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John Adams Young Composers Program

John Adams Young Composers Program

Ages 12 to 18

When: Fall and Spring Sessions

Tuition: $2,500 per session
+ $20 Registration Fee

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.

Ages 12 to 18

Crowden music school staff on stage
Student in class

John Adams Young Composers Program

Matthew Cmiel, Program Director

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.

With an expert 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.

Notable alumni include Gabriella SmithDylan MattinglyAnaís Azul, Helen Feng, Theo HaberNick Main, Clark Nichols, Niko Umar-Durr, and Lauren Vandervelden.

Guest lecturers to the program have included Thomas Ades, Chris Cerrone, Aaron Jay Kernis, David Lang, Caroline Shaw, Tyshawn Sorey, Kaija Saariaho, and Julia Wolfe, among many others.

Course Description

Group Seminar: Wednesdays, 5:30 to 7pm

Individual private composition lessons scheduled weekly by mutual arrangement with instructor.

In-person participation is strongly encouraged, as the social aspect of group composition study is at the core of John Adams’ philosophy; however, we welcome students from all regions and can accommodate remote learning if needed.

Fall Session: September 13 to January 24
Spring Session: January 31 to May 29

This hands-on program guides young composers in the creative process. Each week, students participate in both a group seminar and individual lesson. Accomplished faculty guide students in developing their composition techniques, exploring musical examples, critical listening, and score analysis.

The fall semester will be focused on deep analysis, learning how to analyze and think about a piece in many ways at once. Harmony, structure, melody, rhythm, and timbre are just the beginnings of exploring meaning in works. Two different works will be chosen to be examined in detail, and the students will write their responses to it.

In the spring, students will be focused on chamber music and communication. They will study how to compose music that makes chamber musicians want to work together, and communicate with each other, learning how to make music that excites chamber players into playing together. There will also be a unit on virtuosity.

Each session will culminate in a live performance of student works by professional musicians.

How to Enroll

Complete our online registration form and submit registration fee before August 1, 2023 for the fall session and by January 15, 2024 for the spring session. Crowden will contact registrants to schedule a placement interview with the Program Director.

Our 40th anniversary continues with Fry Street Quartet!» Sunday, March 3
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