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MSU Profiles

Composing a rewarding journey in the world of music

Erik Anderson began playing the piano at the age of three.

Anderson, a senior, currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in music, is the son of music faculty and discovered at a young age the passion that has continued to stay with him to this day.

“My love of music grew and grew the more I explored,” said Anderson, “but it was at Minot State where I was able to build a foundation.”

Anderson’s primary instrument is his voice, but he also plays the saxophone and continues to dabble with the piano. In addition to performance, Anderson has composed many works. One of his most memorable compositions was featured in the Theatre program’s 2016 production of “The Chalk Circle.” Anderson not only wrote the music but also performed it live with other musicians during the play’s performance.

Anderson’s greatest skill, however, may be his drive to maximize every opportunity available to him. He is a teacher’s assistant in the aural skills program, a performer in the concert choir, concert band, jazz band, new music ensemble, and a member of Blue House, a jazz band that he created and performs with outside of school.

“In music, you can’t make it by just going to class,” said Anderson, “It takes a lot of effort outside the class, playing your instrument, immersing yourself in music.  A teacher will guide you but you have to put the work in.”

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Delanie Molnar - Clarinet, Zi Ang Han - found percussion and Michael Malis - Piano perform Erik Anderson's piece Hrvatska Rag.

Last summer Anderson traveled to Milna, Croatia to perform at a music festival with other college students. This was Anderson’s first time traveling outside of North America.

“It was cool to experience the local culture, history and cuisine,” said Anderson. “Plus, I got to swim in the Mediterranean nearly every day.”

Anderson had the opportunity to perform and discuss music with students from all over the world.

“We all came from very different backgrounds, culturally and musically,” said Anderson. “I learned a lot in the daily group discussions, musical improvisations and afternoon rehearsals. It was cool to have my piece, the Hrvatska Rag, performed live in front of me, and it was also fun to learn and perform other composers' pieces. All in all, it was one of the best experiences of my life, and I would go back there in a heartbeat.”  

Looking to the future, Anderson plans to attend graduate school in a big city where he can cross paths with other like-minded composers and musicians and eventually find an avenue suitable to his creative interests, such as film scoring or owning a jazz club.

Anderson credits Minot State’s music program as a fundamental part of his success.

“The faculty have such a depth of knowledge and can demonstrate what it is to be a good musician,” said Anderson. “It’s also a small enough department where you get the chance to be in a leadership role and not get drowned out by the competition.”

While music is all about timing, Anderson has proven time and again that hard work and passion are a golden formula for his continued success.