Compose Yourself Summer Composers Intensive

The American Composers Orchestra presents
Compose Yourself! for High School Students

Classes will be on Mondays and Thursdays
August 10, 14, 17, 21, 24*
10 AM-1 PM 
(please be prepared for the possibility of some extended sessions to accommodate extra time with guest composers)
Classes will be held at Columbia University

Our final session will be in the morning and our Reading Session of new works will be in the afternoon of Wednesday. August 30 (time TBD).

These six sessions are designed to help young composers develop positive approaches to creativity, learn professional standards of notation, and develop strong orchestration technique in a supportive, hands-on environment. Our focus this summer will be Breaking Down the Art and the Craft of Composing.

On the afternoon of the final session, there will be an informal reading and performance of resulting student works played by professional musicians. The session will be recorded and students will receive the recording of their work for use in college portfolios and the like. Classes will be limited to no more than 8 students in order assure personalized attention.


  • Students from 8th-12th grades are welcome.
  • Students are required to attend ALL sessions.
  • Students will be asked to develop an original ensemble piece from start to finish during the course of the workshops. Students may begin sketching ahead of time.

Since a great deal of our learning will result from experiencing how musicians respond to our notation – we may be asking students to bring their instruments to class for some of the sessions. Workshops will be led by the American Composers Orchestra Education Director Kevin James.

Tuition**: $250

Deadline to register is Thursday, June 1

Click here to download the registration form (pdf)

*If we have larger than expected registration, a second class may be added. In this case classes may take place in the afternoons on the dates listed OR on different days during the same weeks.
**The American Composers Orchestra is committed to making these workshops available to all interested students. Scholarships are available in cases of financial hardship.