North Atlanta High School Senior Launches Summer Camp for Student Composers

Brendan Weinbaum, a self-taught, award-winning composer and senior at North Atlanta High School, has launched a summer camp for students called the Composers Collaborative Project (CCP).

Thanks to those efforts, Brendan, 17, has also managed to raise more than $6,000 for New Music USA, an organization committed to providing financial relief to musicians across the country during the pandemic.

With summer classes, festivals and camps canceled due to COVID-19 and music composers left without the artistic and professional resources they normally enjoy, Brendan developed a solution that would allow students to gain advanced learning from qualified teachers.

“When I learned that the camp I had planned to attend at Brevard Music Center was canceled, I immediately wondered how I would spend the summer,” Brendan said. “That’s when my mom and I decided that I could create my own summer program.”

It wasn’t long before Brendan began reaching out to esteemed composition professors and freelancers across the U.S. to create CCP.

In fact, Brendan recruited 13 composers from across the country – including professors from California to New York and a two-time Grammy award-winning, operatic composer. Each will present a 90-minute lecture on a topic of choice, reflecting his or her strengths and passions.

“I’ve won a national competition twice over the past two years (the National Young Composers Challenge), and so I decided to look into the idea of starting my own summer camp by reaching out to the people in charge of that organization,” said Brendan, an aspiring movie composer. “I also reached out to my teachers from attending Interlochen the previous year, as well as my would-have-been teachers from Brevard. From there, with their recommendations, I reached out to friends of theirs and ended up with the list of teachers I have today.”

Held July 20-31, CCP is a series of online lectures designed to provide professional instruction for composers of all ages and skill levels. The audience represents a wide variety of ages (from high schoolers to retired college professors) from all over the world, including the United States, China, Brazil and England.

Not only does learning from over a dozen composition professionals present a unique opportunity for any composer, the CCP also benefits New Music USA. In lieu of a designated fee for the classes, the CCP registration requires a donation to the non-profit organization.

So far, 39 participants have collectively raised more than $6,000 for New Music USA.

Brendan said he is surprised by the amount of support and attention the CCP has received since its conception. A professional composer praised CCP for “condensing four semesters of visiting composers into a couple weeks.”

Here are the upcoming lectures:

Annika Socolofsky: “Writing for Voice: From Dawn Upshaw to Dolly Parton”; July 22, 2-3:30 p.m.

Reza Vali: “Composing for A Non-Western Instrument and Orchestra”; July 23, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Greg Simon: “Composing for Jazz Musicians”; July 23, 2-3:30 p.m.

Matt Browne: “Like Dissecting a Frog: Examples of Humor in Classical Music”; July 24, 11:30a.m.-1 p.m.

Marcos Balter: “Collaboration and Composition”; July 24th, 2-3:30 p.m.

Sky Macklay: “Creative Constraints”; July 27th, 2-3:30 p.m.

Jennifer Jolley: “How to Present Your Online Portfolio”; July 28, 2-3:30 p.m.

Dorothy Hindman: “Capturing the Inspiration: Beginnings”; July 29, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Nina C. Young: “Building a Sonic Playground: How Curiosity and Play Can Inspire a Project”; July 29, 2-3:30 p.m.

Trent Hanna: “Inspiration Can Wait”; July 30, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Daniel Crozier: “The Composer’s Toolbox: Time, Proportions, Memory, and the Impact of Form”; July 30, 2-3:30 p.m.

Mathew Fuerst: “All About the Process: Drafting and Revising”; July 31, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Robert Aldridge: “The Strategies to Writing an Award-Winning Opera”; July 31, 2-3:30 p.m. (The Naxos CD recording of the complete Elmer Gantry opera was released in 2012 and received two Grammy awards in the 2013 ceremony, including one for Best Contemporary Composition).

For more information, visit: https://www.composerscollaborative.com/

About Brendan
An award-winning composer and clarinetist, Brendan has won state and national competitions for his music. His work has been performed by ensembles across the country, including the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, the World Youth Symphony Orchestra, and the Atlanta Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Before writing music, Brendan dedicated himself to programming games for his friends to enjoy. Responsible for every aspect of the games’ development, he turned to the internet to seek out ways to enhance the experience with music. Brendan became so enamored with what he discovered that he immediately deserted his plans as a developer to compose music.

At age 14, Brendan entered the National Young Composers Challenge (NYCC). Elated to learn that he was named a finalist, Brendan was even more excited to receive an audio critique of Harmony of Emotions from four professional judges in Orlando, Florida. The following year, Brendan applied everything he learned and won the competition with his second submission, An American Road Trip.

Since then Brendan had the exciting opportunity to play An American Road Trip as a clarinetist with Atlanta’s Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra. He has also had the honor of attending the Interlochen Arts Camp, studying under Dr. Amanda Harberg. During his time there, he wrote Waltz Dream, recorded by the World Youth Symphony Orchestra.

Brendan strives to create music that appeals to the masses. Currently, he is scoring a short film, “Worker Bee.” In addition to a proposed band transcription by Georgia State University grad student Ellie Anderson for the GSU Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Brendan is also preparing for the premiere of his latest orchestral work, Battle of the Orchestra, with the Orlando Philharmonic in April 2021.

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