“I know of no other educational program in America quite like the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s Young Composers Project. It is remarkable enough that students are afforded an opportunity to hear their first works brought to life by a professional orchestra. Even more impressive is the fact that the TSO nurtures the young composers with lessons in orchestration, form, and notation throughout the school year.”
—Dan Coleman, Music Alive Composer in Residence, 2002-03
This excerpt provides a brief overview of the learning experiences and skills gained throughout the course of the Young Composers Project. The video features personal accounts, the learning environment, and interactions between students, musicians, and teachers. Firehouse Pictures produced a 25-minute video of the Young Composers Project class of 2011 as an in-kind gift. This excerpt was created in March 2011.
This exceptional program and national model teaches elementary through high school students to compose for orchestra. This unique and nationally recognized program uses the Orchestra as a living laboratory for the young composers, providing interaction between students and professionals to explore the creative process of composition. Participants meet twice per month from September through May, culminating in two public reading sessions by the Tucson Symphony Chamber Orchestra and the TSO String Quintet. These reading sessions produce study recordings of the young composers’ newly created pieces. Since 1993, the TSO Young Composers Project program has produced more than 200 new works by young composers.
Ilona Vukovic-Gay, Class Instructor & TSO Assistant Principal Violist
Reading session dates: Friday May 3rd, 2013 at 7:00 PM, String Quintet at the Tucson Symphony Center
Saturday May 4th, 2013 at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM, Tucson Symphony Orchestra at Catalina Foothills High School
First class meeting: Saturday September 8, 2012 at the Tucson Symphony Center, Intro: 11:30 AM-12:30 PM; Advanced: 1:00 PM-3:00 PM.
Program Information: The TSO serves as a living laboratory for young composers, providing the opportunity for students, contemporary composers, orchestra musicians and conductors to interact and explore the creative process of composition. Students are invited to interact with visiting artists, TSO musicians and to attend TSO dress rehearsals and concerts. Participants in both levels meet twice per month from September through May, culminating in two public reading sessions by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra and one public reading session by the TSO String Quintet. These reading sessions produce study recordings of the young composers’ newly created pieces. Since 1993, the TSO Young Composers Project program has produced more than 275 new works by young composers.
The Advanced Young Composer’s Project covers the principals of harmony, voice leading, form, score reading and ear training. The students compose short works for each class which are played by visiting TSO ensembles. The final project is an orchestral work performed by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra at the Young Composer’s reading sessions in May. Many graduates from this program have continued to pursue composition at the undergraduate and graduate level at universities and conservatories across the United States.
Students in the Introductory Young Composers Project learn the fundamentals of music theory and composition needed to succeed as a composer: melodic construction, development of motives, form and introductory instrumentation. The final project is a string quintet composition performed by the TSO String Quintet at the Young Composers reading session in May.
“This program has had an incredible effect on me. Not only have I gained a large understanding of all the instruments of an orchestra, but I have discovered a passion for composition.”
—Nicolas Mariscal, 6 year YCP participant, 2009 winner of ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award
In 2009, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers Foundation (ASCAP), honored Nicolas Mariscal with a Morton Gould Young Composer Award. Only 39 awards were given this year from a field of 680 applicants. Nicolas just completed his fifth year in the TSO’s Young Composers Project. Ben Nead, a second year participant, was a finalist. The award provides recognition and cash awards to gifted young composers of concert music.
Excerpts of young composer pieces
Wanderer’s Requiem (mp3)
Elly Krepp: 3rd year YCP student, Senior at Canyon del Oro High School
Nicolas Mariscal: 6th year YCP student; Senior at Rincon High School
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