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Dr. Valentin Bogdan sees collaboration as a first step.

The longtime musician/composer wants to meet as many performers and writers as possible, so he welcomes every chance to play someone else’s music or for others to play his compositions.

Bogdan’s most recent honor likely will open doors for many more collaborations.

An associate professor in the Mississippi University for Women’s Department of Music, Bogdan was nominated in Music Composition (Classical) for the Mississippi Institute of Arts & Letters. His composition “Vantage Points” for bassoon and violin is one of six pieces that will be recognized at the 41st Anniversary Awards Gala June 6 at the Mississippi Museum of Art in Jackson.

“The idea for the piece came when I was working on some sketches and thought about how different people would see the same thing,” said Bogdan, who has been nominated for a MIAL two times. “It has dialogue between two instruments where there sometimes is clash, tension, resolution, people talking over one another, people listening to one another, people conversing. There also are meeting points where you have moments of arrival.”

Bogdan, who is originally from Romania, has composed 40-50 pieces. He also wrote “Vantage Points” for trombone and violin. The world premiere of the version for bassoon and violin was performed last year at the Assisi Music Festival in Italy.

“Dr. Bogdan is a skilled teacher and scholar, a world renowned professional performer and a very active composer,” said Dr. Bridget Smith Pieschel, a professor of English at the school and a member of the 2019-20 MIAL Board of Governors. “His music has been premiered, among others, by musicians of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. I’m proud The W has such excellent representation among this year’s nominees for MIAL prizes.”

Bogdan has played piano since he was four years old. He moved to the United States with his parents when he was in high school. Bogdan arrived at The W in 2013, from his previous position at Grambling State University in Louisiana. He said he wanted to help build something at the university.

Bogdan started to compose music when he was a graduate student at the University of Miami. He earned his master’s degree in composition and a doctorate in music from Miami. He also has a master’s degree in music from Michigan State University and a bachelor’s degree in music from Wayne State University.

“I always composed, but I wasn’t thinking I was going to pursue a career doing it because I always saw myself as a pianist,” Bogdan said. “I wanted to play, perform and collaborate, but then I realized as a composer you also get to collaborate with a lot of folks, and sometimes you get to be more involved with others.”

Bogdan began his performing career as a teenager, when he toured with the orchestra of “Tudor Ciortea Music Lyceum of Brasov” throughout Europe and Asia including France, England, Netherlands and Jordan. He has performed solo and chamber music recitals in North America and Europe. He also was a soloist with the Varna Symphony (Bulgaria), Wayne State Symphony (Michigan) and the Assisi Performing Arts Festival Orchestra.

Bogdan has released two piano solo recordings, “The Grands of Piano” and “Live in Concert.” His compositions were performed at Festival Miami, Music at MOCA Concert Series in Miami, the Oregon Bach Festival, and at conferences hosted by the College Music Society, the National Association of Composers USA (NACUSA), and the Society of Composers Inc. His music was premiered, among others, by musicians of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, Beta Collide, Grambling State University Wind Ensemble, Grambling Chorale and the AWC Wind Ensemble.

“Being nominated allows you to get to know more people that you perhaps wouldn’t otherwise meet,” Bogdan said. “We are all so busy, so sometimes you forget to look and say, ‘Let me see if I can get to know this person or this person so we can create something together.’ I hope this nomination will help lead to that and help me meet more artists and performers who share the same values.”

C.T. Salazar, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing and a MFA in Creative Writing from The W, was nominated in Poetry for his collection “This Might Have Meant Fire.” Mary Miller, a faculty member in The W’s MFA in Creative Writing program, was nominated for her novel “Biloxi.” Winners also will be selected in Visual Arts, Photography, Musical Composition (Contemporary), Nonfiction, and Youth Literature.

Feb. 25, 2020
Contact: Adam Minichino
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