Young Composers Project

/Young Composers Project
Young Composers Project 2019-09-04T15:57:47-07:00

I know of no other educational program in America quite like the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s Young Composers Project.  It is remarkable enough that students are afforded an opportunity to hear their first works brought to life by a professional orchestra.  Even more impressive is the fact that the TSO nurtures the young composers with lessons in orchestration, form, and notation throughout the school year.

– Dan Coleman, TSO Composer in Residence

Program Information:

The Young Composers Project is a year-long course where students learn to compose for orchestra while working alongside other young composers, orchestral musicians, conductors and contemporary composers. Musicians ages 8-18 explore the creative process of composition in the classroom and out: they attend TSO dress rehearsals and concerts, meet guest artists and composers, and work with TSO musicians. As the culminating final project, in May the TSO performs their original composition in a public reading session and students receive a live recording of their newly created work! Now in its 27th year, the TSO Young Composers Project has produced more than 400 new works by young composers.

NEW THIS YEAR: We are offering an Intermediate Level class! In the Intermediate Young Composers Project, you’ll focus on the fundamentals needed to succeed as a composer, building on the basics of the Introductory level class: melodic construction, development of motives, form and instrumentation. The final project is a wind quintet or brass quintet composition performed by the TSO Ensembles at the Young Composers Festival in May.

Register for the Young Composers Project!


Class Schedules and Resource pages:

Introductory YCP
Intermediate YCP
Advanced YCP


Awards and Recognition:

“This program has had an incredible effect on me.  Not only have I gained a large understanding of all the instruments of an orchestra, but I have discovered a passion for composition.”
—Nicolas Mariscal, 6 year YCP participant, 2009 winner of ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Award

In 2009, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers Foundation (ASCAP), honored Nicolas Mariscal with a Morton Gould Young Composer Award.  Only 39 awards were given this year from a field of 680 applicants.  Nicolas had just completed his fifth year in the TSO’s Young Composers Project.  Ben Nead, a second year participant, was a finalist.  The award provides recognition and cash awards to gifted young composers of concert music.


Learn more:

For more information about the TSO Young Composers Project program, please contact the Director of Education, Alana Richardson, at or (520) 620-9167.


2020 Young Composers Festival

A FREE festival pass gets you access to every event!
Explore lectures, Q&A sessions, and TSO performances. Fun for all ages!

May 15-17, 2020
Full schedule coming soon.

FREE Festival Pass – Available Soon