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Student composers' music performed through Juilliard Composition Project

Through the 2018 Juilliard-Nord Anglia Education Composition Project 2018, Nord Anglia Education students around the world had the incredible opportunity to compose their very own musical pieces and then have them be performed by professional musicians from The Juilliard School.

 

In five schools in three different countries, music teachers were guided through the process by Andrew Roitstein and Jessica Meyer, professional musicians and Juilliard Global K-12 Curriculum Specialists, resulting in a total of 16 new compositions written by our students during the academic year. Each composition was then recorded by a trio of professional musicians and gifted to the composers and schools.

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The Curriculum Specialists and artists from Juilliard shared their thoughts about this unique project with Nord Anglia Education music students.

What was the inspiration behind the composition project?

The Juilliard School's collaboration with Nord Anglia Education presented an opportunity to further develop our work with Nord Anglia’s broad network of music teachers, with the potential to make composition a normal part of students’ day-to-day life in their music classes.

Do you think student composers found the project particularly challenging?

The composition project involved five Nord Anglia Education schools in different regions. There was a range of compositional experiences within each school. Some students were writing their very first piece of music; others had composed music for themselves on their own instruments but were presented with a new challenge of writing for a trio.

As these students worked together as a class or as a group of individual composers, they were able to relate to and compare the processes of their peers and overcome challenges.

“When we first received these pieces, I was struck by the variety of inspirations students drew on, from Houdini, to outer space, to Hurricane Irma, to the movie The Green Mile." Andrea Lee, Cello and Juilliard Global K-12 Senior Curriculum Specialist 

Do you feel that the student-composed music matched your expectations?

Composers always surprise us! Not only do they inspire us through their musical ideas, but they also share so much about their own personalities, experiences, and points of view through the composition process. We hope that, in the future, even more music teachers are inspired to facilitate this process on their own, making composition part of the culture of all classrooms.

What were some of the highlights or major milestones during the composition process?

Witnessing the composers take full ownership over their compositions and making their own choices along the way is a true inspiration.

Also, watching composers listen to their piece performed for the first time is something we always look forward to. Just like no two pieces are alike; young composers always defy expectations with their reflections upon hearing their own music.

How do you see this project evolving in the future?

Drawing on this experience with five Nord Anglia Education schools in different regions, we are excited to see how Nord Anglia teachers will continue to use the composition resources available through Juilliard Creative Classroom to inspire their students to create individual and group compositions - perhaps even collaborating on globally with students in other regions.

Windermere Preparatory School was one of five Nord Anglia schools chosen to take part in this project! Listen above to the student-composed pieced “Irma”, written by 6th, 7th and 8th grade string orchestra students. They wrote this sophisticated and intricate piece’s four movement in four small groups — with each responsible for composing one movement.

The piece was inspired by their experiences with Hurricane Irma in the fall of 2017.

They spent four months exploring musical ideas and were guided in the composition process with a Juilliard Curriculum Specialist over Skype. They submitted their scores to the trio at Juilliard using the "Noteflight" musical notation software. Once the piece was completed, the trio visited the school in April for the musical premiere with the student composers!

“It was a pleasure to premiere so many new compositions for clarinet, violin, and cello! The inspirations for each piece were vastly different, and the sounds and emotional effects achieved was remarkable. Each work was so unique and personal! Thanks to all of the student composers for sharing your creativity and personality through your music." Kathryn Andersen, Violin, Juilliard Alum, and Juilliard Global K-12 Senior Curriculum Specialist

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