Los Angeles Philharmonic turns teens into composers

Posted on: March 2, 2009

In Sunday’s (3/1) Los Angeles Times, Karen Wada writes about Andy Alden, Tim Callobre, Saad Haddad, and Jack McFadden-Talbot, “the first class of a one-of-a-kind training program for high school students that offers access to artists and performance opportunities that the finest conservatories would find hard to match. The two-year Composer Fellowship Program started in fall 2007 under the leadership of Steven Stucky, the philharmonic’s Pulitzer-winning consulting composer for new music. Its two main components are what Stucky calls ‘shock therapy’—producing chamber, choral and orchestral pieces on deadline—and immersion in music theory and history. The students attend Saturday classes with Stucky and teaching fellow A.J. McCaffrey as well as workshops with philharmonic artists, librarians and technology staffers. They meet with visiting conductors and composers and local film composers and arrangers. Their pieces are given ‘readings’ by professional musicians, who provide feedback about playability and artistic technique. … This week, the four fellows will enjoy the program’s ultimate perk: Compositions by them will be performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall. … The Composer Fellowship Program is one of several philharmonic creations designed to fill a gap in the orchestra’s outreach efforts. ‘We realized we were great at introducing children to music, but we were not doing enough for accomplished musicians,’ says Gretchen Nielsen, the orchestra’s director of educational initiatives.”

Photo: Walt Disney Hall
Credit: Tom Bonner