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Young Composers Festival

  • Chamber Music
  • Classical Music
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The TSO Wind Quintet and Brass Quintet perform new works composed by students in the TSO Young Composers Project. Intermediate class students, age 9 to 16, have workshopped with TSO musicians throughout the year before writing these compositions for small ensemble.

Learn More about the Young Composers Project

Josiah Duell (16) is a homeschool student in the 11th grade. He has been playing piano for ten years, and this past year has been his first in the Young Composers Project. His composition is an untitled Wind Quintet. He is grateful for the opportunity the Young Composers Project provides to its students, and the teacher’s ability to teach multiple levels of students simultaneously. Josiah came into the class with truly zero experience in composing, and Dr. Van Houten was able to bring him up to a respectable level of competence while also tending classmates with years of experience. His Quintet is his first attempt at such a composition, and he gratefully thanks the musicians for recording it.

Rahul Vedantham (16) is a Junior at BASIS Tucson North and has played the piano for nearly twelve years. He has also played the Saxophone for six years and happens to own a violin which he has tuned twice and played once. This was his first year in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s Young Composers Project. His piece is titled spinach because that’s the feeling he gets when he listens to it. Rahul has lived in Tucson for the past four years.

Zach Pittner (14) is an eighth grader at Esperero Canyon Middle School and has played piano for 7 years. Zach has participated in TSO Young Composers Project for only a year, but has been composing ever since he was 9. His piece is titled Mint Chip Ice Cream because of its sweet flavor and the similar “sweet” nature of the song. Besides composing and playing piano, Zach enjoys swimming, and hanging out with friends and family. He hopes to start organ lessons and play for his church.

9-year-old Sylvia Pine from Chicago, a lifelong home schooler, is grateful to have participated in the TSO Young Composers Project remotely this year because composing is her greatest passion. As a violinist and vocalist, she has won First Prize in 11 International Competitions, including a Gold Medal from the Young Maestro International Competition which will present her in Carnegie Hall in 2022. Her composition for solo violin won a Silver Medal from the same competition. Her brass quintet is titled A Mother’s Love because it expresses the emotions of a mother having fun and being happy in the outer sections, and being worried about her child in the middle section. She dedicated it to her own mom as thanks for helping type her music into the computer. Sylvia will make her debut as soloist with orchestra with the Tel Aviv Soloists in Israel next season.

Nora Li (13) is a seventh-grade student studying at BASIS Tucson North. She has played the piano for three and a half years, and has been in the TSO Young Composers project for one. Her brass quintet is titled Zinnia Elegans. Zinnia elegans is the scientific name for the common Zinnia flower, and its flower meaning is “remembering absent friends.” Nora also plays the trombone in her school band and is especially passionate about music and the physical sciences.

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