Welcome to the Young Composers Festival! Thank you so much for joining us to celebrate the accomplishments of these great students.
Please scroll down to see biographies for each student; biographies are organized by class, then by alphabetical first name.

Introductory Class Students

Akatl Rodriguez Cervantes

My name is Akatl Rodriguez Cervantes. I’m 13 years old, and I’m in 7th grade. My main instrument is the violin, which I have been playing for two years. This is my first year in the Young Composers Project.

I named my piece String Quintet No. 1, since I didn’t quite understand what I created. It shifts between a monophonic, homophonic, and polyphonic texture. The piece is constantly changing along the way, and becomes almost a new piece by the time it ends

Camila Guerra

Camila Guerra is 11 years old and a fifth grade student at The Montessori Schoolhouse in Tucson. She’s been playing the violin for four years and is on her second year in the Young Composers’ Project. She likes swimming, running, reading and Kung fu. Her piece is called The Super Cool piece. She’s also composed a short piece for violin and stand-up bass with her cousin Natalia and is at work on another collaboration with her. These pieces are inspired by spending time with her cat, Ocho, and by observing other animals in nature.

Charlie Linneman

My name is Charlie Linneman. I am 11 years old and in fifth grade. I play cello, bassoon, and piano, and am always looking to add additional instruments. This is my first year in the Young Composers Project. My composition is titled “Rondo for String Quintet in C# Minor.” I did not have much inspiration for this work, but I did have a process for creating, much like my other pieces created with YCP. Usually I think of a melody and work with it on the piano and then transfer it to a more interesting string quintet form; this piece was no different. While I did have some images and ideas that the music brought to my mind I don’t want to reveal them because I would like the audience to have a blank slate in their minds when they hear this piece so that they might conjure up their own.

Francis Ali-Osman

My name is Francis Ali-Osman and I am currently a sixth grader. I am a founding member of Mariachi Nueva Luna and I play the mighty violin. The violin is my instrument of choice because it is small, yet has the potential to heavily impact the music it plays, just like me! The 2023-2024 year was my first year in the Young Composers Project and I must admit, I loved it! Today, I would like to introduce my composition, entitled, “The Conflict”. This was my very first time attempting to compose music. I found it to be challenging and exciting. My inspiration for this piece came from my love of mysteries. The piece begins with multiple sounds occurring at once, as if though something had transpired. Then, the music depicts a type of melancholy as the action is revealed. There is confusion and questioning in the music, followed by a detailed explanation. The piece ends with the truth being revealed and normalcy being restored. Welcome to my world of music! I hope you enjoy my piece.

Joshua Caraballo

Joshua Caraballo (14) is an 8th grade student at Doolen Middle School who has played violin for about 3 years. He has been with TSO Young Composers for 1 year. His piece is called Chaos Theory. He was inspired by Dr. Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park. What to expect is dissonance and disorder to then come together as order.

Joshua Cho

Joshua is a 13-year-old 7th grader at Legacy Traditional School. He plays the piano and cell and has been in the Young Composers Project for 1 year. His piece is titled “String Quintet #1: Above the Clouds”. Joshua says about his piece: “I was inspired by famous composers like Mozart and Beethoven. My piece is about having peace and solving everything non-violently. That is why I want the audience to have peace and be peaceful.”

Leo West

Leo West YCP bio – 2024.

Age: 12 years

Instrument(s): Bb clarinet and alto saxophone.

Years in YCP: 1

YCP class: introductory.

Other Piece information: I composed this piece in about two weeks for a mixed, mostly synthesized ensemble. I Transcribed it to string quintet in a week and revised the piece over about a month.

Liam Lambeth

NAME: Liam Lambeth
GRADE/AGE: 8th Grade/14
INSTRUMENTS: Viola (2 yrs) & Alto/Tenor Saxophone (3 yrs)
YEARS IN YCP: First year
TITLE OF PIECE: Petite Voiture

I wanted to write a dance but changed my mind partway through, which is why there are so many sections. The lower voices tend to be mu favorites so I put in quite a few viola, cello, and bass solos. I chose a French title so my piece would be unique and it fit very well with my original idea of a French dance. It translates to “Little Car” – it has no real significance, I just used a random phrase generator and it was the first one that came up.

Max Hao

Max Hao (10) is a fourth grader at Sunrise Drive Elementary School.  He has practiced piano for four and a half years.  This is his first year in YCP (Young Composers Project).  His piece is titled “Max’s String Quintet No.1”.  It is inspired by multiple past assignments and is written in ABACA form.

