Contemporary Showcase Edmonton Society
- Acoustic instruments
- 13 to 18 years of age
A series of workshops over the course of 6 - 8 weeks.
Young Composer Program
Young Composer Program – Contemporary Showcase Edmonton
The Young Composer Program organized by the Contemporary Showcase Edmonton Society introduces students ages 12 and up to composition and assists students to develop their compositional techniques.
This annual program is held in 4 sessions:
Session #1 (Group session of 2 hours)
The composer/clinician speaks about composition in the first hour. These lectures have included anecdotal information about how the clinician became interested in composition themselves, how they approach starting a piece, where they get their ideas, etc. These sessions have also included discussions of elements of new music including analysis of scores, presentation of non-diatonic scales, and even sound walks.
The 2nd hour, held in a piano lab, gives the students a chance to start sketching ideas or doing assignments given by their clinician with the opportunity to discuss these ideas with the clinician as they begin to take shape. Clinicians have given a variety of starting assignments. These include:
- Introducing a variety of non-diatonic scales (including whole tone and octatonic)
- Experimenting with 12-tone rows
- Writing a variation on an original theme
- Creating one unit for an aleatoric box work to be performed collectively.
- Creating two different triads (avoiding the standard triadic formula of stacked thirds) and developing a variety of ways to use the notes in different registers and groupings.
- Creating an overall sketch for a piece by first mapping out tonal character, dynamics, registers, etc. and the approximate number of bars for each section.
Session #2, 3 & 4 (Individual lessons for 30 minutes each)
After a 2 week period, the next 3 sessions are held weekly. Each student receives a half hour lesson with the clinician to discuss how to develop their ideas into a full piece. Students are encouraged to attend other students’ lessons for maximum benefit.
After the 4th session, the pieces are mostly finished. Students then have 1 to 2 weeks to polish their score and submit it to the clinician for final comments.
A final concert is held about 3 weeks after the last class for the students to perform their own compositions.
Students, especially at beginning stages, are encouraged to do handwritten scores to gain practice using their rudiments training.
Created Pieces from previous Young Composer Programs
Samples below include Cat and Mouse (inspired by Bridget the cat) and Evening Storm both by Jonathan Urschel – age 12; Waltz of the Wild by Ashley Kang – age 14; and MASS EXTINCTION! by Sointu Aalto, age 16.
Jonathan’s clinician had the students experiment with 12 tone writing as an exercise. Jonathan’s Evening Storm was his completed exercise and he chose to use 12 tone elements in his main project, Cat and Mouse, also. Jonathan did not have any previous writing experience.
Ashley also had very little writing experience and Waltz of the Wild was written in her first year of the program.
Sointu has been involved in the program for at least 3 years and has chosen to study composition seriously throughout the year. The composition below, written during the 2020 program is the winner of the 2020 Louise MacPherson Memorial Ward. It embodies her rage at the number of species presently becoming extinct and the silent tam-tam represents those who stand by doing nothing to change the problem.Read More +