Apache Junction composer nominated for Governor’s Arts Awards

Eugene Anderson

Eugene Anderson

Eugene Anderson, a financial planner by day, has a creative side to his personality that was honored last month by the state of Arizona.

The Apache Junction man was nominated for the 2014 Arizona Governor’s Arts Awards, which recognizes Arizona artists, arts organizations, businesses, educators and individuals for their passion, creativity and devotion to the excellence and diversity of Arizona’s arts and cultural community, according to the award’s website.

Although his name was not called as the winner at the awards banquet March 25, he hopes the nomination will draw attention to his first dramatic musical, “The Wager,” which was inspired by the Biblical story of Job, he said during an interview April 1.

He said he believes it is the only musical production of its kind devoted to the subject matter.

The show took nine years to write and compose and was given its world premiere in February 2007 at the Mesa Arts Center with a 30-piece orchestra, full cast and dance troupe, he said. It was then filmed and edited for the creation of a professional DVD.

He said he hopes to submit the musical to business mogul Oprah Winfrey.

“She believes in unknown people who have value,” he said.

Born in 1944 in Milwaukee, Mr. Anderson won three summer music-camp scholarships before going on to the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree in 1968.

He also arranged tuba quartets for use on the annual U.W. Concert Band tour each January, according to his biography.

After graduation as the winner of the Faulhaber Award, given to the senior most likely to succeed in music, Mr. Anderson accepted his first teaching position at the University of Toledo as a member of the Toledo Brass Quintet.

He also performed with the Toledo Symphony, Toledo Opera Orchestra and the Toledo Symphony Brass Quintet.

Mr. Anderson then was accepted on a teaching fellowship at Arizona State University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with his Master of Music degree in composition. During this period he wrote “The Perception of War,” a symphonic tone poem, and “Symphony No. 1” for full orchestra.

His next position was as band director for Apache Junction High School where the band went from 10 to 80 members in four years.

His album “Perception” was entered in the 1998 Grammy Awards in four classical categories.

Mr. Anderson wishes to write two more tuba concertos and three more dramatic musicals in the future, according to his biography.

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