Miles Hao

Greeting! My name is Miles Hao and I am 4632 ½ days old, or 6672240 (I think) minutes old. I’m in the 7th grade and I go to Basis Tucson North (lots of stress lol). I play the piano and have been for 7 years. This is my first year of YCP, and I love it so far. I wrote my piece with great difficulty, and I wrote it by choosing a past composition I really liked. I named is “String Quintet No. 1”, which is very original. Anyways, I hope you enjoy.

Intermediate Class Students

Carrick Montague

I’m a junior in high school with a love of video games, which I play with my controller, and a passion for their soundtracks, which I play with my piano!  This is my first year in the Young Composers project, and I’ve made a wind quintet called Fervalen Lake – the groundwork of a track for a video game of my own!

Fervalen Lake is about a beautiful mountain lake in a fantasy world and a boy’s quest to delve into its depths to destroy Despair, who lurks at its bottom.  There, the boy has an encounter with Hope, and he returns to the surface more knowledgeable than before.  It carries the listener through all the events in the boy’s quest – The beautiful surface, the currents under the water, the depths of Despair, the encounter with Hope, the ascent, and the return to the surface.

Elly Blake

Elly Blake is a sophomore that goes to Tucson High School. From a young age she has always been intrigued by music, playing piano since the age of 9, starting to compose straight out of middle school, and joining the Young Composers Project for the 2nd time this year.

This year, her final piece “Rusted Kingdom”, is a story about the downfall of a once very prestigious kingdom, and listening to it she wanted the audience to hear the cracks in every stone brick, as this kingdom is fallen and reborn.

Gwen Rutschman

Gwen Ryan is currently in her second year participating in the Tucson Symphony Orchestra Young Composer Program. At the age of 13, Gwen has been playing the guitar since she was 5 years old. In 2020, she also started learning the piano and drums. Gwen finds joy in performing live music around town and at events like the Tucson Folk Festival. She has a particular passion for singer-songwriter melodic styles and has enjoyed learning to compose her own music, drawing from her ideas and dreams. With aspirations to pursue a career in the music industry, Gwen aims to become a songwriter or producer in the future.

Isaac Ornstein

Isaac is nine years old and is currently in 3rd grade at Fruchthendler Elementary School.  He is a keen pianist, plays the recorder and also sings in his school choir.  This is Isaac’s second year of participating in the Young Composer’s Project.

Isaac’s composition is called The Forest.  It is about a journey through a forest as animals and trees wake up during Springtime.  It is a mysterious piece of music about the forest environment and it shows the forest animals communicating with each other and playing together.

Jack Shepherd

Jack Shepherd is a pianist, trombonist, and percussionist. He is a sixth grader at St. Michael’s School and this is his first year in Young Composers Project. He has been playing piano for seven years, trombone for two years, and percussion for about five years. He has written two brass quintets including his new, “Flash Flood.” He’s written one wind quintet, one string quintet, and many piano solos. He’s also recently done live underscore and sound effects for a local theatre production.

Kaleigh DeLong

Kaleigh DeLong is an 8th grader who goes to Orange Grove Middle School at the age of 14. Her main instrument is percussion, and she will be one of the bass drums for the drumline next year. This is her first year with the Young Composers Project. She wrote this piece called Assassin, which was inspired by a particular character in a video game whose main job is to be an assassin. Who would’ve guessed? The main ‘storyline’ of the piece is to follow an assassin’s journey for one kill. As suspense builds with the trills faintly in the background, at the very end, it ends with the main target being murdered, followed by a high-pitched scream, which finally concludes the piece.

Karim Trammel

Karim Trammel is a graduating 6th grader at Alice Vail Middle School. He joined the Tucson Young Composer Program by the recommendation of his piano teacher Miss Allison. He’s been playing the piano for 5 years. He has learned and performed songs varying from rock n roll to classical.  He has even taught himself songs from video games that he likes to play.  In addition to piano, Karim plays the French horn at school, and he took violin lessons for 3 years. In addition to music, Karim plays soccer in a competitive league.  His other hobbies include origami, collecting rocks and gems, playing video games, and watching cooking shows with his family. He likes to camp, swim in monsoon water holes, and cook and try new foods.  Karim is a good student in all subjects.  He lives at home with his 15 year old sister Mitra, his parents, his dog Auggie, & cat Toby.

