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Young Composers Festival

  • Classical Music
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In this final Young Composers Project concert, Tucson Symphony musicians perform new works composed by students in the challenging Advanced Class. These high school-aged students are already experienced composers, having written compositions throughout the year for small ensemble workshops with TSO musicians. This performance is the final product of their hard work and creativity all year: compositions for large ensemble with the mixed instrumentation of their choice.

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Rohan Rajagopal is 15 years old and attends University High School (currently remotely). He plays violin, piano, and flute. This is his 3rd year in the Advanced group, and his fifth year overall. His composition Zero, is a short, dramatic piece. It opens with a brass fanfare and then shifts to melodies in winds and strings. The meaning of the piece should be left up to the listener.

Austin Lee (14) is an 8th grader at BASIS Tucson North. He has been playing piano for 11 years and has been in the TSO Young Composers Project for 6 years now. His piece is called The Conquerors, inspired by the excitement conveyed by battle-themed music based on a poem he read in the Young Composers class this year. This piece gives him the opportunity to explore different types of styles in his composing career, and open his mind to new possibilities in composition.

Conlan Salgado (17) is a senior in high school, in his second year of training in the TSO Young Composers Project. He came to music (at first, piano and ukulele lessons) at the late age of fourteen; chronic performance fright induced him to take up composition in lieu of instrumental performance. He is grateful for the rigorous musical education which Young Composers has afforded him. In the fall, he is fortunate enough to be attending the music conservatory at the Chicago College of Performing Art to study music composition.

Demi Adetona (16) is a senior at University High School. She has played the French horn for 6 years and the piano for 12 years. This is her third and final year in the TSO’s Young Composers Project. Demi won a national award of merit for musical composition in the National PTA Reflections competition (2017), was the principal horn of the Alabama All-State Middle School Band (2017), the principal pianist of the Alabama All-State Orchestra (2018), the principal horn of the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra (2018–2020), and the principal horn of the Arizona All-State Band (2019–2021). Her piece is titled A Memory, to represent the numerous sentiments experienced when reminiscing about the past. Demi will be attending Vanderbilt University in the fall to study French horn performance.

Naataanii Gorman-Prow (18) is a graduating senior at Ironwood Ridge High School. He has played the cello for three years since the beginning of his sophomore year. He joined the TSO Young Composers Project for the first time in Fall 2020 and also plays the piano, preferring classical music. Naataanii’s composition is called Abstract. After practicing and performing his latest solo cello concerto for his high school, he was inspired to create a cello driven piece that would explore the range of the cello as well as replicate the warm attributes it has to offer. Abstract also features a quartet with Violin, Viola, Cello, and Vibraphone. In 2019, Naataanii performed with the Tucson Junior Strings. He has been accepted into the Fred Fox School of Music at the University of Arizona for the Fall 2020 semester where he will major in music composition and minor in cello performance.

Rory Bricca (17) is a junior at University High School who has played piano for 12 years and French horn for seven. It is his fourth year in the Young Composers Project. He is also in the RUHS Marching Band and Winter Drumline, takes private piano and horn lessons, and participates in the Tucson Philharmonia Youth Orchestra and Wildcat Horn Choir. His piece Landfall was featured at the 2019 TSO Young People’s Concerts. His new composition is titled Mixo, referring to the piece’s use of the Mixolydian mode and to its mix of different musical styles, including classical, jazz, and Latin. Mixo explores the use of 14 different percussion instruments with a lighthearted and groovy feel.

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