Andrew Savage composed his first full piece of music in the spring of his freshman year of high school.

His concert band broke up into chamber groups for the spring, and Savage’s quartet was a little unusual. There was Savage, on French horn, and then three band mates on trumpet, trombone and bass trombone.

“That’s definitely not a standard instrumentation,” he says. “I was looking for other things we could play, but I ended up writing my own thing. I wrote that within two days and it was a two-minute-long piece.”

Savage began playing around a bit with composition in middle school, where he first took music classes and played in a band, but the Green Hope High School graduate from Cary hadn’t written a full song until then. And it certainly wouldn’t be his last.

This past August he enrolled as a music composition major in UNCG’s School of Music, Theatre and Dance. Now he has 10 original compositions to his name, including a 10-minute-long piece his symphonic band premiered. It took him a lot longer than two days to write that piece.

“I had a lot more parts to actually flesh out — at least 20,” he said. “I was drawing inspiration from a lot of contemporary concert band composers who we had been listening to in class.”

Besides playing in his high school band, Savage has also performed with an all-district honor band, which pulls together top high school musicians from several school districts, and his church band. He played in the Triangle Youth Philharmonic for one year and for two years in the Triangle Youth Brass Band. He also attended Governor’s School East in 2013 for instrumental music as one of just eight French horn players in the Governor’s School system.

Savage hopes all that experience, plus the college education will lead to a career scoring soundtracks for films and video games.

“I’ve been listening to that all my life,” he says. “As a film score composer, you really have to know how to do all kinds of genres. You have to be, I guess, liberal with all the styles you want to incorporate.”

Savage heard about UNCG from a high school band mate and friend, two years older than him, who also attends UNCG.

“What drove home UNCG for me is I felt most at home here,” he says. “The feel of the campus and all the opportunities there are wonderful.”

Savage, who was also accepted to the UNCG’s Lloyd International Honors College, received scholarships from the honors college and School of Music, Theatre and Dance.

“It really made me feel like the feeling was mutual, that we both wanted each other,” he says. “It just seems like the perfect fit for me.”

After finishing his bachelor’s degree, Savage hopes to get a master’s degree in film music composition.


Story by Mark Tosczak, contributor
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Relations