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Supporting Student Composers

Music-COMP connects students and professional composers online to help them develop their works for concert performance.

The Latest Update

Opus 31 Resounding Success!

Here’s one audio recording from the event to peek your interest as we prepare all recordings from Opus 31 to share on our website.

Under Ice was written by Izzy Patterson, grade 10 at Essex High School. Izzy describes his work, “This contemporary piece aims to create new worlds out of tone, inspired by oceans hidden beneath sheets of ice in the North Pole. It uses the piano, suspended cymbal, and trumpet.”

Performers: Tim Woos, piano

Chris Rivers, trumpet

Evan Peltier, cymbal


More Updates ▼

Two students Featured with New Works this Weekend

Music-COMP Alumni, Jacob Morton-Black, now a student at Ithaca College, won the Young Composer Competition for the Burlington Chamber Orchestra’s 2016 Celebration of Youth Concert. Sat., May 14 7:30 pm UVM Recital Hall. Kayoko Dan is the guest conductor. Jacob wrote this work In Memoriam for his grandfather who recently passed away.


Leslie Bixby, a current Music-COMP member at Black River High School in Ludlow, will have her orchestral work performed by the Champlain Philharmonic at 4 pm on Sunday, May 15th at the Town Hall Theater in Middlebury.


Congratulations to both and looking forward to these major accomplishments!

Opus 31 Concert with 26 World Premiers!

April 27th is near and the world premiers of student compositions with professional performers will be presented to an audience of family, friends, teachers, and community members. Each student work from composers in grades 3-12 has been through the online mentoring process with professional musicians. From the over 100 works submitted, 26 were selected as “best for live performance”.

Each student will rehearse with the professional musicians. The day also includes concurrent workshops: Matt LaRocca, composer mentor and Assistant Director, sharing his multimedia presentation, Arctic Voices, and James Stewart, Vermont Public Radio host and producer of the 3 minute look at music history called TimeLine.

The concert is free and open to the public at Elley-Long Music Center at St. Michael’s College at 6:30 pm on Wednesday, April 27th. This is a family friendly event. Stay tuned for highlights to come…

Vermont Symphony Orchestra premiers ninth grader’s new work

Colin Desch plays cello in his school’s orchestra at Montpelier High School and composes music. Music-COMP asked Colin to write for a small ensemble of strings and woodwinds from the VSO’s annual Farmers’ Night concert, presented in the Vermont State House in January 2016.

Colin participates in Music-COMP with works performed before in Opus 28 and Opus 30, Music-COMP sponsored live performances with professional performers. Key to each of these concerts is the online connection students have with professional composer mentors who review and respond to works-in-progress. Colin worked with composer mentor, Matt LaRocca. You can read more about this VSO performance and hear Colin’s world premier Tempesta here.

Collaboration with VSO SymphonyKids – Raising Cane

At a summer workshop, students composed specifically for the VSO woodwind trio, Raising Cane, a VSO SymphonyKids program of touring ensembles in schools. Erik Neilsen, Senior Mentor with Music-COMP, instructed the session which included a rehearsal and performance of the student works. Raising Cane just announced that Doo-Wop by Ethan Duncan was selected to add just the right “catchy” touch to their school program for this spring.

Here all the student works and read more here


Music-COMP (Composition Online Mentoring Program) has been supporting student composers in grades 3-12 for 20 years. This takes many forms, from teacher training to student composition workshops to forming partnerships with performing organizations like the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. At the center of our mission is the concept of critique and reflection. Students post the beginning of a work (as a sound file, a cloud-based program like Noteflight, a .pdf file or one of a number of a number of software programs such as Finale, MuseScore or Sibelius) on our password-protected website. Then a professional composer-mentor is assigned as the primary mentor for the work. With age-appropriate constructive feedback, the student posts successive revisions, each one receiving specific comments and suggestions, until he or she considers the work complete.

One of Music-COMP’s signature events is Opus. Each Opus is a day of workshops and rehearsals of 20-25 selected works that culminates in a public evening concert by professional musicians. While the event is always held at a location in Vermont, we’ve had students whose works are being performed come from as far away as Virginia and Arkansas to take part, and we now have students who check in from distant locations via Skype for rehearsals. This spring marks our Opus 30 and we are seeking funding for some of the many, many hours our professional mentors put in to work with students. While our general budget includes a number of  expenses, mentoring is the single biggest one and mentoring for Opus events makes up the largest portion of this line item.

Project Media

Grand Jig
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Molly Durling, a sixth grader, wrote this piece through the process of online mentoring with the professional composer mentors at Music-COMP. To view excerpts from the discussion with various mentors, go to music-comp.org and click on Student Work > Mentoring Process Example. Here you can view Molly’s first draft and her intent for her work. The work in progress is followed from beginning measures through to her complete composition, guided along the way by the online composer mentors.

Echo’s Lament
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Annie Beliveau, a high school senior, created this four-part choral work in 2013 and had it selected for Opus 27. Here is the text of the poem:
Slow, slow, fresh fount, keep time with my salt tears;
Yet slower, yet, O faintly, gentle springs!
List to the heavy part the music bears,
Woe weeps out her division, when she sings.
Droop herbs and flowers;
Fall grief in showers;
Our beauties are not ours.
O, I could still,
Like melting snow upon some craggy hill,
Drop, drop, drop, drop,
Since nature’s pride is now a withered daffodil.

Burning Seasons Into Dust
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High school senior Ivan Voinov created this work in 2012 and it was performed at Opus 25. Scored for brass, two percussionists and piano, it is an abstract vision of a dystopian world. Here is Ivan’s description:
“The skies are becoming grey, reflecting the faces of soulless men walking the streets in search of light, in search of a final bit of color. Their eyes, empty, their hands, shaking, their bodies, warping into either sluggish, corpulent contortions or into walking skeleton. The seasons are burning to dust as men turn to ashes.”

Start and End Dates



Essex Junction, Vermont

5 updates
Last update on May 13, 2016

Project Created By

Essex Junction, Vermont
Music-COMP  provides online mentoring for students with professional composer mentors and live performances of student work. Additionally we create resources for student composers and professional development for their teachers.


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