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College of Music students, alumnus create premier online resource

UNT College of Music doctoral students of music composition Zach Thomas, Ermir Bejo, Mike Smith and Seth Shafer, along with alumnus Dan Tramte, have joined forces with a team of experts in music, video, fundraising and copyright law to create a cutting edge online resource for composers and performers to discover new music.

They developed an online resource, Scorefollower.com, where they produce videos of original composition recordings, along with their scores, also known as sheet music, and post them to the YouTube channels Score Follower and Incipitsify for musicians to view. Scores from prominent UNT faculty, including Joseph Klein, Panayiotis Kokoras and Andrew May, have been featured through the project.

“We really want to be a premier source for discovering and learning about contemporary music on the web, and feel we can be a hub for that,” said Thomas, who also is a director for Scorefollower.com. “Everyone on our team is obsessive about new music, and we want to share that excitement with people both inside and outside this community.”

All music is acquired legally and has been cleared by composers, performers, publishers and record companies. This allows the Scorefollower.com team to provide users free access to a large array of material on a readily available platform – YouTube.

“We wanted to provide a type of experience – viewing a score while listening to the recording – otherwise only available to a privileged few, namely students and faculty affiliated with a college or university with a large catalogue of new music,” said Tramte, who is also the founder and a director for Scorefollower.com. “Our viewers simply click a link, experience the piece, and appreciate the musician’s abilities to communicate, interpret, and execute an array of unusual sounds. We hope that our efforts are extending the interest in new music on a global scale, and in fact, we have regular viewership from countries all over the world.”

 The concept for Scorefollower.com came to fruition after two of Tramte’s works were featured on the Incipitsify YouTube channel. He decided to create his own channel, Score Follower, and began uploading his videos. As his channel grew, he stayed in contact with the creator of Incipitsify, who turned the channel over to Tramte in 2015.

From there, he put together a team of like-minded new music enthusiasts who have helped build the project. Now, Incipitsify primarily offers a broader survey of the field of contemporary classical music, featuring both student and established composers. The Score Follower channel is treated more like an ongoing curated concert, with works having been composed within 10 years of the initial channel creation date. He says the response to the project has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We regularly receive comments on our videos ranging from a simple ‘thank you for uploading this piece,’ to entire anecdotes about how our project is finally making it possible to access new music,” Tramte, who received his Ph.D. in music composition from UNT in 2015, said. “We’ve also been told by professors that they use our videos in the classroom, by young composers that our videos helped to inspire them to pursue composition in school, and by performers that they have programmed works by composers they learned about on our channels.”

Creators of Scorefollower.com encourage composers to submit their recordings for consideration. It not only builds the catalogue of works, but helps musicians strengthen their resumes.

“Composers love being featured on our channels,” said Bejo, a director for Scorefollower.com. “It grants them an unprecedented level of exposure within the new music community.”

The Scorefollower.com team says engagement has continued to grow and they are excited to expand their project to include more content and resources for current and future users.

“We take great pride in our work, and we are pleased to be part of a team that takes the time to give back to the new music community through this project,” Bejo said. “We hope to continue to contribute to a growth in awareness and appreciation of contemporary music.” 

About the UNT College of Music

The College of Music is one of the largest and most respected comprehensive music schools in the world. Approximately 1,600 music students attend the college each year, participating in nearly 70 widely varied ensembles while engaged in specialized studies in performance, composition, conducting, jazz studies, music education, music history, music theory or ethnomusicology.  Music students, alumni and faculty have made appearances on the world’s finest stages, have produced numerous recordings with many receiving Grammy awards and nominations, and have written influential texts in a variety of areas in music scholarship.  Distinguished University alumni can be found around the globe in top music ensembles, opera companies, universities, and schools. 

-Courtney Taylor, news promotions

Posted on: Tue 26 January 2016

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