The Merriman Family Young Composers Workshop

Youth, ages 18 and under, are invited to participate in a 12-week composition course that culminates in a chamber concert of their own world premieres, performed by Seattle Symphony musicians at Benaroya Hall. During the program students will work on all aspects of composing, including writing themes, learning orchestration and preparing a final score with parts.

The 2018–2019 season young composers will have the opportunity to work with Workshop Director and Composer in Residence Derek Bermel along with other Seattle Symphony guest artists and composers.

The Merriman Family Young Composers Workshop began in 1992 under the direction of Music Director Gerard Schwarz and former Composer in Residence Bright Sheng, and was originally named in honor of David Diamond, one of America’s greatest composers and the Symphony’s longtime Honorary Composer in Residence. Due to the generous support of Seattle Symphony patron Pamela Merriman and the Merriman Family, the legacy of David Diamond continues, providing young composers with the opportunity to hone their skills and develop their own creative voices.


December 7, 2018

All application materials are due and must be postmarked by this date

January 2019

Candidates notified with selection result

February 6, 2019

Merriman Family Young Composers Workshop begins.

Classes meet Wednesdays from 4:30–6:30pm at Benaroya Hall

  • February 6, 13, 20, 27
  • March 6, 13, 20, 27
  • April 3, 10, 17, 24

May 5, 2019


May 6, 2019

Dress rehearsal & concert

Please note: If accepted, students are expected to attend all workshop classes, rehearsals and the final concert.

Age restrictions: We will accept applications from pre-college youth ages 18 and under.


There are two steps to the application process:

  • Submit the online application. You will receive an automatically generated email notifying you of the receipt of your application.

Or mail to:
Seattle Symphony
Attn: Jérémy Jolley, Artistic Collaborations Manager
PO Box 21906
Seattle, WA 98111-3906

After we have received all your application materials, you’ll receive an additional email to confirm your completed application.

All applications and required materials must be sent by Friday, December 7, 2018, 11:59 PM. We will not consider incomplete applications. Participants will be notified in mid-January 2018 with selection results.


Please have the following materials prepared when applying:

  • A URL to an audio or video recording of a music composition by the applicant (on applicant’s website, YouTube, SoundCloud, etc.). The webpage must contain the applicant’s name and the title of the piece.
  • A PDF of the score of the same music composition by the applicant. The file name must be formatted as APPLICANT LAST NAME, FIRST NAME YCW 2019 SCORE
  • A high-resolution headshot of applicant in jpg or png format (600 px or higher). The file name must be formatted as APPLICANT LAST NAME, FIRST NAME YCW 2019 HEADSHOT.
  • A biography for the applicant (approx. 50 words).
  • Answer to question: Why do you want to participate in the Young Composers Workshop? (200 words max)
  • A letter of recommendation from a teacher or mentor.


For more information about the Merriman Family Young Composers Workshop, please contact Artistic Collaborations Manager Jérémy Jolley at or 206.215.4750.

Mail your materials to:
Seattle Symphony
Attn: Jérémy Jolley, Artistic Collaborations Manager
PO Box 21906
Seattle, WA 98111-3906


The Merriman Family Young Composers Workshop is generously underwritten by the Merriman Family. The concert is presented as part of the Seattle Symphony’s New Music WORKS initiative, which is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. New Music WORKS features commissions, concerts and educational activities that use composition as a catalyst for collaboration and engagement in music. Additional support for The Merriman Family Young Composers Workshop is provided by Michel and Christine Suignard.