2020 Young Women Composers Camp
The Young Women Composers Camp (YWCC) is a music composition festival for students aged 14–19 who identify as female or non-binary. During the two-week program at Temple University this July, approximately 20 students will engage with college-level coursework, participate in master classes with guest composers Gabriela Lena Frank and Angélica Negrón, engage with cultural centers in the city, sing works by female composers in choir, and receive private composition lessons. Students will also spend one day of the festival at the So Percussion Summer Institute in Princeton, where they will attend rehearsals of new works for percussion, meet with their resident composer Sarah Kirkland Snider, and participate in reading a large-scale work with percussion participants. YWCC culminates in a professionally-recorded concert of world premiere compositions by our students, which will be premiered by our 2020 guest ensemble, Variant Six.
Variant Six is the ideal ensemble to work with our young composers in 2020, due to their significant experience working with composers and spearheading educational initiatives with high school students in Philadelphia. We are also thrilled to welcome Gabriela and Angélica as guest composers, both of whom are wonderfully talented composers and educators. This summer, YWCC will also collaborate with Gabriela’s program GLFCAM – specifically the CREA Initiative (Composers for Racial Equity in the Arts) – to offer a joint commission to CREA composer, Jung Yoon Wie, who will write a new work for the YWCC Choir.
YWCC’s mission is to amplify the voices of young women, to allow them access to a high level of musical training, and to close the gender gap in the music composition field. 2020 is our third season, and we have hosted guest composers/performers Missy Mazzoli, Jennifer Higdon, Andrea Clearfield, the ATLYS Quartet, and members of the Philadelphia Orchestra in previous seasons. Our camp is unique for several reasons, the most obvious being that we focus on providing high-quality composition education specifically to young female and non-binary composers in high school. Additionally, we do not require our students to have prior composition experience in order to be admitted; while other composition camps require students to submit portfolios of their work, we recognize that this requirement excludes many aspiring young composers who may not have access to this type of training due to financial or regional limitations. Lastly, we aim to make our program financially accessible by not charging an application fee, subsidizing general tuition to $700, and offering substantial financial aid scholarships.
Following the camp, our alumni have continued to study composition at institutions such as Oberlin, Princeton, and SUNY Purchase. Said one 2019 student: “I have never experienced such an empowering and uplifting environment such as this festival. I would have never known I’d meet some of my favorite composers of all time during these weeks! To know that there is a whole community of brilliant female composers who are standing with me fills me with gratitude.”
This collection of highlights from our first camp includes footage of rehearsals, classes in session, interviews with students and YWCC Artistic Director Erin Busch, and our world premieres concert. The audio featured throughout the video is taken from student works composed during the camp.
Performers: the ATLYS Quartet
Video credit: rec.today
“Locomotion” was composed by 2019 YWCC student, Caroline Skrebutenas, and was featured on our WRTI 90.1FM video livestream. About the piece, Caroline wrote:
“This piece is meant to feel like a train ride, and how you can get entranced by the sights and sounds you experience while watching outside a train window.”
Performers: Erica Peel (flute, Philadelphia Orchestra), Yumi Kendall (cello, Philadelphia Orchestra), Hanchien Lee (piano).
Suggested clip: 0:40 – 4:16
The 2019 YWCC World Premieres concert opens with two choir pieces sung by all participants: the improvisatory text piece “Angels and Demons” by Pauline Oliveros, and “Be Like The Bird” by Abbie Betinis, performed without pause. Regardless of singing experience, all YWCC students participate in the choir in order to experience the role of a new music performer, and to better understand their roles and responsibilities as composers. These two pieces demonstrate the multifaceted performing abilities of our students.
Start and End Dates
07/06/2020 — 07/17/2020