When people hear the phrase “He’s a drummer,” stereotypes often come to mind.
|UAB’s William Price was recently selected as a 2006 American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) Standard Award recipient for the seventh consecutive year. “I think the award inspires composers to try to do more,” he says. Price has had his compositions performed and premiered in Athens, Greece, and the Ensemble Rosario from Argentina, among many others. |
Some think of a wild, crazy guy who will do anything and speaks gibberish, like The Who’s Keith Moon or the Muppets’ Animal.
William Price, D.M.A., is not that kind of guy. He never really was.
Sure, he’s had the long hair. He’s even beat the skins in rock bands – some good ones that didn’t make any money, and some very bad ones that netted him $300 or more a night in his college days. Go figure.
“That’s the music business for you, right there,” says the UAB assistant professor of music theory. “Just because something is good doesn’t mean it’s going to be the next big thing. It doesn’t have to be good to be big.”
Listen to a Top 40 radio station and you’ll know Price makes a valid point.
But Price wasn’t just aimlessly passing time in all those rock bands. Or the jazz bands, marching bands or concert bands in which he played. He was after more than the next gig’s paycheck. He was vested in all parts of the music and the way every piece melds together to form a work of art for the ear.
“When I first heard Igor Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’ and Frank Zappa’s ‘Joe’s Garage’ album when I was 18, I remember being just blown away,” Price says. “From then on, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to compose music.”
It turns out that all of the work put into those bands and the countless hours spent listening to his favorite records have helped Price achieve his goal. And to top it off, he’s been recognized nationally for doing what he loves to do. Price recently was selected as a 2006 American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Standard Award recipient for the seventh consecutive year.
Chosen by an independent panel of classical music professionals, recipients of the awards are chosen based upon the unique prestige value of each writer’s catalog of original compositions, as well as recent performances, recordings and publications.
“It’s a nice way to reward those who are producing and having their works played,” Price says of the award. “I think the award inspires composers to try to do more.”
Price’s music has been performed at many international concerts and events around the country and the world. His pieces have been performed and premiered by the Contemporary Ensemble of the Conservatory in Athens, Greece, plus the Louisiana Sinfonietta and the Ensemble Rosario from Argentina, among many others. His works, which have been broadcast on public radio stations throughout America, are published by Honeyrock, Dorn Publications, Cimarron Music, Conners Publications and IROM Music.
Price’s research interest is the music of late 20th century composers, especially Zappa’s music. In fact, Price is working on an in-depth musical study of Zappa’s contemporary classical music.
What does Price consider the secret to composing? Well, he says, there isn’t any big mystery – time and effort both play strong roles.
“Sometimes it takes a while to compose a piece, and other times it takes a little bit longer,” he says with a laugh. “I guess in some ways it’s like writing a novel. Sometimes it goes in different directions, other times it dies on the page.”
Price, second-generation teacher in his first year at UAB, has been impressed with the talent of the students in the Department of Music, many of whom have shown a knack for composing, he says. Among the guidance he gives them is some of the same he has given himself through the years.
“It’s like any art,” he says. “It’s something you always have to work at.”