“I got into piano during the pandemic. I’d bang around on it,” said Tyler Shaver ‘24, “I play a classical instrument, but I push it to make different sounds.”
Those sounds are getting attention.
A piece he wrote called “Sitting on a City Park Bench at Night,” is in the spotlight at National YoungArts Week in Miami, Florida. Shaver is attending the conference as a YoungArts Award with Distinction winner in the classical music/composition category. He’s also in the running for a nomination to be a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts.
Through composition, Shaver has worked to create his own unique voice. He said, “What inspires me for art is conceptual and abstract. I like to start with an argument or idea. For instance, in “Sitting”, it was an argument against people viewing music as inherently natural…In the piece I had music imitate the sounds of car horns and jackhammers to show that music is just as artificial as it is natural.”
Shaver’s goal with music is to give the listener a concept and challenge an idea that person might have. When he goes to Northwestern University next fall, he’ll be majoring in music composition and philosophy – a purposeful choice.
“Philosophy Club has helped me explore how people think and approach the world, which has allowed me to do that with my music,” said Shaver.
His Saint Ignatius College Prep Fine Arts teachers are proud of their student’s prodigious growth.
Ms. Mary Ellen Schneider said, “For someone to know how to compose in high school is unbelievable. Tyler is writing lofty music for someone his age. It’s exciting because he’s connecting the dots with all his music study. It’s really inspiring.”
Mr. Jason Steffen added, “Usually students don't complete the compositions Tyler’s doing until college and beyond. The music he selects - that avant garde style - is important.”
It’s one reason Shaver chose Northwestern as the place he’ll continue his music studies.
As the member of the Wolfpack prepares to become a Wildcat, he said with a smile of accomplishment, “Northwestern University has one of the most boundary-pushing music schools in the country.”
To hear Shaver's "Sitting on a City Park Bench at Night," just click here.