The Young Composer Project is an amazing opportunity for a small group of statewide high school students to study in a cohort-style setting with the NHSO’s current Composer-in-Residence. This program is one of only four programs like it across the nation, and has produced a 100% acceptance rate to college composition programs. Students attend monthly sessions, get back-stage access to NHSO rehearsals, and receive two free tickets to every NHSO concert. At the end of each season, the chamber pieces that the students write over the course of the year are performed and recorded by NHSO musicians to use on future college applications.
Gabriel Fulton, Hopkins
Pheonix Geyser, ECA
Liam Melvin, Guilford High School
Michaela Nunez, ECA
Dean Paglino, ECA
Fareed Samu, Guilford High School
The 2021-23 cohort is led by Emmy-winning composer Joel Thompson. Originally from Atlanta, Thompson is a composer, conductor, pianist, and educator currently pursuing his Doctorate in Composition at Yale. He was also a 2017 post-graduate fellow at Arizona State University’s Ensemble Lab/Projecting All Voices Initiative and a Composition Fellow at the 2017 Aspen Music Festival where he won the Hermitage Prize. Best known for his choral work, Seven Last Words of the Unarmed, Thompson recently premiered a new piece at the Colorado Music Festival in the Summer of 2021 that sets James Baldwin’s words to music. In December 2021, the Houston Grand Opera premiered his newest opera, Snowy Day, based on the 1962 award-winning children’s book by Ezra Jack Keats.
The NHSO Young Composer Project inspired an eclectic group of composers to search for greater freedom. As members of this caring community committed to music and composition, we shared dialogues that sprouted into a unique experience that sought to explore aesthetics. Through the support of Alasdair Neale, Michael Brown, Caitlin Daly-Gonzales, and members of the New Haven Symphony Orchestra, I enriched my repertoire. I recall the sounds of the professional orchestra members performing our work at Yale’s Sudler Hall and how unusual it was to have this experience during high school. It was an opportunity to strengthen our ability to illustrate ideas to others. Participating in this program developed my musicianship skills and ability to bring my thoughts to the page for a variety of orchestrations, and in ways where I find myself more present in whatever surrounds me.
Working in the NHSO Young Composer Program changed my life. I was given musical encouragement and exposure that was at the time unprecedented for me. The preparation and premiere of my piece at the end of the program by the first rate members of the New Haven Symphony, as well as the highly valuable and constructive advice from the composer Augusta Read Thomas and Maestro Boughton are things that greatly helped my musical development. Working in the NHSO Young Composer Program helped me decide to continue into music as a career. I am quite lucky to have had such an opportunity. Click here to visit Daniel’s website!