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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Student Artist Spotlight: Zach Freiheiter ’23 on his composing journey

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Zach Freiheiter ’23 has been composing his own music since his first year at Lafayette. (Photo courtesy of Zach Freiheiter ’23)

Zach Freiheiter ’23 has been playing the trumpet since he still had baby teeth.

“So I started playing it at six [years old] for like a year, and then I stopped for a couple … because I lost my teeth, and then it just wasn’t worth it to play trumpet while having no teeth,” Freiheiter said.

However, Freiheiter got into music seriously when the pandemic hit during his first year at Lafayette. Suddenly, he had more time to start consistently practicing both the trumpet and the saxophone. He has been playing regularly ever since then.

Freiheiter’s first year is also when he got exposed to composing through his courses. This gave him the ability to compose his own pieces for the first time. 

“Those files will never see the light of day because I listen back and I go, ‘Wow, they were garbage,’ but I think that’s a big part of composing … You’re gonna have a lot of stuff that really, honestly is not good until you find stuff that is good,” Freiheiter said.

At Lafayette, Freiheiter has always found a wealth of professors and directors encouraging him to compose his own music. He has had many opportunities to see his own music played live and said that it is “such a surreal feeling.”

The first original piece that Freiheiter performed at Lafayette was “Bandit’s Lullaby,” which was inspired by the music of “The Legend of Zelda” series and his dog Bandit.

“[Bandit] and I used to take naps together all the time. And so I wrote that piece as like a little hummable melody that I could sing to him when he was taking a nap,” Freiheiter said.

However, Freiheiter is especially excited about his senior capstone, “Dreams of the Wayfarer,” a three-movement saxophone concerto.

As Freiheiter evolved musically, he realized where his musical inspirations first came from. “As a kid, I was really into video games. I still am now, and a lot of my pieces are inspired by the music,” Freiheiter said.

Freiheiter has also had the opportunity to learn skills from famous musicians, including Grammy and Tony award winner Charlie Rosen, one of his personal favorites. He has been taking Zoom lessons with Rosen, who leads The 8-Bit Big Band, since August 2020.

“I’ve always had this thing of screw it, why not just reach out to people, because the worst they could say is no,” Freiheiter said. “And I’ve gotten really fortunate teachers out of that … And it’s just always this beautiful process of meeting new people, learning from them and understanding their application, their life and how that’s brought out in music.”

Freiheiter hopes his life will have a similar impact. “If I can … inspire people, like how I have been inspired by the greats, then I will have a fulfilling life, as an artist or just a person in general,” Freiheiter said.

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About the Contributor
McKenna Graf, Staff Culture Writer

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  • M

    Margo Theron..AuntMar 4, 2023 at 1:28 am

    what a beautiful testimonial, dearest Zack, very proud of your achievements thus far… You do your, parent, grandparents family and friends proud. with love,

    Reply