John Adams Young Composers Program

Ages 8–18

Matthew Cmiel, Program Director

With a diverse faculty of professional composers who are dedicated, gifted teachers, and a rich network of professional musicians and ensembles, the John Adams Young Composers Program is uniquely poised to offer a launching pad for artistic expression that is grounded in disciplined work, expert individual guidance and real-world experience.

Crowden cultivates students' original voices in the John Adams Young Composers Program

Each semester, students work with private instructors on pieces for a specific instrumental combination. A professional performing ensemble previews their rough drafts and offers written and recorded feedback on their pieces. Students revise and complete their works prior to attending final rehearsals with the ensemble. Each semester culminates in a public recital at Crowden. Additional performance opportunities are extended to student composers as they become ready to take them on.

In addition to weekly private lessons, students participate in weekly group seminars with program faculty, and attend master classes with visiting artists. Topics include musicianship, ear training, score analysis, specific instrumental techniques, and student critiques.

Performing ensembles are selected to cycle through the families of orchestral instruments over time, and present the unique challenges of composing for each in different combinations.

Established local and internationally recognized artists and ensembles share their expertise in a collaborative atmosphere of lecture-demonstrations, rehearsals, and performance.

The John Adams Young Composers Program also holds an intensive workshop for dedicated and aspiring young composers each summer.

16 weeks
Spring: January 25–May 24 (no class February 22, April 5)
Individual private composition lessons scheduled weekly by mutual arrangement with instructor

Level 1: Ages 8–12

Level I Workshop: Wednesdays, 4:30–5:30pm with instructor

Tuition: $1,740

Click here to register for Level I

Level 2: Ages 13–18

Level II Workshop: Wednesdays, 5:30–7:00pm with instructor

Tuition: $1,785

Click here to register for Level II

Summer Workshop: Ages 13–18

Summer: Monday–Friday, June 26–July 20 (no class July 4)

Tuition: $2,200

Click here to register for the Summer John Adams Young Composers Workshop

New prospective students who would like to enroll should submit an original notated musical composition along with their registration forms. Acceptance into the program and faculty assignment will be based on a placement interview with the director of the John Adams Young Composers Program.

How to Enroll

New prospective students should register online using the link below, and submit an original notated musical composition to Crowden. Scores may be submitted via email to info@crowden.org, or via mail to1475 Rose Street, Berkeley, CA 94702. Acceptance into the program and faculty assignment will be based on a placement interview with the director of the John Adams Young Composers Program.

Click here to register for the John Adams Young Composers Program

The Young Composers program was founded in honor of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Adams, who has a long association with Crowden, on the occasion of his 60th birthday.
The heart of our mission is to guide and mentor our students through the formative stages of their creative growth as composers.
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