CNMN > Projects > Young Composer Program

Contemporary Showcase Edmonton Society

  • Voix
  • Instruments acoustiques
  • 13 à 18 ans

A series of workshops over the course of 6 - 8 weeks.

  • Éducation

Young Composer Program


Young Com­po­ser Pro­gram – Contem­po­ra­ry Show­case Edmonton

The Young Com­po­ser Pro­gram orga­ni­zed by the Contem­po­ra­ry Show­case Edmon­ton Socie­ty intro­duces stu­dents ages 12 and up to com­po­si­tion and assists stu­dents to deve­lop their com­po­si­tio­nal techniques.

This annual pro­gram is held in 4 sessions :

Ses­sion #1 (Group ses­sion of 2 hours)

The composer/clinician speaks about com­po­si­tion in the first hour.  These lec­tures have inclu­ded anec­do­tal infor­ma­tion about how the cli­ni­cian became inter­es­ted in com­po­si­tion them­selves, how they approach star­ting a piece, where they get their ideas, etc.  These ses­sions have also inclu­ded dis­cus­sions of ele­ments of new music inclu­ding ana­ly­sis of scores, pre­sen­ta­tion of non-dia­to­nic scales, and even sound walks.

The 2nd hour, held in a pia­no lab, gives the stu­dents a chance to start sket­ching ideas or doing assi­gn­ments given by their cli­ni­cian with the oppor­tu­ni­ty to dis­cuss these ideas with the cli­ni­cian as they begin to take shape.  Cli­ni­cians have given a varie­ty of star­ting assi­gn­ments.  These include :

  • Intro­du­cing a varie­ty of non-dia­to­nic scales (inclu­ding whole tone and octatonic)
  • Expe­ri­men­ting with 12-tone rows
  • Wri­ting a varia­tion on an ori­gi­nal theme
  • Crea­ting one unit for an alea­to­ric box work to be per­for­med collectively.
  • Crea­ting two dif­ferent triads (avoi­ding the stan­dard tria­dic for­mu­la of sta­cked thirds) and deve­lo­ping a varie­ty of ways to use the notes in dif­ferent regis­ters and groupings.
  • Crea­ting an ove­rall sketch for a piece by first map­ping out tonal cha­rac­ter, dyna­mics, regis­ters, etc. and the approxi­mate num­ber of bars for each section.

Ses­sion #2, 3 & 4 (Indi­vi­dual les­sons for 30 minutes each)

After a 2 week per­iod, the next 3 ses­sions are held week­ly.  Each student receives a half hour les­son with the cli­ni­cian to dis­cuss how to deve­lop their ideas into a full piece.  Stu­dents are encou­ra­ged to attend other stu­dents’ les­sons for maxi­mum benefit.

After the 4th ses­sion, the pieces are most­ly fini­shed. Stu­dents then have 1 to 2 weeks to polish their score and sub­mit it to the cli­ni­cian for final comments.

Final Concert

A final concert is held about 3 weeks after the last class for the stu­dents to per­form their own compositions.

Stu­dents, espe­cial­ly at begin­ning stages, are encou­ra­ged to do hand­writ­ten scores to gain prac­tice using their rudi­ments training.

Crea­ted Pieces from pre­vious Young Com­po­ser Programs

Samples below include Cat and Mouse (ins­pi­red by Brid­get the cat) and Eve­ning Storm both by Jona­than Urschel – age 12 ; Waltz of the Wild by Ash­ley Kang – age 14 ; and MASS EXTINCTION ! by Soin­tu Aal­to, age 16.

Jonathan’s cli­ni­cian had the stu­dents expe­riment with 12 tone wri­ting as an exer­cise.  Jonathan’s Eve­ning Storm was his com­ple­ted exer­cise and he chose to use 12 tone ele­ments in his main pro­ject, Cat and Mouse, also.  Jona­than did not have any pre­vious wri­ting experience.

Ash­ley also had very lit­tle wri­ting expe­rience and Waltz of the Wild was writ­ten in her first year of the program.

Soin­tu has been invol­ved in the pro­gram for at least 3 years and has cho­sen to stu­dy com­po­si­tion serious­ly throu­ghout the year. The com­po­si­tion below, writ­ten during the 2020 pro­gram is the win­ner of the 2020 Louise Mac­Pher­son Memo­rial Ward. It embo­dies her rage at the num­ber of spe­cies pre­sent­ly beco­ming extinct and the silent tam-tam repre­sents those who stand by doing nothing to change the problem.

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