Meet Seven Young Composers Featured on WRTI During Back-to-School Week

Sep 16, 2020

After two summers in residency at Temple University, the third season of Young Women Composers Camp (YWCC) was all virtual. The new format grew participation to 50 composers, ages 13 to 24, from as nearby as Philadelphia and as far away as Turkey and Australia. Each completed a short piece for solo performer. 

During WRTI's Back-to-School celebration the week of September 14th, you'll hear seven of the 50 works created during this summer's YWCC on the air between noon and 1 PM on Wednesday, September 16th and Thursday, September 17th.

I spoke with founder and artistic director Erin Busch and the seven featured composers over Zoom about their music, the camp, and the value the program brings to their lives.

For many of us, the idea of creating a piece of music is magical, but there is a structured timeline at YWCC, in session for two weeks each summer.

About a month before the YWCC of 2020 started, each of the 50 participants were assigned an instrument. A week before camp, each composer was connected to a performer. On the second day, young composers met with their performers in Zoom sessions to learn about the instruments. Over the course of the two weeks, composers had private lessons with instructors, access to performers, and meetings with other music professionals. Completed pieces were sent to the performers; rehearsals ensued.

Erin says the experience doesn't actually feel like [only] two weeks in the moment. "You'd be surprised when you're in an environment when you're constantly being stimulated; when you're surrounded by other people who are working on the same project; when you have access to all of these different resources, the creative juices can flow a little more easily." 

The result? Fifty engaging pieces of music for solo performers on a wide range of instruments, including strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion and voice. You can watch the final 50 performances, presented in two concert videos, with short introductions before each work by its composer: 

Concert #1:

Concert #2:

Zoom participants appearing in Concert #1 (for reference, timings indicate place in concert video where their works appear) 

Bridget Bourne, 22 (Melbourne, AUS) "Wood Grooves" (solo clarinet) @ 2:26 performed by Emmalie Tello of the International Contemporary Ensemble

Lucy Marone, 14 (Phila, PA) "Beneath the Billows" (solo clarinet) @ 6:21 performed by Emmalie Tello of the International Contemporary Ensemble

Mondriana Villegas, 16 (Brooklyn, NY) "Fanfare for Naught" (solo horn) @ 52:07 performed by Kyra Sims

Audrey Wu, 18 (Lexington, MA) "Arrivals & Departures" (percussion, tape) @ 59:26 performed by Clara Warnaar of the International Contemporary Ensemble

Grace Coberly, 20 (Chicago, IL) "earthworms, following heavy rain" (percussion) @ 1:03:28 performed by Clara Warnaar of the International Contemporary Ensemble

Zoom participants appearing in Concert #2:

Cecelia Olszewski, 16 (Wallingford, PA) "Isolate" (solo oboe) @ 55:22 performed by Jasmine Daquin of the International Contemporary Ensemble

Selin Gökova,  21 (Istanbul, Turkey) "Wanderer" (solo viola) 1:05:28 performed by Wendy Richman of the International Contemporary Ensemble

And there's more coming:

While the in-person choral experience for composers that was offered the first two seasons was cancelled this year, YWCC has created a Virtual Choir Project, featuring a new work by composer Jungyoon Wie, co-commissioned by YWCC and the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music.  Participation is open (at no cost) to "anyone with a soprano or alto singing voice who identifies as female/non-binary, [with] no audition necessary, no restrictions regarding location of age."  Video submissions are being accepted though October 15th at YWCC Virtual Choir Project, where more information is available.