Composition Department

Steven Snethkamp, D.M. 2014

Melting (2011)


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Many of us consider having some sort of ‘path to life,’ a route that we follow to achieve goals and ultimately fulfillment. However, due to varying personal interests and obligations these paths often become highly complex and fragmented, sometimes leaving us overwhelmed or disoriented.

By partaking in the melting ceremony, the participant attempts to deconstruct, analyze, and ultimately reconcile these seemingly conflicting paths. The piece begins with a bang, as if our complex internal universe had previously been contained to a single point. With ceremonial strums of the piano, the participant releases this energy and allows their tightly packed existence to expand with the resulting resonance. Various paths of existence are allowed to separate. They can be better recognized, understood, and ultimately distilled (or melted) into a single composite trajectory; ideally resulting in heightened peace, contentment, and clarity of purpose.

When listening however, it can be dangerous to take this concept too literally. Rather, the listener may attempt to lose themselves in the spacious ambience, meditations, and mantras, and unpack their own universe.


Composer Steven Snethkamp was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree in composition from the College of Music at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a Master of Music degree in composition from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Currently, Steven is pursuing a Doctor of Music in composition from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, where he also works as an Associate Instructor for the composition department.

His composition instructors have included Sven-David Sandström, Claude Baker, Per Mårtensson, Don Freund, David Dzubay, P.Q. Phan, Daniel Kellogg, Andrew May, and Richard Toensing. He has also studied computer music and multimedia work with Jeffery Hass, John Gibson, and Alicyn Warren. His music has been performed across the United States and in Europe, and his electronic music has been performed at festivals such as EMM and SEAMUS (in 2012).

In his music, Steven often makes extensive use of microtonality, irrational meters, and polytemporality. In addition to composing concert music for both acoustic instruments and electronics, he also has a love for visual arts and working with video.