PSU Professor Jonathan Santore Wins PSU’s Award for Distinguished Scholarship

August 24th, 2011 by Adam

Jonathan C. Santore, Plymouth State University Professor of Music Theory and Composition, was presented the University’s Award for Distinguished Scholarship at a campus ceremony August 24. Santore, a nationally and internationally recognized composer, chairs the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Plymouth State.

The Award for Distinguished Scholarship is presented annually to a member of the faculty whose body of creative and scholarly works is recognized for its rigor, originality and expressiveness, both within and beyond the Plymouth State community. Nominations are solicited from all constituencies of the campus community.

Dr. Jonathan Santore wins Plymouth State University’s Award for Distinguished Scholarship
Dr. Jonathan Santore

In announcing the award, PSU Provost Julie Bernier said Santore’s reputation as a renowned scholar in the field of music composition brings distinctive acclaim to Plymouth State University and adds a unique dimension to the educational experience he provides for PSU students.

Santore’s compositions have engaged and excited performers and audiences throughout the U. S. and Europe. Named the 2010 Individual Artist Fellow by the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, he also serves as Composer in Residence for the New Hampshire Master Chorale, which won the “Best of N.H. 2008” award from New Hampshire Magazine in part for works Santore created for the ensemble.

“My primary goal as a composer is communication—passionate, urgent communication. I am willing to work in whatever genre, with whatever materials, to make that communication possible. I am interested in sincere, direct engagement with the music I hear, in whatever style or tonal language, and I hope that performers and audiences find that in my work,” Santore said.

For Santore, teaching, composing and nurturing new talent is why he came to PSU. “I’m here because I want to be on fire with the life of the mind,” he says. “I want my students to see how passionate I am about music, and I want them to be just as passionate. I am grateful to my colleagues and students at Plymouth State, who have encouraged my compositional work throughout my career here.”

Colleagues say Santore has “a disciplined and creative approach to the compositional process,” and speak of his “ability to present knowledge in a clear and concise manner.” One said “he writes and wins competitions in very different genres, which is rare.” Another said, “his works induce a visceral experience with the listener.”

Santore’s secondary scholarly activity is music theory, specifically music analysis, the study of musical structure. Fellow theorists have commented that his “composer’s eye” viewpoint in analysis (primarily of 20th century opera) has provided them with unique and valuable insights into the compositional structures and materials of the works he has analyzed.

Santore was a winner of the 1999 American Composers Forum Welcome Christmas! Carol Contest, and was named New Hampshire Composer of the Year for 2006 and 1999.

Other awards for his compositions include Second Prize in the 2007 University of South Carolina Choral Composition Contest, Finalist in the 2005 NUVOVOX Choral Awards and the 2003 Penfield Music Commissioning Project/Wegmans Band Composition Contest, Special Mention in the 2002 British Trombone Society/Brass in Association Composition Contest, Honorable Mention in the 2000 Britten-on-the-Bay Composition Competition, and performances at the New Hampshire Music Festival, the national conferences of the College Music Society, the International Clarinet Association, the North American Saxophone Alliance and the Society of Composers, Inc., and the Ithaca College Choral Composition Contest.

His works have been performed by ensembles including Minnesota’s VocalEssence Chorus, the Choir of Rochester Cathedral, England, and Conspirare (Austin, Texas), and have been broadcast regionally by Maine Public Radio and Television, and nationally by Public Radio International.
He has conducted performances of his own compositions in the United States and Europe, and his works have been recorded by California’s Octagon New Music Ensemble and published by Alliance Music, American Carillon Music Editions, Gold Branch Music, Manduca Music, Walton Music, and Yelton Rhodes Music.

A Bachelor of Arts in Music graduate of Duke University, Santore continued his studies earning a Master of Music at the University of Texas at Austin and a Ph.D. in music at the University of California, Los Angeles.

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU Media Relations Mgr., (603) 535-2775 or