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Native American Composer Apprentice Project (NACAP)

Native students express their unique voices as 21st century Native citizens through creation & presentation of their own original works.

The Latest Update

2016 NACAP Compositions!

Posted on January 6, 2017 by Grand Canyon Music Festival
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After intensive one-on-one and group lessons with composers Raven Chacon and Michael Begay, 33 NACAP apprentice composers from Native communities in Arizona and Utah created 33 new works for string quartet which were workshopped and premiered by the Catalyst Quartet and Sweet Plantain at the Grand Canyon Music on Sept.  4. The works were also toured to the student’s communities, including the Navajo Nation Museum and Scottsdale Community College, and were recorded by Central Sound at 8, Phoenix’s NPR affiliate.

Our partnership with the Arizona Opera and Heard Museum culminated at the Heard Museum in Phoenix in April with the world premieres of mini-operas written by our NACAP teaching composers Raven Chacon and Michael Begay and apprentice composers, with texts drawn from their traditions and contemporary Native life. The works were performed by Arizona Opera artists at the Heard Museum and Grand Canyon Music Festval, where they were recorded by Arizona Sound at 8.

 

Listen to Emilio Gracia’s exquisite “Rise of the Fallen” from NACAP 2015 as we await our 2016 recordings!

More Updates ▼

Video: NACAP at Tuba City High School

Posted on October 21, 2015 by Grand Canyon Music Festival
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Apprentice composer Xavier Ben listens to the Catalyst Quartet’s first read of his “Wandering Tree.”

NACAP at Tuba City High School

Posted on October 21, 2015 by Grand Canyon Music Festival

When we arrived at Tuba City High School we learned their main building had been evacuated. We made due with hallway space in the cafeteria building for our workshops with our Tuba City apprentice composers. Apprentice Xavier Ben and his teaching composer-in-residence Michael Begay listen to the Catalyst Quartet’s first read of Xavier’s piece “Wandering Tree.”

We had a brief visit from a school employee!

Voices That Need to be Heard

Posted on September 25, 2015 by Grand Canyon Music Festival
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We were delighted and honored to have American Public Media’s “Performance Today” with us to share and report on NACAP 2015. In addition to the you tube link provided here, you can view and listen to more PT coverage of NACAP 2015 here:

https://performancetoday.atavist.com/voices-that-need-to-be-heard

and here on PT’s website: http://www.yourclassical.org/programs/performance-today

Our apprentice composers workshop their compositions with the Catalyst Quartet.

Posted on September 22, 2015 by Grand Canyon Music Festival
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The Catalyst Quartet travelled to Whitehorse High School on the Navajo Nation in Utah to meet some of our 2015 apprentice composers and workshop their works. 

Apprentice composer Kathy Edaakie was inspired by the Chinese erhu for her quartet, “Too Attached.” Listen to the first read through and the young composer’s first workshop with the quartet members.

Native American Composer Apprentice Project (NACAP)

Posted on June 30, 2015 by Grand Canyon Music Festival

What’s new?

Lots of new music!

Nine students at Chinle High School and five at Red Valley Cove High School on the Navajo Nation have been composing duos, trios and quartets, with lots more music to come from Whitehorse, Salt River, and Tuba City! 

Performances planned for Grand Canyon on September 6, Navajo Nation Museum and Heard Museum.

Stay tuned!

 

Overview

The Native American Composer Apprentice Project (NACAP) is an intensive music composition immersion program in which Native American composers tutor Native students on the Navajo, Hopi & Salt River Pima-Maricopa Reservations in the art of composition, resulting in the creation of new works which are performed & recorded by professional ensembles including the Catalyst Quartet.

Young, emerging Native composers give back to their communities as teachers and mentors to students from Native reservation communities. Students participate in a complete composer experience, with intense one-on-one tutoring in composition & workshops with professional ensembles. Each student’s original work for strings and/or mixed ensemble is rehearsed, performed, recorded, and toured to the students’ communities and venues including the Navajo Nation and Heard Museums, Scottsdale Community College, Arizona Opera, & Grand Canyon Music Festival. NACAP nurtures the talents of Native American students and gives them a window into careers in music.

NACAP received the President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities Youth Program Award from First Lady Michelle Obama, the nation’s highest youth program award, NewMusic USA New Music Educators Award, & Governor’s Arts Award.

NEW IN 2015 “Stories We Tell”: In partnership with Arizona Opera and Heard Museum, NACAP composers create micro-operas.

