CMC young musicians claim their creative voices

June 13, 2023

By Katrina Wreede, Young Musicians Program Coordinator

There is nothing like creating your own music to claim your creative voice! As part of the CMC Young Musicians Program, we expose students to the skills and attitude necessary to think creatively. This year, YMP students created nearly 40 new pieces of music. Our partners were members of the Left Coast Ensemble, a San Francisco-based new music ensemble.

The YMP 2023 Composing project started on Feb. 11 with a presentation by members of the Left Coast Ensemble showcasing extended techniques on flute, violin and cello as well as offering guidance on instrumentation, notation and creativity. This was followed by weekly sessions with the YMP teachers for students to create and prepare a work for a masterclass and performance with Left Coast. This year was the first time middle school students from YMP participated, along with the YMP high school students. The middle school groups had a masterclass and concert with Left Coast on March 11. Every middle school YMP student composed a piece for one or more of the Left Coast players. The Left Coast performers read through each work (one from every middle school student in YMP), discussed it with the composer and audience, then performed it “concert-style” for the audience and video.

On March 18, Left Coast returned to work and performed with the YMP high school students.The students worked collaboratively in small ensemble groups to create and rehearse works they performed themselves with Left Coast players embedded in the ensemble for the master class and performance. Topics for discussion during the masterclass portion included elements like proper notation, use of dynamics and articulations, musical form, instrumentation and identifying dramatic elements that made each piece a unique expression. One of the most exciting things to come from the 2023 composing project was how different each piece was. There are no cookie cutters in YMP! These kids are not afraid to speak their minds through their music. It was a thrilling and inspiring project that we hope to replicate next year and beyond.