STLCC Student to Attend Prestigious Summer Music Festival
A student in the music program at St. Louis Community College has been chosen to participate in the 2021 Sewanee Summer Music Festival.
Margaret “Greta” Stiegler, who is studying composition, will attend the festival, considered one of the nations’ premier summer training programs in orchestra and chamber music. It is slated for June 19-July 18 at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn.
The festival was established in 1957 to provide a comprehensive training program emphasizing performance experience. Sewanee not only prepares students for the challenges professional musicians must meet, but also makes them lifetime lovers of music. Each summer, 200 aspiring musicians ages 12 to those enrolled in graduate school from all over the United States and abroad join more than 50 teachers, performers, and internationally recognized guest artists to create a musical community in Sewanee. Within this community, students receive musical training of the highest caliber and draw from the wealth of experience of a distinguished faculty.
“To my knowledge, Greta is the first STLCC students to be selected for this festival,” said Jerry Myers, DMA, professor of music and director of choral activities at Meramec.
Stiegler found out about the festival by reading the biographies of winners of composition competitions she was entering. She applied in part to get an orchestra piece read by the Sewanee Symphony.
“I hope to learn how my music will be sound by a real-life ensemble,” Stiegler said. “I’ve never had that experience before. Hearing how my music sounds in real life will help me be a better composer.”
The Lafayette Square resident’s passion for music derailed a potential career in the sciences. While studying physics at Missouri University of Science and Technology from 2017 to 2019, something kept interfering with Stiegler’s coursework.
“I kept hearing music in my head all the time, and it was increasingly distracting me from my studies,” Stiegler said. “I realized that I really wanted to compose music in the second semester of my sophomore year. After the school year ended, I looked up online how to read music and then wrote my first short piano piece. Because music isn't a major one can just go into right away whenever they want to, community college really was my only option.”
Upon her arrival at Meramec, Myers immediately discovered that Stiegler had a creative talent that was ready to be unleashed.
“She was eager to compose from day one. I quickly learned that Greta’s ambitions and creativity far exceeded her experience and training,” Myers said. “Like many creative artists, her ideas went in many different directions at one time. But she has a focus and dedication to this craft that is simply outstanding. It is the focus she put into her musical studies at Meramec and the dedication she gave to learning and growing that led to her acceptance into the Sewanee Summer Music Festival.”
Thomas Zirkle, professor of music, describes Stiegler as a highly motivated student who keeps the teacher “on his toes.”
“She is easily one of the most prolific composer-students I've ever had in my class – she even wrote a three-movement marimba sonata for me last semester,” Zirkle said. “I expect great things from her future and look forward to seeing what she is able to achieve.”
Stiegler hopes to attend Western Michigan University, and is waiting to hear if she has been accepted. Her alternate plan is to attend the University of Missouri-St. Louis to study music composition and piano. She also would like to learn to play the accordion.
The immediate future, provided COVID pandemic restrictions allow, is an experience Stiegler will long remember.
“This is a competitive festival for collegiate music students, and Greta will thrive in an environment where she will work with some of the world’s finest music instructors and alongside other very talented young musicians,” Myers said. “To have one of our students in this festival is quite an honor for our program. It does not surprise me that it is Greta who will be the first student to represent STLCC and Meramec Music at this festival.”