Reflections on the Composer Mentorship Program, Part I

By Barry Kempton

Today’s post is written by Max Carlson, The Schubert Club’s Program and Production Associate who manages our Composer Mentorship Program. 

Did you know that The Schubert Club hosts a unique opportunity for high-school student composers called the Composer Mentorship Program? Each year, students in the greater Twin Cities area can apply to work with The Schubert Club’s composer-in-residence Edie Hill for the coming academic year. The students selected to participate benefit from bi-weekly lessons, roundtable sessions, and concert outings as a group. Specific opportunities include:

  • composition, notation, orchestration and the creative process
  • attendance at local performances, rehearsals, and workshops
  • college preparation and career-building opportunities
  • premiere of their work on The Schubert Club’s Courtroom Concert Series
  • one-year membership to the American Composers Forum

The mentorship program is offered free of charge to each selected composer and is sponsored in part by HRK Foundation.

As we gear up for the 2016-2017 season, we asked our participants from this past season to share a few reflections on their time in the program:

louisabyron_webLouisa Byron
The Schubert Club Composer Mentorship Program has helped me in so many ways in accomplishing my dreams of becoming a composer. At the welcoming reception, I knew right away that this program was going to be an awarding experience. The concerts we attended inspired me so much to try new techniques and expanded the music that I listen to. It was so helpful to have the Copper Street Brass Quintet perform and give us composers advice on how to write for brass. On the Thursday nights, Edie Hill encouraged me to think outside the box of what I was used to writing for. This program helped me realize that composing is what I want to study in college and eventually have as a career. I would like to thank The Schubert Club and the people who made this opportunity possible.

simonpeters_webSimon Peters
The Schubert Club’s Composer Mentorship Program has been greatly enjoyable for me throughout the year. With Edie’s mentorship I have gained a better understanding of my creative process, and more confidence in my work. Also, the interaction with other composers and Copper Street Brass has been lovely and has helped shape my composing process. My entire experience with the program has been absolutely wonderful.

seamusflyn_webSeamus Flynn
The Schubert Club Mentorship Program has been an excellent opportunity to connect with a composer mentor, a professional ensemble, and other high school composers. Since I was in frequent contact with the ensemble-in-residence, I saw it as an opportunity to try new things, and Edie Hill is a very encouraging mentor. I also have fond memories of standing around with other high school composers after concerts of new music, and analyzing what the composers had done well and not well. I highly recommend the Program.

saraahbushara_webSaraah Bushara
I am certainly not alone in saying that my experience with The Schubert Club Composer Mentorship Program has been completely vital and invaluable to my growth as a composer and to my musical education in general. To be able to mold musical ideas into complete, listenable pieces is virtually impossible to achieve alone, as what makes sense musically to us may not make sense to an audience, and a program that combines not only a mentor with world-class breadth of musical experience with extensive interaction a professional ensemble is the most effective way to teach the craft of composition.

Next week some of the mentorship alumni from years past will share their experiences with the program and where they are now.

Learn more about the Composer Mentorship Program and download an application here:

The Deadline to apply for the 2016-2017 season is Monday, June 20, 2016.