John Adams Young Composers Program

Ages 10–18

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, including collaborative projects in other art forms and masterclasses with visiting guest composers.

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.

Level 1: Ages 10–13
Group Seminar: Wednesdays, 4–5:30pm

Level 2: Ages 14–18
Group Seminar: Wednesdays, 5:30–7pm

September 12–May 22

Individual private composition lessons scheduled weekly by mutual arrangement with instructor

Tuition: $3850 per year


New prospective students should submit a completed registration form by the registration deadline. Crowden will contact registrants to schedule a placement interview.

Returning students need only to submit the registration form and payment by the deadline

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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.