Mason Lamb, Dean’s Medalist

Mason Lamb

When asked what accomplishment he is most proud of, Mason Lamb didn’t look his many music premieres — including his orchestral concert overture which was played by FOOSA at the Walt Disney Concert Hall — instead, he looked to his daughter.

“I’m proud of the example I’ve set for my Daughter,” Lamb said. “I have this little six-year-old girl seeing her dad, even at this point in his life, getting his master’s degree and she is falling in love with learning.”

Lamb has distinguished himself through high academic achievement, the pursuit of professional excellence, and respect among his peers.

“Mason has proven to be not only a talented composer but also a highly intelligent and skilled musician as well as a strong leader with the potential to truly excel as a professional composer,” said Dr. Kenneth Froelich, professor of music composition. “Mason’s notation is the strongest that I have seen among all of my composition students in the past fourteen years.”

Lamb’s works have been performed by numerous ensembles, including the Fresno Philharmonic, and he has participated in professional programs in Los Angeles, Puerto Rico, and Bulgaria. He has established himself among professional in the field and plans on pursuing a career in film music, copying, and orchestration.

“Mason epitomizes what this award is designed to recognize: a student who achieves at the highest level academically, professionally and one who also goes beyond the classroom and uses their education to both give back to the community at large and help elevate their peers.  Simply put, Mason has a brilliant mind that is coupled with a compassionate heart,” said Dr. Benjamin Boone, Professor of Music.

Lamb served as President and Conductor of the Fresno State New Music Ensemble and done professional copyist and part preparation for the Orquesta Sinfónica de Puerto Rico, the Youth Orchestras of Fresno, and Fresno Summer Orchestra and Opera Academy.

Mason Lamb

Personal Narrative

If I could travel back in time to counsel my younger self, I’d likely visit that version of me who was an undergraduate twenty years ago. There was enough underachievement in my academics that showed just how unprepared I was for the responsibilities, freedoms, and opportunities of a college education. Or perhaps I’d visit the slightly older version of myself who, after several meandering gap years, returned to complete a bachelor’s degree without fully recognizing the better part of education wasn’t simply getting it over with. To both these versions of myself, I would say: don’t give up that which is great for that which is merely good. What robbed my attention from school were transient experiences and gossamer dreams that, while pleasant enough in and of themselves, were not equal to the education I neglected. It took several years of maturing, waiting, and false starts before I rediscovered my greatest, truest passion had always been learning.

After graduating, I was fortunate to find work where my degree was put to use on a daily basis. I established the necessary roots of adulthood; a home and a family. My access to players, equipment, and relative creative liberty may have seemed an ideal career, and indeed, I am grateful for the security and skills I accrued during that time. But less apparent was the constant thought that I was not performing to my full potential and had— professionally speaking— boxed myself in. It wasn’t the clichéd mid-life ennui, but I did imagine where my family and I could have been if I had made more daring choices. “Maybe you should go back to school,” my wife suggested. Naturally, she was right.

Through serendipitous events and coincidences, I found myself back in the Fresno State Concert Hall performing a recital after many years away. I was surprised by how clear the memories of my own senior recital were, and even more so when afterward my former professors not only remembered me but encouraged me— strongly— to return. Shortly thereafter, I enrolled via Open University in the Spring of 2017, followed by my formal admission to the graduate program later that year.

FOOSA Philharmonic premieres Mason Lamb’s Solstice

Ever since it has been a whirlwind of opportunity and growth. Not only have I fully embraced my love of learning, I’ve had opportunities that seem to compound one upon the other: composing, performing, premieres, research, conducting ensembles large and small. Certainly, when the time is right, I look forward to completing a doctoral degree. What is more, my academic standing has opened doors in the professional realm beyond Fresno— particularly the film and media community in Los Angeles who place a high value on one’s educational bonafides. To that end, when I have found myself teaching a class of freshmen the basics of music, conducting an orchestra in Europe, presenting research to my colleagues, or taking my bows on stage at Disney Concert Hall, I know that I represented my best self and, hopefully, presented myself well as a representative of Fresno State.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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