Wynn Nordlund started learning piano when he was five years old from his father, a piano teacher, and while it seemed like a requirement at first, composing music captivated him.
He starting learning more instruments including clarinet, saxophone, trumpet and French horn. However, it was musical composition which grabbed his attention most.
“I found that was really the thing that kind of got me,” he said.
He attended a composition camp in California last summer, joining an international group of young composers and chamber musicians. He said working with professors and having his compositions played by outstanding musicians was a “once in a lifetime” expereince.
Nordlund also composed a piece for the Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra, which he is a part of, last year. The experience provided an interesting perspective for Nordlund.
“I wrote (the piece) quite awhile ago, so now looking back at it I’m thinking there are definitely things I could have done better. It was cool to see all of it come together,” Nordlund said. “I’m in the orchestra so I got to see the rehearsals progress from day one to the concert.”
It was a fresh take for Nordlund to see the orchestra perform his work. He has composed pieces before, but often plays them himself.
“It’s unique having other people do it,” Nordlund said.
Nordlund has been commissioned by his school to write a piece to be performed later this year and will be playing a piano concerto he composed accompanied by the youth orchestra at their spring concert.
“Wynn is one of the most talented students we have seen come through the music department at Pen High. His talent for composition has never been seen here by someone who is relatively young in the musician world,” said Justin Glibbery, Nordlund’s music teacher.
Nordlund is currently considering universities right now, he has applied to Ivy Leauge universities in the U.S. and Canada. deciding on the best place to study music composition, with hopes of doing graduate work and eventually getting a PhD.
Outside of music, Nordlund has been swimming nearly as long as he has been playing music. He is a competitive long-distance swimmer going to the Western Canadian Championship and achieving a personal best in the 1500 meter clocking in just over 16 minutes.
“I started when I was really young and now we’re doing nine practices a week. It’s pretty intense, but it’s really nice having all your teammates and you cheer for each other,” he said.
Long-distance swimming is a love/hate relationship for him.
“Most people don’t take on long-distance swimming and prefern sprints — 30 second and you’re done without all the pain. After so many years doing it, I feel I need to get there and make things happen,” he said.
His favourite subjects in school outside of music are calculus and physics, with marks averaging 96.
Nordlund was at a scholarship meeting for Grade 12 students when his mother texted him letting him know he was the Rotary Student of the Month.
“It’s awesome to even be able to do music in the first place, but it’s really nice to be recognized for hard work and all that,” Nordlund said.
Student of the Month is a Rotary Club of Penticton-Okanagan initiative. The award aims to recognize outstanding students for unique achievement in scholastics, extracurricular activities, community involvement, leadership and service to others. The Rotary Club of Penticton-Okanagan is partnering with Penticton Secondary School and Princess Margaret Secondary School, aided by a generous financial contribution from Gateway Casinos as part of their proactive involvement in wide-ranging community service projects.