The Merriman-Ross Family Young Composers Workshop

Youth ages 18 and under are invited to participate in a 12-week composition course that culminates with a chamber concert of world premieres by these young composers performed by Seattle Symphony musicians at Benaroya Hall. Over 12 weeks, students will work on all aspects of composing, including writing themes, learning instrumentation and orchestration, and preparing a final score with parts for a string quartet, woodwind quartet or Pierrot ensemble.

The Merriman-Ross 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. Thanks to the generous support of Seattle Symphony patrons Pamela Merriman, Sonja Ross and Kelley Ross, the legacy of David Diamond continues, providing young composers with the opportunity to hone their skills and develop their own creative voices.

In the 2020–2021 season, young composers will have the opportunity to work with Workshop Director, composer, clarinetist and Merriman-Ross Family Young Composers Workshop alumna Angelique Poteat, collaborate with Seattle Symphony musicians in creating new pieces, and learn from guest composers and guest artists.

Our priority is the health of the Seattle Symphony family, and we believe we have a social responsibility in making decisions that ensure the public's health. This season's Young Composers Workshop will take place virtually, via password-protected Zoom sessions, and the performance of this season's pieces will be broadcasted on our Seattle Symphony Live online platform.

 
former Young Composers Workshop student Elise Winkler and Seattle Symphony Harp Valerie Muzzolini
Pictured: former Young Composers Workshop student Elise Winkler and Seattle Symphony Harp Valerie Muzzolini
 
young composers during a dress rehearsal with Seattle Symphony musicians
Pictured: young composers during a dress rehearsal with Seattle Symphony musicians
 

IMPORTANT DATES & INFORMATION:

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.

January 15, 2021

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

February 12, 2021

Candidates notified of the 2021 selection results.

March 10, 2021

Merriman-Ross Family Young Composers Workshop begins. 
Classes meet on Wednesdays from 4:30–6:30pm via Zoom.

  • March 10, 17, 24, 31
  • April 7, 14, 21, 28
  • May 5, 12, 19, 26

June 5 or 6, 2021

Rehearsal (dependent on current COVID-19 restrictions)

June 7, 2021

Dress Rehearsal and Concert (dependent on current COVID-19 restrictions)


SUMMARY OF WEEKLY WORKSHOP ACTIVITIES

Workshops 1–6 (March 10, 17, 23, 31; April 7, 14):

  • Introduction to compositions for key chamber music ensembles such as String Quartet, Woodwind Quintet and Pierrot Ensemble
  • Individual and group composition lessons

Workshops 7–9 (April 21, 28; May 5):

  • Feedback of in-progress pieces by Seattle Symphony musicians
  • Score and parts preparation with Seattle Symphony librarian

Workshops 10–12 (May 12, 19, 26):

  • Group composition lessons
  • Rehearsal techniques with Seattle Symphony conductor

Rehearsal (June 5 or 6*):

Young Composers rehearse their piece with Seattle Symphony musicians.
(*Rehearsal date is dependent on current COVID-19 restrictions.)

Concert (June 7, 7pm**):

The concert is recorded in the S. Mark Taper Foundation Auditorium at Benaroya Hall. Each participant will receive a recording of their piece.
(**Concert date is dependent on current COVID-19 restrictions.)


APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

There are two steps to the 2021 application process:

  • Submit the online application (link found at the bottom of this page). You will receive an automatically generated email notifying you of the receipt of your application.
  • Email your supporting application materials to Jérémy Jolley, Seattle Symphony Interim Director of Education and Community Engagement, at jeremy.jolley@seattlesymphony.org

Or mail your supporting application materials to:
Seattle Symphony
ATTN: Jérémy Jolley, Interim Director of Education and Community Engagement
PO Box 21906
Seattle, WA 98111-3906

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

All applications and required materials must be sent by Friday, January 15, 2021, 11:59pm. We will not consider any incomplete applications. Participants will be notified on Friday, February 12, 2021 with selection results.


APPLICATION MATERIALS (Required):

Please have the following materials prepared when applying:

  • URL to audio or video recordings of music compositions (2 to 3 preferred) by the applicant (on applicant's website, YouTube channel, SoundCloud account, etc.). The webpage must contain the applicant's name and the title of the piece.
  • PDFs of the 2–3 scores for the same music compositions submitted via URLs in the application form. Each file name must be formatted as [APPLICANT LAST NAME], [FIRST NAME] YCW 2021 [Name of Piece] SCORE.
  • Written paragraph about the submitted pieces (50 words max per piece).
  • 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 2021 HEADSHOT.
  • Biography for the applicant (approx. 50 words)
  • Short answer: Why do you want to participate in the Young Composers Workshop? (200 words max.)
  • Letter of recommendation from a teacher or mentor

CONTACT

For more information about the Merriman-Ross Family Young Composers Workshop, please contact Jérémy Jolley, Seattle Symphony Interim Director of Education and Community Engagement, at jeremy.jolley@seattlesymphony.org.

The application for the 2021 Merriman-Ross Family Young Composers Workshop is now closed. We will accept new applications for our 2022 Merriman-Ross Family Young Composers Workshop starting September 2021.