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.

2021–22 Class Schedule

Classes take place on the Saturdays listed below, from 1:00–3:00 PM, at the Tucson Symphony Center (2175 N. 6th Ave). Deadlines are noted in blue.

Fall Semester, 2021

Sept. 4 – First Day of Class!
Sept. 11
Sept. 18 – Special Guests, TSO String Quintet
Sept. 25
Oct. 2 – Tuition Payment Deadline. Last day to switch class levels or drop the class.
Oct. 9
Oct. 16 – Special Guests, TSO Wind Quintet
Oct. 23
Oct. 30 – Special Guests, TSO Brass Quintet
Nov. 6
Nov. 13 – NO CLASS
Nov. 20
Dec. 4
Dec. 11
Dec. 18

Spring Semester, 2022

Jan. 15
Jan. 22
Jan. 29
Feb. 5
Feb. 12
Feb. 19
Mar. 5 – Special Guest, TSO Music Librarian
Mar. 12 – NO CLASS
Mar. 19 – NO CLASS
Mar. 26 – Rough Draft Due

Apr. 2
Apr. 9
Apr. 23 – Final Project Due
Apr. 30 – Final Assessment
May 8 – Festival Prep

2021–22 Young Composers Festival

This year, for the first time ever, we are partnering with the American Composers Orchestra’s EarShot program. Students will have the opportunity to meet with professional composers from across the country, and witness the EarShot 2022 Reading Sessions. Watch how new professional compositions get read, rehearsed, and edited during the first half of the Festival week, and then it’s your turn! The Tucson Symphony Orchestra will read, rehearse, and record your compositions, and you’ll get feedback from the EarShot composers as well!

EarShot 2022

May 17-19

Young Composers Festival

May 20-22