Kyle Hnedak ’14 picked up a guitar for the first time in high school, and hasn’t put it down since.
“I started my freshman year, which is pretty late by most people’s expectations,” he said. “I had a friend who owned a guitar, and he let me play it for a little bit. Something about it really entertained me for hours on end, so I finally got my own guitar. Guitar became my hobby, and I was practicing hours and hours every day.”
Hnedak decided he wanted to study music at college, and found that Redlands would be a good fit. He liked the professors, and that the School of Music offered jazz guitar and classical programs.
“For me, the big thing is the guitar ensemble,” he said. “Dr. [Tony] Suter helped me write, and allowed me to write three pieces for the ensemble. It’s been really positive for me, especially, getting to hear and experiment with my instrument with a group of four.”
Hnedak – who will receive a bachelor’s of music in composition and a bachelor’s of music in classical guitar performance – has been composing pieces since high school, and was one of the participants in the 2013 Project Accessible Hollywood (PAH-FEST) competition. Music students at the University of Redlands partnered with film students at the San Francisco Art Institute to create soundtracks for short movies.
“There were five of us composers, and we were asked to write an original score to the film,” he said. “We had less than a week to pull this together and get it recorded. I didn’t get the film until 2 a.m. before it was due, so I had a couple of hours to score it.”
Hnedak ended up taking home the top prize.
“It was nice to win, and reassuring because I have always wanted to do film scoring, but never really had the opportunity,” he said. “I had a chance to talk to some people who have done scoring, and got advice from them.”
Hnedak plans on moving to Los Angeles after graduation, and already has an internship lined up at a studio in Santa Monica. He will spend the summer gaining experience as he watches professionals work.
“After that, it’s an open book,” he said. “I’m still trying to learn as much as I can and meet as many people as I can. I’m also not ruling out grad school.”
He also plans on making a return to Vienna, where he studied his junior year.
“It was the best four months of my life,” he said. “When I showed up, I didn’t even know how to say ‘guten tag.’ I was able to get two guitar pieces performed over there, and played chamber music on the guitar. I would love to go back; commercial music is so centered in L.A., but it’s definitely on my bucket list to go back and spend at least a year in Vienna.”
Written by: Catherine Garcia