May 2021 Spotlight
2008 Bachelor of Music, Composition
2015 Master of Music, Composition
George Fetner earned both his bachelor and master of music degrees in Composition from the School of Music (2008 and 2015). His primary teachers included Christopher Berg, Jesse Jones, John Fitz Rogers, and Reginald Bain and he was awarded the John and Lucrecia Herr Award for Composition in 2008. He worked as the school’s music admissions assistant for several years after earning his bachelor’s degree and now manages student recruitment at the UofSC College of Information and Communications.
George has composed pieces for orchestra, wind ensemble, chamber groups, soloists, computers, installations, improvisers, flash mob, film, and rock band. His work has been performed in Europe and the United States on programs such as the North American Saxophone Alliance Conference, the International Double Reed Society Conference, the UNC Greensboro New Music Festival, the Soundscape Composition-Performance Exchange, the 21 Sounds New Music Series, Wired Music, The Bennington Chamber Music Conference, and The Southern Exposure New Music Series, and by groups Dark in the Song, the ebb-flow new music collective, C-Street Brass, Duo Cortado, Cica, FretX Duo (Mak Grgic and Dan Lippel) and the South Carolina Philharmonic String Quartet.
“Fetner takes risks — compositionally, tonally, artistically — that are too often
not taken, and finds therein rich rewards.”
— Patrick Wall, Free Times.
As a guitarist, George has appeared on the Southern Exposure New Music Series performing pieces such as Lois V. Vierk’s “Go Guitars” and Louis Andriessen’s “De Staat.” His debut studio album of electroacoustic works, Beneath the Ice, features UofSC faculty and alumni performers, and is praised as “lucid, transparent, and liquid; it is a voyage into intimate, personal worlds” (Jasper Magazine). He also released two albums and toured nationally with his jam-rock group Pinna.
Other releases include Some Things We’ll Change, a 2017 solo acoustic folk album where “every track feels like it has a place and was hand crafted with painstaking emotion” (SC Music Guide). His current rock project, George Fetner and the Strays, is a nine-piece band featuring SoM alums and faculty. They released their debut studio recording in 2018, “a remarkably tight and well-executed triumph of euphoric classic rock sensibilities, with subtle horn flourishes and joyful backing vocals” (Jasper Magazine). In 2020, GFATS released their follow-up LP, Longer Like This, “an impromptu dance party with nine of Columbia’s most daring musical exhibitionists” (The State). Also in early 2020, George was commissioned to write new music for the silent films Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and performed the music with chamber ensembles alongside the films at the Nickelodeon Theater.
George is excited to continue his musical output in 2021. In May, he will premiere “Three Worlds,” an hour-long piece for electric guitar, electronic percussion, keyboards and synthesizers commissioned by the Columbia Museum of Art. The piece helps celebrate the closing of “The Imaginative Worlds of M.C. Escher,” currently on exhibit at the museum. He’ll also return to the stage this fall with GFATS in support of a new live release.
George is an avid supporter of SoM programs, especially the Southern Exposure New Music Series. During his high school visit to the UofSC School of Music in 2003, he attended his first Southern Exposure concert and continued to volunteer for them for over a decade. He now donates yearly to the award-winning series that brings the world’s finest musicians to South Carolina.