NJSO Youth Orchestras to Release Digital Album of Original Student Compositions


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originally published: 07/30/2021

(NEWARK, NJ) – NJSO Youth Orchestras to Release Our voices, an album of original student compositions composed during the program’s 30th anniversary season, August 6. The album marks the culmination of a one-season creative composition project by the NJSO Youth Orchestras in which nearly 200 students collaborated in small groups to explore their own musical voices and compose new works drawing inspiration from all genres that inspire them.

The album, which will be available for free streaming on njsymphony.org/ourvoices, presents 25 compositions of groups of middle and high school students from all levels of the youth orchestra program. NYO music coaches and teacher artists guided each group; The artistic director of the NJSO Youth Orchestras, José Luis Domínguez, a famous composer, orchestrated and arranged the works and digitally recorded each composition using Logic Pro.

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra gave the world premiere of The enchanted forest, one of the student compositions, at the Orchestra’s Spring into Music virtual gala concert on May 12. Other works on the album include Calypso, a symphonic poem inspired by Greek mythology; variations on Korean folk song “Arirang”; works from improvised jam sessions, and more.

One piece has been entirely arranged, orchestrated and recorded by student composer Ben Rosales. A work for jazz group and orchestra features performances recorded by jazz musicians Yoojin Park (violin), James Borowski (bass trombone), Cristian Monreal (bass), Bryan Pezzone (piano) and Dan Graziano (drums).

Domínguez says: “The youth orchestras of the NJSO have set an incredible and leading example in the inevitable virtual world that musicians have faced due to the pandemic. Making music together is the essence of what we do, and thanks to our incredible team of staff, coaches and artist teachers, and their courage in the face of reinvention and adaptation, we have kept going. to serve students and the community with innovative approaches. This digital album is proof of that.

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“For this project, all of our outstanding students from the four youth orchestra ensembles were assigned to composition groups, working with me, the NYO coaches and teacher artists in search of their voices. Even students with less experience in music theory have become composers in a wonderful collective process. Each coach and artist teacher had a different approach, and exceptional creative results resulted. During the classroom sessions, the faculty would help guide the students in expressing their musical ideas, melodies, and patterns. The songwriters groups submitted their musical themes to me after each class, and I began the process of arranging and orchestrating to provide the most immediate feedback.

“The traditional process of writing, scoring, rehearsing and playing takes a long time. I wanted our students to have an audible return of their creativity as soon as possible; therefore, an entirely new approach was needed. Our students deserve the best results, and I have used the most professional and inspiring sound libraries available, the same software used by the most acclaimed film composers and sound engineers.

“I would like to take this opportunity to express my utmost gratitude to the entire faculty and staff of the youth orchestras at the NYO for their commitment to our students. To our courageous young composers: Congratulations on your extraordinary journey! Arranging, orchestrating, performing and recording your music has been one of the greatest joys of my musical career.

The album is available August 6 on njsymphony.org/ourvoices.

M&T Bank is the NJSO Youth Orchestras 30th Anniversary Season Sponsor.

Cover by Jacqueline Zhou

About Madeline J. Carter

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