Lindy Feaster

Lindy Feaster is a junior at Tucson High Magnet School. She plays the violin, and this is her first year in the Young Composers Project. Her composition, written for wind quintet, is titled “Water” and it mimics the steady flow of a river.

Tomás McGovern

The piece “Funeral March for Brass Quintet” was written by 14 year old Tomas McGovern. He has been in the Young Composers Project for two years now, and, outside of composing, he plays flute in school and at a youth symphony, and runs track. This piece was mainly inspired by the marches so prevalent in Gustav Mahler’s symphonies, specifically the 6th, 5th, and 3rd. Halfway through composing, he was recommended to listen to Mendelssohn’s Funeral March by his teacher, Dr. Van Houten, which inspired the A, B, A form of the piece. The first movement of this piece (the march) is meant to represent anger at the death of a person. The second represents grieving, sadness, and a little bit of relief. And the third movevent is largely the same as the first, but with a little more anger injected.

Advanced Class Students

Aditya Sunder

Aditya Sunder is a high school junior at BASIS Tucson North. He played piano for many years, and has been in the Young Composers Project for four years. His piece, titled “Rain,” is a musical portrait of the process of rain: chaos, regrowth, and prosperity dispersed throughout a period of time. The piece also highlights the many emotions, sounds, and sensations one experiences from rain. The inspiration for this work came from Aditya’s time in India during the monsoon season, where he paid close attention to and appreciated the nature of rain, something seen less often in Tucson.

Allegra Canelos

Hello! My name is Allegra Canelos and I am a senior at University High. This is my second year in the young composers project. I play the guitar in jazz band and the drum set in drumline, but my main instrument is my voice! I had the fun opportunity of being apart of the TSOC for Mahler last year, and Verdi’s Requiem this year. My composition is titled “The Heartbreak.” It tackles the emotions that one feels following the loss of someone that they love, and how darkness can turn into acceptance.

Austin Lee

Hello! My name is Austin Lee. I am 17 years old and am a junior at BASIS Tucson North. I have been playing piano for 14 years and have been in the Young Composers Project for around 8 years. The piece that is being performed today is titled “Nebula”, inspired by the wonder of how our universe creates the stars and matter of our known galaxy. Please enjoy!

Fox Foster

Fox Foster is a Junior at Catalina Foothills High School, and this is his fifth year participating in the TSO Young Composers Project. Fox uses the piano as his main instrument to compose and has performed several piano recitals in the Tucson area. When not working on composing Fox spends his time trail running, cycling and swimming.

“Penumbra” is the name of Fox’s piece, inspired by an eclipse, symbolizing the constant movement and change in the universe, but also predictability.

Krish Vedantham

My name is Krish Vedantham. I am currently an eighth grader at BASIS Tucson North, and I play piano and baritone saxophone. This is my
third year in the Young Composers Project, and my piece is called “Philohellenisism.” Philohellenisism is a take on the word Philhellenism which  is derived from Greek and it means love of Greek culture. My main inspirations for this piece were Saint-Saëns’s “Danse Macabre”, the arrangement by F. Liszt, Verdi’s Requiem, specifically the Dies Irae part, Bizet’s Carmen Suites, and Holst’s The Planets, more specifically Mars. There are in total 5 main themes throughout the piece. I hope you enjoy my piece.

Oliver Ward

Oliver Ward is a 15 year old sophomore at Catalina Foothills High School. He plays trumpet and piano and has been a part of the Young Composers Project for three years. His composition is titled Both Tender and Energetic.

Ryoto Brumitt

Ryoto Brumitt is 15 and has been playing the violin for 8 years. This is his 4th year in the Young Composers Project and his first symphony to be world-premiered by the Tucson Symphony Orchestra. This piece, “Accordionist’s Fantasy” was originally written for accordion and orchestra. Unfortunately the accordion was not available, so he adapted it to winds. It is about an accordionist who owns a café straight across from the world-famous ballroom and plays his accordion for his customers. While he is busy providing local cuisine and folk music, he always enjoys the music coming from the ballroom and starts to dream of playing his accordion with the ballroom orchestra.

Wexler Mackey

My name is Wexler Mackey and my piece is called Conceptual Drawl. It isn’t really about anything, and is based loosely on a march kind of theme, with some other stuff mixed in. I am a junior at University High School and have been in the Young composers project for the past 3 years, and I play piano. I hope you enjoy my piece!