Archer receives award for her prolific composing of classical music

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) has recognized composition professor Kimberly Archer for her significant contributions to music with the ASCAP Plus Award.
Where composers may not receive royalties for their work with non-professional musicians, such as middle school, high school and community ensembles, Archer said “this is a way for ASCAP to recognize quality contributions in those areas.”

Archer said she thinks it is great that ASCAP awards composers working within this capacity.

“I think it’s good that ASCAP recognizes that it’s important that composers write for middle schools and high schools in addition to the professional ensembles,” Archer said.

Pat Dunnigan, Director of Bands at Florida State University, with Archer after a performance of her Symphony no. 3. Photo courtesy of Archer

According to Archer, writing music for amateurs is fulfilling because there is less repertoire available, such as modern music which is usually not “scaled to their abilities.”

Archer has written symphonies and concertos for professional wind ensembles, as well as dozens of smaller works for soloists, flute choir, percussion ensembles and soprano, alto, tenor and bass choirs. In addition, she has many works designed specifically for younger or non-professional performers.

Music Department Chair Audrey Tallant said the award is of high caliber and Archer has established herself nationally as a composer.

“That’s a very prestigious award and she wins it every year. Her compositions are recognized nationally… She is a tenured associate professor who teaches theory and composition and we’re extremely fortunate to have her on our faculty,” Tallant said.

Archer has written a concerto for piano and wind ensemble for music professor John Bell, director of bands. For music professor and flute professor Shelly Monier, she composed a flute choir piece titled “The Piney Woods of St. Tammany Parish,” which premiered New Orleans, La., in August at the National Flute Association Convention.

Bell said he thinks highly of Archer’s work and talents.

“We’ve done many of her pieces and they are always intelligent, well-crafted and creative. It’s terrific to have such a talented colleague on our music faculty,” Bell said.

Archer studied music education at Florida State University and was “self-taught” in composing until she entered Syracuse University in Texas at Austin to earn her master’s in composition and the University of Texas at Austin for a doctor of musical arts in composition.

She said inspiration or talent for composing cannot be taught, but the craft can.

“My intuition for it is pretty good,” Archer said. “It’s what I do.”

According to Archer, when composing she likes to go to a coffee shop and have a warm beverage among the “bustle and then tune it out.”

Archer said the beginning of each piece “is a mystery.” She uses a computer with pitch references and to her, “it’s like a dream state” when she composes.

Archer’s music has been performed at the regional conventions of the College Band Directors National Association and National Band Associations.

In 2011, her music was played at the World Association of Symphonic Bands and Ensembles International Convention in Chiayi City, Taiwan.

She has been commissioned by such organizations as The U.S. Air Force Band of Mid-America, the International Center for New Music at Central Michigan University and the International Women’s Brass Conference.


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