Minnesota Varsity 2013 composer Spencer Hammersten of Circle Pines is eager to try again next year.
“Caelum Priscus,” his composition for flute, clarinet and oboe, advanced to the Featured level in the Minnesota Public Radio competition for high school classical instrumentalists and composers—one step shy of the winning Showcase level.
The four composers named Featured Round Artists were given a day-long workshop with professional composer Carol Barnett, a year-long membership to the American Composers Forum and a college scholarship.
Hammersten said, “I would like to repeat the whole Varsity thing. It was a really good experience.”
A sophomore student of Rachel Weidman, band director at North Lakes Academy, the 15-year-old wrote the piece for two instruments he does not even play: Hammersten plays piano and clarinet, but not flute or oboe.
He started piano at age 5, he said, in a group class at the Yamaha Music School. Later he switched to private instruction.
He’s also made some transitions in his schooling. Through Grade 4 he attended Rice Lake Elementary School, part of the Centennial district. From there he moved to the DaVinci Academy of Art and Science, a charter school in Blaine.
Hammersten calls North Lakes Academy “easily the best school I’ve gone to so far.”
The school is referred to as “small, safe and successful,” he said, and he agrees with that assessment.
Hammersten is thinking of studying computer engineering in college, he said, but “at the very least, I will definitely minor in music.”
To see his score online, visit www//mpr.org and type “hammersten” in the search box.