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Kids compose classical music

Igor Stravinsky said, “The crux of a vital musical society is new music.”

At Sunday’s concert of works by young composers, attendees will hear new music thoughtfully composed by bright and talented area youth – among them, perhaps, the next Bach, Liszt or Bernstein. (See box for concert details.)

The youth participating in Music in the Mountains’ Young Composers program have invested their time, talent and inspiration into the writing new music.



“When I want to express a certain emotion, I write it down and speak out through the music,” said Ellary Rose Terpening, 14, who recently won the Twin Cities Concert Association music scholarship. “I want to have a career in composition, writing classical, jazz and film scores.”

Although she sings, plays violin and piano, she wrote a piece for piano and sax for the program. Composer Mark Vance tutors Terpening; this is her second year.




Music in the Mountains started the program five years ago. According to maestro Paul Perry, “It’s another way MIM can serve the youth of our community. Our students have shown real compositional talent. Concert goers will be thoroughly enthralled with the ‘creative juices’ which our local youth have put on paper so that professional performers can give them life.”

Students use computer software to listen to their work as they write. The pieces are performed by experienced musicians at the concert.

Sage Po, 14, an award-winning harpist, is writing for trumpet and cello.

“It’s cool meeting the trumpeter and listening to him play what I had written,” Po said. “You have ideas in your head all the time. To put them on paper and have it performed is like having a dream realized.”

Even if the students don’t become composers, the classes “help them love music enough to enjoy it, listen to it, go to concerts and make music part of their lives,” said long-time music educator Aileen James.

Composer Jerry Grant teaches Graham Collings, 17. Collings has played violin for eight years; he’s performed with the Auburn Youth Symphony and Kid Fiddle. He’s taking the class in part to “learn music theory.” He finds it “fun and rewarding to hear music I wrote.”

Graduating senior Michael Coyne has studied composition for five years with Vance.

“As my skill level has increased, I’ve enjoyed it more,” Coyne said. Though a talented cellist, he admits his music is difficult to play and listen to. “I enjoy chaotic, primitive music with lots of banging and crashing. It’s bizarre and out of tune.”

“Michael’s piece is very sophisticated. He’s very capable; he can just sit down and write. It’s sort of an unwritten rule that the kids write with a classical focus.,” Vance said.

KNOW & GO

WHAT: Young Composers Concert, part of Music in the Mountains Summer Fest

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Peace Lutheran Church, 828 West Main St., Grass Valley

ADMISSION: Adults $5, Youth free

INFORMATION: Call 265-6124


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