In the Intermediate Young Composers Project, you’ll focus on the fundamentals of composition 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.

Meet the Instructor

Zachary Van Houten grew up as a classically-trained pianist from Provo, Utah. Today, he is a composer, educator, and French horn player in Tucson, Arizona where he teaches band, orchestra, and AP Music Theory at BASIS Tucson North and teaches composition for the Young Composers Project with the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. He received a DMA in Music Composition, with a minor in Horn performance from the University of Arizona in 2018, studying with composer Daniel Asia. He has a Master’s and Bachelor’s in Music Composition from Brigham Young University where he worked with Steven Ricks, Christian Asplund, Neil Thornock, and Michael Hicks. In 2018, he was the Daveen Fox Composer-in-Residence at the University of Arizona. In 2016, he participated in a series of masterclasses in Berlin with the Berlin Philharmonic horn section. In 2012, he was part of a music-intensive study abroad in Vienna. He has also performed in Japan, South Korea, Austria, Germany, and Italy.

2020-21 Class Schedule

Classes take place on the Saturdays listed below, from 1:00-3:00 PM. The three Musician Workshops will be held in person, in the Performance Hall at the Tucson Symphony Center (2175 N. 6th Ave), and socially distanced following CDC guidelines. All other classes will be held remotely on Zoom. Deadlines are noted in blue.

Oct. 3 – First Class

Oct. 10
Oct. 17 – Brass Quintet Workshop
Oct. 24 – Class Change/Payment Due Deadline
Oct. 31
Nov. 7 – String Quintet Workshop
Nov. 14
Nov. 21
Dec. 5 – Wind Quintet Workshop 
Dec. 12

Jan. 16
Jan. 23
Jan. 30 – Guest Speaker TSO Composer in Residence, Dan Coleman
Feb. 6
Feb. 20 – Guest Speaker TSO Orchestra Librarian, Carrie White
Mar. 6
Mar. 13 – Rough Draft Due
Mar. 27
Apr. 10
Apr. 17
Apr. 24 – Final Project Due
May 1
May 8 – Final Assessment
May 15 – Student Bios and Headshots Due (No Class)

Rehearsals – Remote Session via Zoom
Brass Quintet Rehearsal: May 12, 7-8 PM
Wind Quintet Rehearsal: May 13, 7-8 PM

Private Viewing Party – Remote Session via Zoom
Intermediate Class Viewing Party: June 9, 6 PM

Public Digital Release – TSO Website and Social Media
Intermediate Class Performances: June 11, 2021

For the first time ever, TSO Young Composers Project will be adding a few optional sessions during the summer months, open to all 2020-21 students.

Conducting Workshop with Music Director Jose Luis Gomez
June 5, 10 – 11 AM – Remote via Zoom

Meet Maestro Gomez and learn about what conductors look for in new music scores, how they rehearse ensembles, and try on a few conducting moves of your own.

Student Think Tank Session
June 26, 1 – 3 PM – Remote via Zoom

Now in its 28th year, the Young Composers Project is in a time of growth and change. As improvements and additions to the program are considered, it is vital that YOU, the composers, have your voices heard. This “think tank” session will be a collaborative student effort reflecting on all aspects the program – what is working, what could be improved, and what you would like to see it become for other students following in your footsteps.

This student-led session is not mandatory, but it is a platform upon which to share your thoughts and opinions. The feedback and ideas provided during the session will be used by TSO Director of Education to continue to advocate for new ways the program can benefit and represent its students. A 2019 student think tank led to the addition of the Intermediate Level class, hiring another composition instructor, and increased musician involvement in the program – all based on student suggestions!