Frahm, Fredrick

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Frederick Frahm (b. Hemet, circa 1964), a graduate (BM & MM) of Pacific Lutheran University, studied with David Dahl, Gregory Peterson, and Randall McCarty. He studied composition with Gregory Youtz, Gary Smart, Walter Pelz, and Roger Briggs. He is currently Director of Music at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Bellingham, WA. Mr. Frahm has also served as an adjunct faculty member at Concordia University (River Forest, IL) where he taught modal counterpoint, music theory and composition, and orchestration. In addition to his duties as a professional church musician and a private studio teacher, he contributes regularly to the Bellingham Herald as a classical music critic. A prize winning and critically acclaimed composer, his compositions have enjoyed performances in the US, Europe, and South Africa. Recent large scale compositions include War Cantata (a secular cantata based on texts of American Civil War era poets), Love songs (a song cycle in 11 parts on texts by Kenneth Rexroth), From East to West (a Christmas cantata based on texts by Luci Shaw), and Grendel's Soliloquy (for violin and orchestra). He is represented by Augsburg Publishing House, Concordia Publishing House, Live Oak House, Zimbel Press, Musica21 Publishers, Capstone Records, and Wergo Schalplatten.

Though not actively pursuing the study of an instrument, Frahm showed an early fascination with the music of the Baroque period, especially the organ works of Bach and the harpsichord works of Rameau. An equal interest in the music of the church was nurtured as the Frahm family actively participated in the worship life of a local Lutheran congregation. In the year following his fathers' death in 1980, Frahm would transform his active study of the piano in the studio of Virginia Pritchard, a gifted local pianist in the lineage of Artur Schnabel. Frahm made progress quickly and there was first exposed to the music of Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, and Schumann. In addition, a substantial emphasis was placed on the contrapuntal music in J.S. Bach's "Well Tempered Clavier". Keyboard theory and improvisation skills were also a significant part of the training Frahm would receive in the Pritchard studio. Further theory instruction was offered at the high school by the band director and it was here that Frahm learned more extensively about music theory, the church modes and aural skills.

In 1983, after a term in a local junior college, Frahm was admitted to Pacific Lutheran University. Though not under a music scholarship, he pursued a curriculum with an emphasis in music study.

In 1985, Frahm was appointed as Organist-Choirmaster of Christ Church (Episcopal) in Puyallup, Washington. Here he received a thorough training in liturgy and hymnody, and developed skills as a conductor while working with the church choir. It was at this point that Frahms skill as a composer began to flourish with numerous settings for voice, choir and organ.

Before his December 1987 wedding to fellow PLU organist Susan Foster, Frahm moved to Laramie, Wyoming to pursue further studies in music at the University of Wyoming under composer Gary Smart. During this time Frahm was a chorister at the Cathedral of St. Matthew under the direction of Charles Clarke. In October of that year, Frahm was unofficially named a composer in residence at the cathedral and was offered his first commission to write an anthem celebrating the tenth anniversary of the consecration of Bishop Jones. The music, a setting of the Latin hymn "Ecce Sacerdos Magnus", is scored for choir, brass and organ.

Frederick and Susan were married in Puyallup in December 1987 and returned to Washington State in the summer of 1988. In 1990, Frahm returned to PLU to complete his Bachelor of Music degree in Church Music and in 1993 completed a Master of Arts in Music degree in Organ Performance.

Concordia University of River Forest, Illinois, extended Frahm an invitation in 1995 to teach counterpoint, orchestration and music theory as a member of the adjunct faculty. In conjunction with experiencing the dynamics of being a composer in the classroom, he also served as a parish musician to three ethnic congregations: St. Pascal Catholic Church (Basque), St. Priscilla Catholic Church (Polish) and Sts. Peter and Paul Evangelical Lutheran church (Slovak)

A brief piano work, "sonata Moirai" was honorable mentioned in the 1997 Paris new Music Review competition for new music of 60 seconds or less in duration.

Frederick Frahm's abiding passion for poetry and literature is of considerable influence in his creative work. Poetry is very often the point of inspiration for new compositions, hence the large number of solo songs and choral music in the catalog.

From the guide to the Frederick Frahm Papers, 1982-2004, (Pacific Lutheran University)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Frederick Frahm Papers, 1982-2004 Pacific Lutheran University Archives and Special Collections
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Augsburg Publishing House corporateBody
associatedWith Briggs, Roger person
associatedWith Christ Church (Episcopal) (Puyallup, Wash) corporateBody
associatedWith Clarke, Charles person
associatedWith Concordia Publishing House corporateBody
associatedWith Concordia University (River Forest, Ill.) corporateBody
associatedWith Dahl, David person
associatedWith Frahm, Frederick person
associatedWith Frahm, Susan person
associatedWith McCarty, Randall person
associatedWith Pacific Lutheran University corporateBody
associatedWith Pelz, Walter person
associatedWith Peterson, Gregory person
associatedWith Rexroth, Kenneth person
associatedWith Smart, Gary person
associatedWith St. Paul Episcopal Church (Bellingham, Wash) corporateBody
associatedWith University of Wyoming corporateBody
associatedWith Youtz, Gregory person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Bellingham (Wash.)
Laramie, (Wyo.)
Chicago (Ill.)
Musical Compositions


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