Friday, March 29, 2013

Student Composer Showcase

On Monday, VPR Classical is kicking off a new feature that celebrates student composers from the region. Each episode of the Student Composer Showcase will air three times during the first week of each month. The first edition will air April 1 at 4:05pm, April 3 at 8:05am and April 5 at 12:05pm. The series will also be archived at

The new series is the result of a collaboration with Music-COMP, a music composition mentoring program that matches aspiring students with accomplished composers and supports live performances of their work. Twice a year, a large number of student compositions are featured in public concerts performed by professional musicians at the Music-COMP Opus events. Other performances include collaborations with Vermont ensembles such as the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Vermont Youth Orchestra, Burlington Ensemble and more.

The first student composer is Justin Gates of Franklin, Vt., and a senior at Missisquoi Valley Union High School. His piece, written for string quartet, is called "What I Knew Would Come."  It was written last summer at a program for young composers called the String Quartet Project, run by Music-COMP and Vermont composer Erik Nielsen, Gate’s mentor for the piece, in conjunction with Burlington Ensemble. The piece was first performed in Burlington in September 2012. The recording of that performance will be included in the first edition of the Student Composer Showcase.

Gates is a talented young man who has already been accepted to Ithaca College and Berklee College of Music. He is also in the process of writing a piece for Vermont's professional vocal ensemble Counterpoint, and that piece will likely premiere in late April or May of this year.

The Student Composer Showcase is being launched in conjunction with Public Radio Music Month. During the month of April, VPR and VPR Classical will present special programs, conversations, and more to celebrate public radio's contributions to Vermont’s musical landscape.

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