6/1/15 PLANNING

7/15-8/28/15 INDIVIDUAL INSTRUCTION. Minimum 4 two-hour private & 2-hour group classes including instruction for select students on “Stories We Tell” micro-operas.

8/31-9/4/15 WORKSHOPS. Students one-on-one workshops with ensembles-in-residence.

TOUR. Student works performed at schools, Navajo Nation and Heard Museums, Scottsdale Community College.

9/6/15. Grand Canyon workshops with composers & ensembles, world premiere performance & recording.

“Stories We Tell”

9/2015-12/2015: Composition of micro operas continues, drafts submitted.

2/2016: Workshops of micro-operas at Arizona Opera.

4/2016: Final rehearsals, world premieres of micro-operas.

7/15/16-8/28/16 INDIVIDUAL INSTRUCTION. Minimum of 4 two-hour private & 2-hour group classes including instruction for select students on “Stories We Tell” micro-operas.

8/31/16-9/4/16 WORKSHOPS. Students one-on-one workshops with ensembles-in-residence.

TOUR. Student works performed at schools, Navajo Nation and Heard Museums, Scottsdale Community College.

9/6/16. Grand Canyon workshops with composers & ensembles, world premiere performance & recording.

“Stories We Tell”

9/2016-12/2016: Composition of micro operas continues, drafts submitted.

2/2017: Workshops of micro-operas at Arizona Opera.

WHY: NACAP communities are poor, underserved, rural & isolated. In 2001 Michael Begay was struggling to graduate high school. After participating in NACAP’s first season he said, “This experience changed my life.” Michael (Navajo) has gone on to study recording & been asked to compose music for independent films. In ’07, he joined NACAP as an assistant, receiving a grant from the American Composers Forum’s First Nations Composer Initiative. People often comment to him that they didn’t know “Natives composed music.” He says, “NACAP gave me discipline, not just in writing music but overall. It opened my mind to art and how powerful art is… I come from a land that is beautiful & always shimmering with broken dreams, broken bottles.” NACAP students have appeared on “From the Top” at Carnegie Hall, Songs Unlimited Festival, AK, & Fort Worth where they presented their music to thousands of school students.

HOW: NACAP is supported by the NEA, AZ and Utah Arts Commissions, NavajoYES, partner schools & various foundations. Strong community support and dedicated teaching artists are essential components of NACAP.

 

Project Media

FILM: NACAP Overview
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This 4-minute video puts you in the NACAP environment, from reservation life to world premiere performance. Performing: Ensembles in residence ETHEL, Catalyst Quartet, flutist Clare Hoffman perform “Possessed by Obscurity,” composed by NACAP student composer Rodney Yazzie. 1:38: Ensemble in residence works with student composers 2:10: Composers in residence Raven Chacon, Michael Begay , and Blair Quamahongnewa in class with student composers. 2:48: Shrine of the Ages Concert Hall, world premiere performance 3:15 Raven Chacon speaks about NACAP

FILM: NACAP COMPOSERS’ PROCESS
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This 12 minute video takes you through the composer residency phase of NACAP. Composer in residence Raven Chacon works with composition students at Whitehorse High School, Navajo Nation. The following segments give a good overview of the process as students begin their compositional journeys: 1:45-2:40: Begin to Use the Language 3:22-4:19: Write a Complete Melody 4:24-5:07: Write and Find on the Piano 5:08-5:52: Hear the Music in Your Head 6:27-8:15 Conference 9:04-9:56 When You are Stuck

Humming Birds
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Whitehorse High School’s Nizhoni Spencer continues to “spread her wings,” composing a work for strings and two trombones. Nizhoni’s past NACAP compositions include a work for string quartet and symphonic band. Nizhoni has studied with Raven Chacon. “Humming Birds” is performed by members of ETHEL and Guidonian Hand at the Grand Canyon Music Festival.

Start and End Dates

06/01/201503/31/2017

Location

Various, Arizona

6 updates
Last update on January 6, 2017

Project Created By

Grand Canyon, Arizona
Vision. A pioneering chamber music festival with innovative programming and education projects in a magnificent world heritage site. Mission. It is the mission of the Grand Canyon Music Festival to enhance the Grand Canyon experience by presenting world-class music in Grand Canyon National Park and in outreach programs to schools in rural and Native American communities. Awards. 2-time…

In Collaboration With

Composer
Tuba City, Arizona
Composer
Hotevilla, Arizona

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