John Downey Creation Project in 13th Year

We’re thrilled to present nine world premiere performances of student compositions this year through the John Downey Creation Project, now in its 13th year. This initiative pairs a MYSO musician with a professional composer who guides the student through the intricate process of creating a brand new musical work. This program, a collaboration with Present Music, delivers the excitement of musical creativity to budding composers. Three high school seniors, who have each written multiple compositions through the Project, discuss their experiences.

Andrew CrapittoSenior Symphony bassist Andrew Crapitto describes his experience: “I have had the pleasure of being part of this program for four years. I’ve worked with several great teachers who have helped me learn and grow as a musician, composer, and person. Getting to hear my pieces premiered in front of a real audience is a feeling unlike any other, and it’s an experience I will always treasure. It has truly changed my life for the better.” Andrew’s piece was performed by the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra on April 29, 2018.

Jeremy Reutebuch, a Senior Symphony percussionist and three-time Creation Project composer, echoed Andrew’s thoughts on the unique experience of one’s own music being performed. “This program is truly life-changing. The ultimate dream for any artist is to have your work displayed to an audience in the hope they are moved by your art. The Project provides young composers the resources to continue to grow in composition skills while maturing in their understanding of creating music.” The Senior Symphony performed Jeremy’s composition on April 29, 2018.

Senior Symphony trombonist Stephanie Plautz noted, “I’ve loved the process that the John Downey Creation Project provides…a fast-paced adventure into creating original works under the care of a professional composer always cheering me on. It has enriched my way of experiencing music, not just in composition. The impact that this program has had on me is significant. It allowed me to find my voice.” Her third and final Creation Project piece was performed on one of the Chamber Ensembles Recitals on March 18, 2018.

John Downey served as our Director of Music Theory & Composition for more than 40 years and was a very important and beloved member of the MYSO family until his passing in 2004. A Distinguished Professor of Music at UW-Milwaukee, he was an internationally renowned composer who collaborated with the great artists of his time. Dr. Downey played a critically important role in the lives of thousands of students, several of whom have become noted composers, and was central to our organization and mission for many years. His students were a joyous part of his storied career.

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