BOZEMAN – It’s been an award-winning year for composer and Montana State University Professor Eric Funk.
Funk has won numerous awards for his affiliation with the documentary “The Violin Alone” and the Montana PBS show “11th and Grant” that features musicians from all across Montana.
Now he has another accolade to add to this list. Funk won “Gold Medal – Best of Show” at the 2018 Global Music Awards, an international competition.
“I entered my ‘Concerto for Piano, Opus number 71’, my first piano concerto of three, and I had a wonderful recording with Phil Auburn on the piano and the Latvian Symphony Orchestra,” Funk said. “So I submitted that. It’s a really complicated and wonderful piece. I thought it might be too modern. It’s an international festival, so I wasn’t really sure.”
Funk, who can play most instruments, says his talent was nurtured at a young age.
“My parents were both professional musicians, so all of us kids are also. We really didn’t have a choice. We had a two-and-a-half-hour concert; we were like the Von Trapp family. We had uniforms, we sang as a choir, each of us played three instruments in different combinations, and we’d do these fundraiser concerts for my dad’s professional choir who was touring in Europe,” he said.
Funk says he also draws inspiration from this place most of us love to call home.
“My music reflects this landscape, all the way from the subtle lighting of eastern Montana over by Miles City, and the Hi-Line, where I lived 8th grade through the junior year of high school,” said Funk. “So those subtle places of Glacier Park, which I just love, to this beautiful Gallatin Valley, the space, the altitude—it’s just magical, you know, living here. Every time you look around you’re like, ‘Wow, and I live here.’”
Funk says the School of Music is a microcosm of MSU as a whole, with “lots of people winning prizes and awards, creating national and international attention, shining it on the university, either directly or inadvertently.”
His advice for young musicians? Don’t wait for others to encourage you, just trust the creative process.
“As Dave Gilmore, the guitar player for Pink Floyd said, if you touch one person in the entire world, that’s just magical,” said Funk. “You don’t have to make contact with ten thousand people, just one person who is changed by the experience. It’s a motivator.”
Story by Patrice Parks, MTN News