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May 29, 2014

Introducing the Very Young Composers

Third-grade composers to join the orchestra this Saturday and Sunday

DENVER — May 28, 2014 — The Colorado Symphony is thrilled to introduce the Very Young Composers with two special performances this weekend. On Saturday, May 31 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, June 1 at 1 pm, an ensemble of CSO musicians will perform original compositions written by third-grade students at Cole Arts & Science Academy in northeast Denver. These performances will take place on stage at Boettcher Concert Hall as the kick-off to the anticpated Weekend of Star Wars program. Lawrence Loh will conduct an ensemble of CSO musicians including Catherine Beeson, assistant principal viola; Brook Ferguson, principal flute; John Hilton, violin; John Kinzie, principal percussion; Jessica Mays, piano; and Helen McDermott, viola. Student composers will join the orchestra on stage.

 The Very Young Composers was featured in an Associated Press feature story last week.

Launched in February with a pilot at Cole Arts & Science Academy, a Title 1 school in Denver’s Five Points neighborhood, the Colorado Symphony’s Very Young Composers program pairs professional musicians with music teachers to facilitate creative storytelling and music-making by children. After weeks of intensive classroom work, children’s compositions are transcribed, scored and performed by professional musicians. The program is built on a philosophy that all children are capable of creating music, despite their level of experience or skill. The Very Young Composers aligns with Common Core standards in Language and Literacy, including listening and writing.

Originally developed in Denver by former CSO composer-in-residence Jon Deak, a recently retired bassist with the New York Philharmonic, the Very Young Composers is currently active at thirteen middle and high school students in New York City, as well as in cities across the world, including Vail, Helsinki, Caracas, London and Seoul. The Colorado Symphony partnered with Deak, the New York Philharmonic and the Denver-based Playground Ensemble to incorporate the program into its educational offerings, which include Youth Concerts, in-school programs, professional development. The Colorado Symphony serves more than 30,000 students from across Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West each year.

The Colorado Symphony will expand the program at Cole Arts & Science Academy in the 2014/15 school year, and to offer it to schools in Denver Public Schools and beyond in coming years. The Colorado Symphony’s Very Young Composers was launched with support from the Denver Foundation and a generous individual donor.


The Colorado Symphony performs more than 150 concerts during its regular season at Boettcher Concert Hall and on location throughout the state and region. 2013/14 season highlights include appearances by virtuoso violinists Itzhak Perlman and Joshua Bell, and classical pianists Natasha Paremski and Stephen Hough. This season’s Pops and Classic Rock series feature rock greats, iconic film scores and Broadway blockbusters. The Holiday, Family and Inside the Score series offer musical favorites, captivating collaborations and interactive concerts for music lovers of all ages. For more about the Colorado Symphony visit