September 21, 2004

ASCAP honors SIUC's Frank Stemper

by Paula M. Davenport

CARBONDALE, Ill. - - For the 16th year in a row, experimental music composer Frank Stemper has won a prestigious award for his work from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, or ASCAP.

Stemper is a professor of music composition, theory and computer applications in the School of Music at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He also directs the school's Center for Experimental Music and is director of its graduate studies program.

The ASCAPlus Cash Awards recognize composers whose works have unique prestige value for which adequate compensations would not otherwise be received, according to ASCAP, the world's largest performing rights organization, which collects royalties for more mainstream works.

Orchestras and ensembles all over the world have performed Stemper's innovative compositions, most recently at Poncho Villa's Palace in Chihuahua, Mexico; in Romania, Italy, England, Germany, on the Millennium Stage at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and at numerous American universities.

Stemper's award carries a $500 cash purse.

"It's not much by pop music standards, but it's a nice pat on the back anyway," says Stemper, the son of a psychiatrist father and a mother who sang jazz.

Next month, some lucky music lovers in Milwaukee will be able to hear Stemper on keyboards accompanying his 85-year-old mother, who'll sing at a benefit concert.