Page 34 - Engineering Penn State Magazine: Fall/Winter 2020
P. 34

Wezi Mkandawire’s early love of instruments like the piano and the clarinet led to his interest in composing instrumental music when he was in high school. (Photo credit: Jeff Rice)
First-year engineering student creating
by Jeff Rice
Wezi Mkandawire is studying chemical engineering in his first year at Penn State. But the Schreyer Honors Scholar hasn’t abandoned his longtime love of music or the
compositions that are earning him national notice.
Mkandawire produces music for film and television soundtracks, combining his abilities with the guitar and piano with a growing set of production skills. Videos
featuring his songs have received as many as 45,000 views on Ambient, a YouTube channel that collects music designed for films, relaxation, and more.
Creating music that has a soothing effect is no accident for Mkandawire, who enjoys listening to various film soundtracks for inspiration and
cites Thomas Newman—famous for the scores of films including “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Road to Perdition,” and “Finding Nemo”—
as an influence.
“I usually think of a story that would go along with the music, then name the songs based off that,” Mkandawire said. “I always name them after I can listen to some form of the finished product, so that I can see how it
makes me feel and what comes to my mind when listening.”
Mkandawire was drawn to Penn State and the Schreyer Honors College because of the opportunities for research and “it was close to home.” He is eager to explore the engineering industry while continuing to create music. n

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