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MTSU alumnus Dave Sartor on musical success: ‘It’s...

MTSU alumnus Dave Sartor on musical success: ‘It’s not a destination, it’s a journey’

MTSU alumnus Dave Sartor pushed out success after musical success in the 2017-2018 academic year and only strives to do better.

An accomplished composer/conductor as well as an MTSU adjunct professor, Sartor walked into the summer of 2017 with the world premiere of his “The Saints of Sewanee” in July at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival. The performance was conducted by Eric Bubacz and performed by Sewanee Festival Brass.

He followed that up in October 2017 when his “Reveries for String Orchestra” were performed by Orchestra Unlimited in Houston, Texas, at the Midtown Arts and Theater Center under music director Kirk Smith.

In this undated photo, MTSU alumnus and adjunct music professor Dave Sartor directs the Parthenon Chamber Orchestra. (Submitted photo)

In this undated photo, MTSU alumnus and adjunct music professor Dave Sartor directs the Parthenon Chamber Orchestra. (Submitted photo)

“Every performance is a little different,” said Sartor, who holds a master’s in music from MTSU. “That’s what makes it so magical.”

While his music has been on the upswing, Sartor has been an active conductor for MTSU and area musicians. The composer/conductor also travels with his own group, the Parthenon Chamber Orchestra, an orchestra he directs and that performs not only historical pieces but works by living composers as well.

Just this spring, Sartor’s orchestra performed in the “Bachanalia 2018,” which is a six-hour regional festival of works by Johann Sebastian Bach at Christ Episcopal Church in Nashville, Tennessee. The group has also performed in a summer concert featuring the “Reveries for String Orchestra,” Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 3” and the Strauss “Horn Concerto No. 1” with Jennifer Kummer as soloist.

In addition to Sartor’s busy year, he’s been recognized with numerous awards that included:

  • The American Bandmasters Association’s Ostwald Award for Symphonic Wind Ensemble Music
  • The National Fine Arts Award
  • A New Music for Young Ensembles composition prize
  • His 28th ASCAP PLUS awards for compositions
  • A “highly commended” award in England’s Oare String Orchestra’s third annual International Music for Strings Composition Contest

Sartor also spends some of his time as an adjunct professor/lecturer teaching Intro to Music and other courses in the MTSU School of Music. The best part of teaching, he said, is making breakthroughs with some of his students.

“It’s easy to teach someone who is getting a degree in music because they’re going to get it anyways,” said Sartor. “The most amazing thing is to see someone not majoring in music tell me my class was worthwhile.”

The conductor, composer and lecturer wants nothing more than to do his job well, but still feels like he has a long way to go.

“Music is the finest creative art because you are literally weaving art out of air,” said Sartor. “You can always write something that sounds good, but I encourage people to look back and see if you can do it better.”

— Keundrea Simpson (news@mtsu.edu)

In this undated photo, MTSU alumnus and adjunct music professor Dave Sartor and members of the Parthenon Chamber Orchestra take a bow following their performance. (Submitted photo)

In this undated photo, MTSU alumnus and adjunct music professor Dave Sartor and members of the Parthenon Chamber Orchestra take a bow following their performance. (Submitted photo)


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