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Southwestern music student honored for music compositions

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Awards seem to be a common refrain for a Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary music student who has received an international award, a national award and a seminary merit scholar award for his achievements this year.
Dan Pinkston, a doctoral student and teaching fellow at the Fort Worth, Texas, seminary, won the American Prize in the International Composition Competition organized by the American-Romanian Team for the Arts, a special recognition award from the National Federation of Music Clubs and Southwestern’s President’s Merit Scholar for Church Music for 1998.
“I’m really honored and really grateful,” Pinkston said. “I hope my continued service to the school will continue to honor the school and honor the Lord.”
The American-Romanian competition highlighted a weeklong festival of new music from Americans and Romanians in Constanza, Romania, this summer. Pinkston, who did not attend the competition and has never heard the composition he entered performed by an orchestra, was informed in August that he was first among the three American finalists.
To be entered, a piece had to be written for three to 10 orchestral instruments and be at least seven minutes in length. Of the three American finalists, Pinkston’s piece, “Five Miniatures for a Brass Quintet,” was played by members of the Black Sea Philharmonic.
Pinkston said that while the piece he wrote was not sacred music, all his compositions have glorifying the Lord as their goal.
“All music I write is to honor God. It [the winning composition] is not really appropriate for corporate worship,” he said.
Pinkston, who received a master of music degree from Southwestern, said he believes the award reflects well on the seminary’s music program and said he would like to see more music ministers and lay Christians trained in composing music.
“There’s a difference between buying what’s popular and expressing what’s new to God in music,” he said.
Pinkston also was awarded a special recognition award in the 1998 Young Composer’s Competition held by the National Federation of Music Clubs. The group sponsors a number of performance competitions for school children and adults 25 years old or younger. Pinkston’s composition for that contest was a sonata for cello and piano.
Pinkston won the seminary award, presented during the spring semester, after being nominated by the music school’s faculty.
Pinkston said the awards are “a tremendous blessing. The Lord has been so faithful. Awards aside, we’ve all got gifts that God has given us, and we’ve got a responsibility to develop them to the highest point possible. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

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  • Cory J. Hailey