CAP UCLA Partners With LACO to Bring Local Students’ Ideas to Life

This spring, CAP UCLA’s free K-12 arts education program, Design for Sharing, is thrilled to reprise our partnership with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s Classroom Composers project. This two-prong program involves students in the creative process of developing a musical composition for a chamber ensemble, and lets them hear their work performed by professional musicians from LACO.

Last month, more than one hundred 5th and 6th graders from Toluca Lake Elementary and Nimitz Middle School participated in LACO Composer Fellow workshops via Zoom. Each of the three composers used a different method to engage students. Sakari Vanderveer led students in creating a “menu” of sounds—some improvised in the classroom and others played on her viola—and assembling their selections into patterns. Brenna Dickson shared clips of existing animation and asked the group to choose musical elements to accompany it. Christian Cruz invited the students to do some creative world-building for an imagined video game, and describe a suitable score for the ice-bound, alien-invaded adventure they dreamed up.

Though each class had a different experience, they all explored how to describe the atmosphere they were trying to create, and how to achieve that effect with instrumentation and dynamics. Now, it falls to the Composer Fellows to create a short new work for each classroom using those building blocks. 

All four new pieces will premiere in April at a special concert featuring ten LACO musicians, streamed live from the Royce Hall Rehearsal Room into participating classrooms. The program also features other chamber works, curated and led by LACO Educator and Artistic Advisor, composer Derrick Skye (who you might recognize from our Notes on Napkins series).

We can’t wait for students to hear their own ideas brought to life, and to share their reactions with the musicians and composers.