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Student profile: Dylan Tyree

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Angela Mitchell

Manager of Marketing & Communications, Lamont School of Music

Profile  •
Dylan Tyree

Dylan Tyree (BM ’24) has racked up some considerable honors in his three-plus years so far at the University of Denver Lamont School of Music. In his junior year alone, he won Lamont’s concerto competition, chamber competition, and was awarded the prestigious Presser Award

“It was all very surreal,” he says. “I was doing these competitions just for the experience. These have been dreams coming true.”

The Denver native is majoring in both cello performance and composition, and plans to graduate with his bachelor’s degree in the Fall of 2024. He’s also working on a Certificate in Suzuki Pedagogy.

He says it’s almost hard to believe how quickly his time at Lamont has passed. He graduated from the Denver School of The Arts in 2020—the beginning of the COVID pandemic. The uncertainty of the pandemic led him to want to stay near family, and he was already well-acquainted with DU, having studied with Matthew Zalkind for two years while in high school. 

Tyree first picked up the cello in 5th grade, having also tried his hand at drum set and violin. His first teacher exposed him to many genres outside of classical music, like alternative, rock, pop, and Celtic. It was through this training that he developed an eclectic appreciation for many types of music. In fact, he became adept at playing pop or rock melodies on cello with backing tracks, and to this day he plays in an area rock band. 

Tyree was in 8th grade when he started trying his hand at composition. He had long been a fan of film scores and gaming music, and his first big project was introductory music for a film he was making with friends. He describes it as “action music for a Star Wars/Marvel/DC/Lord of the Rings kind of hero.” The Denver School of the Arts gave the world premiere of the music, scored for string orchestra. 

“I love creating music that’s fun to play on the stage,” Tyree said. “Even if it’s not difficult, it’s still rewarding to play.” He cites Mason Bates, John Williams, and Juri Seo as his top compositional influences. 

When Tyree thinks back on his time so far at Lamont, one of the biggest highlights was getting to play the Dvořák cello concerto with the Lamont Symphony Orchestra and conductor Brett Mitchell

“The Dvořák concerto was one of the first major cello pieces I ever heard. It has always been a dream of mine to play it,” he said. “I also grew up going to Colorado Symphony concerts and watching Dr. Mitchell conduct—including seeing him and Yo-Yo Ma do this concerto. No pressure at all!” 

Other high points of Tyree’s time as an undergraduate include attending two summer music festivals: Encore Chamber Music Institute in Cleveland and Sunset ChamberFest in Los Angeles. His attendance at both of these festivals was fully funded by the Presser Award. 

He also had the opportunity to work with composer Eric Whitacre during his residency at Lamont. He played the solo cello part on “The Sacred Veil” and spoke with Whitacre as a fellow composer. “I got to pick his brain a little bit,” he said, laughing. 

Looking ahead, Tyree plans to spend the 2024-25 year auditioning for graduate schools as both a cellist and a composer. He eventually wants to earn a doctorate in musical arts and hopes to teach in higher education. 

“I don’t think I would be doing what I’m doing if I were at any other program,” he said. “At Lamont, you really can do double majors. The faculty and staff will work with you, and there’s enormous flexibility for people who want to experiment.” 

“I like having options,” he continues. “Whether that’s performing, composing, or teaching, I feel like Lamont has really set me up to be as prepared as possible.”