Andrew Strout

Time to shout about Andrew Strout

October 15, 2014
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Andrew Strout, at piano, rehearses with Professor Rich Falco and jazz singer Lydia Fortune.

At rehearsal, he’s all business. His head is buried in the music. On this night he’s working on the Mass in Blue, a jazz mass by Will Todd. It’s a complicated piece, rhythmically variant, and harmonically dense. Tonight, the pages are flying. You can tell pianist Andrew Strout is up for the challenge. He is ready, focused, and more than capable.

Strout is a senior, but you’d never know it. His look belies his age. Under a cover of long curly hair and studious glasses is a fresh-faced young man who could pass as a freshman. As most friends, fellow students, and faculty will tell you, he is a shy kid with a mature attitude.

Andrew is one of the most talented musicians I have ever worked with.
John Delorey
Director of Choral Music.

Strout is an Interactive Media and Game Design major with a music minor, but given his demanding musical schedule, the pianist is undoubtedly the hardest working man in WPI show business. When he graduates next spring, the various ensembles will need to find a group of players to replace him.

“It is hard to imagine a single student who has had a greater positive impact on the WPI music community,” says Rich Falco, director of jazz studies. “Andrew brings the highest level of musicianship and spirit to each rehearsal and performance. His ever-positive attitude, sharp ears, and quick wit make him a joy to work with. And, with all these gifts, he is still a dedicated and humble musician striving to learn new skills.”

Strout is the pianist for the WPI Stage Band and the WPI Jazz Ensemble—something he’s done all four years at WPI. He is the accompanist for WPI’s three major choral groups—Alden Voices, Glee Club, and Festival Choir. He is also involved in VOX, WPI’s musical theatre organization.

Most recently, the pianist was responsible for operating the Virtual Orchestra in the production of Les Misérables. If that’s not enough, Strout has also worked with the WPI Orchestra.

Doug Weeks, WPI’s administrator of music, says, “Andrew is an outstanding pianist and overall musician comfortable in either jazz or classical styles. He is equally at home as pianist for the jazz ensemble, pianist for the orchestra, or as accompanist for the chorus. This past year the orchestra performed an arrangement he wrote for solo piano and orchestra, based on music from the video game Kirby.”

John Delorey, director of choral music, says, “Andrew is one of the most talented musicians I have ever worked with. A jazzer by trade, he fell onto the piano bench in the choral division quite by accident, and he has been an asset ever since. He joined us on tour in London this past summer, where he not only accompanied us on piano but filled in for a missing organist at our performance at Worcester Cathedral. An incredible talent and a wonderful guy. A real pleasure to work with on all fronts.”

Strout hails from Derry, N.H. “I’ve taken piano lessons since I was six years old,” he says. “I took part in various music ensembles throughout elementary, middle, and high school. Oh, and my mom was the music teacher at my kindergarten and likes to take some credit for my musical accomplishments.”

Like the piano, Strout says video game music has long been an obsession. When thinking of college, he chose WPI because the school offered him the opportunity to pursue both interests. “Finding a school with an amazing technical reputation that still had an extremely active music program was a dream come true,” he says. “I feel like I’m getting an excellent education in game development, and I also get the almost daily opportunity to play in musical ensembles full of passionate and talented musicians.”

– BY DAVID SNEADE

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