Devin Chaloux came to the University of Connecticut with plans for eventually becoming a band teacher.
“But when I got here, I took a mandatory course on music theory designed to broaden student understanding on the subject of music,” says Chaloux, who will be the student speaker at the School of Fine Arts’ undergraduate commencement ceremony. “I was hooked.”
Music theory is the study of the science of music, explains Chaloux. Theorists break down compositions to their basic components in order to understand how and why music works the way it does.
“In chemistry there are molecules; in physics there are atoms,” says Chaloux. “With music theory, the basic building blocks that you’re working with are the single notes of a piece.”
A Bedford, N.H. native, Chaloux decided to come to UConn after a stellar piano audition that left him feeling comfortable with the faculty who would later become his close advisors. He has studied piano with professors Neal Larrabee and Minyoung Lee and composition with Professor Kenneth Fuchs. He is graduating this semester with a Bachelor of Music degree in music theory.
One of 24 University Scholars graduating this year, Chaloux developed a senior project titled “A Theoretical and Analytical Approach to Poetry by Emily Dickinson through Composition.” The project allowed Chaloux to work with faculty from both the Department of Music in the School of Fine Arts and the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
“I worked with Professor David Abraham from CLAS to really read into the poetry and develop my own interpretations of the texts,” says Chaloux. “At the same time, I was working closely with Dr. Kenneth Fuchs to create compositions for voice and piano, using Emily Dickinson’s poetry for the text of the songs.”
Chaloux’s project was performed on March 28. He has since been accepted to the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where he will be working towards a master’s degree in music theory. He hopes to someday earn a doctorate in music theory and become a tenure-track professor.
“I started out wanting to teach band,” says Chaloux. “I never dreamed that I’d wind up where I am today.”