument in an orchestra, how each pitch relates to others, and how they may form sequences that are meant to establish a concept for the listener.”
Other than technical details of her field, her studies helped broaden her perspective of music. “Not only did I learn how to expand my creative horizon, I was influenced to consider a more practical and business–oriented side of composing,” Genevieve says. For her, music composition developed from being a personal creative outlet to a prominent career path.
During her undergraduate years, Genevieve got several chances to apply her skills with major clients. She was commissioned to compose a four-movement piece A Journey, to the Center for the San José Chamber Orchestra. Her piece premiered live at the Trianon Theatre in San José.
Additionally, a SJSU professor introduced Genevieve to a director and cinematographer, who commissioned her to write a film score for their documentary The Ambassador of God. She was in charge of the entire music production: from creating the initial composition, to formatting the scores and their individual parts, to finding and recording her own performers, and to mixing and blending the tracks with instruments. The film score experience gave her a first-hand insight into different facets of composing for film.
In each of her projects, she balanced her creativity with her clients’ needs. “Every piece may not be a grand expression of my inner self,” Genevieve explains, “but projects to fulfill the appeasements of clients who trust you with their creative expressions are just as satisfying.”
Her successes at SJSU were just the beginning for her career. Since graduating, Genevieve continues to thrive in the field of music. Over the summer, she worked as the Music Director and Instrumental Instructor for The Arts Project of Orange County, a private art school in Southern California. She had many responsibilities from marketing, networking, and managing schedules for the music department—all of which gave her a glimpse into the field from an administrative perspective. She also taught a variety of instruments, such as the piano, guitar, and the ukulele.
Her variety of experiences help her determine what she truly wants to do in the music field. “I intend to write music for film, documentaries, TV series, video games, and whatever I can get my hands on,” Genevieve says. In the fall, she will attend New York University to obtain a Master of Music in Scoring for Film and Multimedia to further pursue her dream.
Even though Genevieve is moving on to bigger projects and a new school, she remains grateful to San José State University. She believes that the faculty here is always looking out for each student’s best interest and utmost success. “The music department is like my family,” says Genevieve, “and I will miss them tremendously.”