Student Highlight: Sam Kyzivat

1. How would you describe your music?

Ambient, cinematic electric violin loops.

2. How did you find your way to music?

I grew up in a musical household, with wonderful parents who really valued music education from an early age. I started with piano lessons at age 6, then (classical) violin lessons at age 10, then voice lessons at age 15. In high school I transitioned from classical violin to electric violin, and quickly found myself experimenting in the world of looping and effects pedals. In college, I sat in with many bands from time to time, but never found one to settle down with, so I began putting together a solo set, using my loop pedal to become a one-man-band.

3. What are the ways your music serves your everyday life, your family, your work, your community?

Music plays a large role in my everyday life, from listening to a new album while cooking dinner, to composing music in my dorm room at 3:00am for a student-directed short film. Since I am a music composition major at Bowdoin College, much of my days are spent in a room with a piano, plunking away at different chords and melodies until something comes out that I’m satisfied with. On a related note, my work this summer has all revolved around composition. I am interning with the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra, an awesome non-profit based in Portland that is revolutionizing music education. The bulk of my time has been spent arranging music for the group’s 2017-2018 concert season, in which we will be playing with local artists such as The DuPont Brothers, Connor Garvey, and Max Garcia Conover. In addition I’ve been doing some freelance composition work for various short film/media projects. My family has been super supportive of all of my musical endeavors throughout the years, for which I’m forever grateful.

4. What draws you to sharing your music with the Lila community?

Over the past few years, I’ve put on several events at Bowdoin with a friend of mine that explored the intersection of live music, yoga, meditation, and mindfulness. They were all very successful, and we received a lot of positive feedback from the students that attended. Since I’ve been living in Portland for the summer (and there are quite a few yoga studios here), I thought I would reach out to one and try and extend my music beyond the confines of Bowdoin’s yoga studio. Lila seems to really value live music, and has a mission statement that really resonates with me, so I thought it would be a perfect fit!

5. What inspires you to keep practicing as a musician?

With all that’s going on the world, I believe now, more than ever, in the healing power of music. I keep practicing to ensure that my passion for music stays alive, so I can share it with others, and so that my creativity doesn’t dry up! I also keep practicing because I hope to one day make music for a living!


Sam Kyzivat is currently a senior at Bowdoin College studying music composition and Chinese. He grew up in a musical household in the small town of Simsbury, CT, and started piano and violin lessons at a young age. In high school, he made the transition to electric violin, and hasn’t looked back since!

At Bowdoin, Sam is the music director of the college’s oldest a cappella group, the Meddiebempsters, and has done arranging work for the group as well. He is also the main music contributor for Bowdoin’s student-produced podcast, The Commons, and composes original music for the different episodes. As an active member of the Bowdoin Music Collective, he performs at a variety of their events each semester, from open mics to acoustic showcases to yoga and meditation classes with live music.

In 2015 Sam spent the summer interning with REVERB, an environmental non-profit based in Portland that provides “greening” services for a variety of bands to help make their tours more environmentally friendly. In 2016 he received a Patterson/Baird Family Fellowship to support a summer of research in the humanities. Under the tutelage of composer-in-residence Vineet Shende, he spent 8 weeks composing a three-movement piano quintet that was premiered on campus this past spring. During the summer of 2017, with the support of the Delta Sigma Arts Fellowship, Sam has been spending the summer interning with the Maine Youth Rock Orchestra, a wonderful non profit in Portland that is revolutionizing music education. His work has revolved around arranging orchestral music for the group’s 2017-2018 concert season.

Sam’s original music consists of ambient, cinematic electric violin loops. To hear some of his compositions, check out his SoundCloud page:

2017-09-17T18:01:09+00:00 September 17th, 2017|Student Feature|0 Comments

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