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University of Central Missouri
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (April 10, 2009) – Eric Honour, a University of Central Missouri associate professor who has established an international reputation for his work in music technology and composition, is receiving the university’s top recognition for faculty members. He is the recipient of the 2009 Byler Distinguished Faculty Award.
The name of the award recipient was announced today at a reception hosted by UCM President Aaron and Ms. Ronnie Podolefsky. Honour will be publicly recognized during spring commencement exercises Saturday, May 9 in the Multipurpose Building.
The award is named for William H. Byler, an inventor, author and teacher who graduated from UCM in 1927 with a major in chemistry and physics. He established an endowment fund to provide annual recognition for distinguished faculty performance, evidenced by teaching, scholarly or creative activity and professional related service.
Honour said he is humbled to join the company of many outstanding scholars and teachers who have previously received the award, which is a cherished achievement and one of the pinnacles of his career to date. He added that “the support I have received from UCM over the years – both financial and personal – has been crucial to my success. I cannot thank my colleagues here enough for providing the backing necessary to allow me to pursue my career as both a teacher and musical artist to the utmost.”
Honour joined the Department of Music in August 2000. A testament to his creativity and resourcefulness as an educator, he developed and has been the sole administrator of the music technology program over the past eight years. It is the only program of its kind in Missouri, and one regarded as among the top 20 in the nation, according to Lester Brothers, chair of the Department of Music. Honour designed and maintains studio facilities for the program. He is responsible for teaching music technology courses and developing curriculum, and has recruited students for the program, which has grown since its inception from eight majors to 80. He has also succeeded in securing more than $160,000 in internal and external grants to support music technology.
“Eric defies expectation,” Brothers wrote in a letter recommending Honour for the award. “While maintaining outstanding teaching and program administration, and rendering valuable service, he continues to be distinctively productive in multiple areas of creative activity: composition, recording technology, and performance. His record is simply extraordinary.”
Mia Hynes, associate professor of piano/piano pedagogy, noted that Honour’s student evaluations are consistently high, and he uses student feedback to continuously develop his courses. In return for his dedication, his students have been very successful, getting jobs with major recording studios, production companies, and other music industry employers in cities such as Los Angeles, Nashville, Chicago, Kansas City, St. Louis, and Tampa. They’ve gone on to work with a wide spectrum of nationally known artists in different genres, ranging from Dolly Parton to Snoop Dogg.
“Dr. Honour’s work as an educator, composer and performer is truly outstanding in its quality and breadth,” Hynes said in her letter of support. “It is certainly a level that one would expect to find at a major conservatory or research university at the highest ranks.”
Honour’s professional endeavors outside the classroom are bringing recognition to the university, the Department of Music and the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. A project that combines his knowledge of music technology, composition and performance, this spring Honour is touring the United States and internationally performing and recording a program of new music for saxophone and computer. It is an endeavor that is partially funded through a $5,000 Research and Creative Activity Award from the college. Performances in March and April will not only cover 10 states, but will take him to destinations in Greece, Austria, Italy, and England, where he will perform solo recitals and present lectures and masterclasses.
Honour has served his department through activities such as being area coordinator for academic and technology studies and principal author of grant applications for Central Technology Grant funds from the Center from Technology and Learning. He also has a strong record of college and university service, including serving on the college Curriculum Committee, Faculty Senate Committee on Faculty Technology Needs, University Graduate Council, UCM Strategic Planning and Resource Council, and University Administrative Committee on Intellectual Property Rights. Outside the university, he serves as a member of the National Committee of the Society of Composers, Inc., the technical editor of The Saxophone Symposium, and on the editorial board of MUSE, a peer-reviewed music e-journal based in Greece.
His professional-related activities include recordings of his works; engineering of CDs and videos released by artists from across the U.S. and in Belgium; participation in juried and non-juried creative composition events, including international festivals such as the International Computer Music Conference, SPARK, and Florida Electroacoustic Music Festival; public performances as a saxophonist; and invited lecturer, just to name a few. He is a member of the Athens Saxophone Quartet and an internationally known soloist specializing in music for saxophone and computer.
Numerous accolades include first prize in the 2005 American University Saxophone Symposium Competition and 2006 winner of the Quintet Attacca National Call for Scores. Since 1997, he has twice been named finalist for ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers Awards.
Honours’ peers in music have taken notice of his efforts to create, enduring, meaningful art by selecting him for participation in national and international festivals, recordings and performances.