Alum Smith-Wilson named semi-finalist in division of The American Prize

Johnny Smith-Wilson
Johnny Smith-Wilson

Johnny Smith-Wilson, who earned his degree from the Glenn Korff School of Music in 2018, was named a semi-finalist in the Composers student instrumental Chamber Music division of The American Prize. Smith-Wilson composed String Quintet No. 2 "Lawurl".

Smith-Wilson was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He started out in music when in the Atlanta Public Schools system. His instruments are violin, piano, and steel drums. He is a former member of the Atlanta Public Schools Youth Orchestra. He has received masterclasses from the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in violin performance during his tenure in grade school. He also worked with the Orchestra as an intern in grade school. He is an alumnus of North Atlanta High School. He attended college and received a Bachelor’s in Music: Commercial Composition and Piano Pedagogy and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for Graduate School where he studied at the Glenn Korff School of Music and received his Master’s degree. He is a former student of Professor Thomas Larson. He was a student in the Film Scoring Concentration of the Music Composition Graduate Program. Smith-Wilson is currently a freelance composer and takes private lessons to develop his compositional skills.

String Quintet No. 2 “Lawurl” was premiered and recorded at Kimball Recital Hall in front of a live audience. This work received excellent reviews. The term “Lawurl” comes from the Aboriginal dialect Wagiman; this means spirit. The work tells the story of a development of a theme over time. The work is constructed as a four movement Quintet written in Sonata-allegro Form. It is written in cyclic form. It consists of Leitmotif and Thematic Transformation. The main theme is presented in Movement I (Andante con anima maestoso) and is developed, recomposed and reconstructed in the subsequent movements.

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