Multiple awards and recognition, commissioned compositions, performances by international groups. The list of accomplishments seems too long for a young professor. Yet, for all his accomplishments Carlyle Sharpe remains a quiet, unassuming young man, devoted to his craft - music composition.
A pianist since age six and a composer from his teenage years, he graduated summa cum laude from Rice University's Shepherd School of Music with both his bachelor of music and master of music degrees. He went on to obtain a doctor of musical arts degree from Boston University and taught there for seven years. Seeking a more fulfilling academic environment, he brought his many talents to Drury last year.
Within the world of composition, he has written just about every kind of music - choral, instrumental, solo vocal; he just completed his biggest project to date, a 26-minute piece for chorus and orchestra. It was premiered in November in Providence, R.I. "I'm very intrigued by the role music plays in films," he says. "I am interested in the prospect of scoring for film and would welcome the opportunity to work in that setting."
Eager to discuss his love of composition, Sharpe describes his approach to writing music. "When I'm given a text, it is like a film composer seeing the film. The film dictates the music. Composers who aren't successful at setting text may be the ones who don't believe this. They decide what the music should be and make the words fit. For me, the text gives me my map."
Attracted to Drury during a search to return to the Midwest, he was particularly drawn to the idea of teaching in a liberal arts setting. "I enjoy the one-on-one teaching opportunities that Drury provides. His composition courses and a course in the GP21 program, Introduction to Western Music, give him the chance to become immersed in the liberal arts side of teaching. "Composing for a film, much like opera, brings together many creative facets of the arts," he says. "This type of creative environment seems to be quite similar to the 'cross-pollination' we encourage in the liberal arts setting."
As a fairly new member of Drury's faculty, Sharpe agrees wholeheartedly with the music department's goal to experience growth, and would like to see the program have a higher visibility on the campus and in the community. He would like to see the University extend its reach nationally and draw students from a wider range of communities. "I'm very positive about it," he says. "Already, after just one year, I see progress toward getting more national exposure."