Youth Inspiring Youth – WomenSing’s Choral Composition Competition

With a focus on youth, opportunities and a creative process, WomenSing’s Youth Inspiring Youth—Commissioning Emerging Composers project provides the opportunity for young composers to create new choral music, mentored by internationally recognized composers Libby Larsen and Cristian Grases. Through a blind application/submission process judged by WomenSing’s Artistic Leadership Team, two competition winners are commissioned to write treble choral works. Texts for these works are provided by the award-winning children’s poetry from the River of Words project, which is part of the Center for Environmental Literacy at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California. In Youth Inspiring Youth (YIY), all participants take part in a series of events, including public workshops* and discussions, culminating in the commissioned works being premiered in concert by WomenSing. Since the program’s inception in 2008, WomenSing has commissioned nine pieces.

During its May, 2011 Washington DC tour, WomenSing presented YIY pieces in collaboration with the Peabody Children’s Chorus at a concert presented by the Library of Congress Center for the Book. Along with performances at multiple Bay Area concerts, YIY pieces have also been performed by WomenSing at the Washington National Cathedral, and at the Chorus America 2011 annual convention in San Francisco.

In the video above, see interviews with Martin Benvenuto of WomenSing, mentor Libby Larsen, and 2010 composers Elizabeth Lim and Joshua Fishbein. Clips from the 2010 workshop with Libby Larsen, the composers, and WomenSing provide an interesting look at the collaborative process. “With this program, the chorus is developing an avid thirst for being a part of the creative process,” Benvenuto says. “They are fascinated with trying things out at the workshop and seeing how these composers are thinking.”

The photos below provide a glimpse of recent Youth Inspiring Youth Composers’ Workshops.

2012 YIY Workshop

2012 YIY composer Dale Trumbore discusses her piece with Martín Benvenuto during rehearsal.

2012 YIY Workshop

The 2012 YIY Workshop participants: YIY composer Anastasia Pahos (via Skype from Australia), advising composer Sandra Milliken, YIY composer Dale Trumbore (in back), teaching artist Libby Larsen, and WomenSing artistic director Martín Benvenuto.

2011 YIY Composers' Workshop

Discussing possible changes mid-rehearsal at the Composers' Workshop 2011: Composer Lauren McLaren, Teaching Artist Libby Larsen, Artistic Director Martín Benvenuto, and directors of collaborating high school choirs Sarah Downs(Miramonte HS) and Bruce Lengacher (Acalanes HS).

2011 YIY Composers' Workshop

At the Composers' Workshop 2011: Directed by Martín Benvenuto, WomenSing Chorus sings the new compositions for Teaching Artist Libby Larsen, and Composers Nick Norton and Lauren McLaren.

YIY Workshop 2010

Libby Larsen looks on as Martín Benvenuto conducts WomenSing at the 2010 Composers' Workshop.

YIY Workshop 2010

Martín Benvenuto, Libby Larsen, and Joshua Fishbein discuss the score of Unseen Secrets at the 2010 Composers' Workshop.

YIY Workshop 2010

Elizabeth Lim and Libby Larsen follow their scores during the 2010 Composers' Workshop.

YIY Preconcert Talk 2010

Joshua Fishbein, Elizabeth Lim, Martín Benvenuto, Quinn Whitlow, and Pamela Michaels at a pre-concert talk before the 2010 premieres of Unseen Secrets and Sisyphean.

The Youth Inspiring Youth Composers Public Workshop and Reception are funded in part through New Music USA’s MetLife Creative Connections program.

Interesting YIY Links

For more information about our YIY program, check out these articles:
YIY: A 6-Year Adventure in Creativity, 2/18/13
Catching up with YIY Composer Elizabeth Lim, 2/18/13
YIY Composer Wins Award, 3/25/12
New YIY Compositions in Rehearsal, 1/30/12