Sunday, May 18, 2003

More composers writing for young voices

By Janelle Gelfand
The Cincinnati Enquirer

A side effect to the children's choir boom is that more and more famous composers are writing for children's voices. That includes Philip Glass, whose Symphony No. 5 was sung by the Cincinnati Children's Choir among the large forces at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music last month.

"What's been discovered is that the medium of the children's choir can be extremely moving, artistic and fulfilling to listen to," says Henry Leck of the Indianapolis Children's Choir. "Now symphonic writers and composers are finding that there's enormous beauty and purity to the children's voice."

Earlier this month, the Northern Kentucky University Children's Ensemble performed the premiere of "The Melodies Flow Around Me" by Philip Koplow, retiring NKU composer-in-residence. The texts they sang were poems written by Tristate children.

"It is challenging for children to learn contemporary music," Koplow says. "But this is the cutting edge of music; all who are involved in this process are partners in an act of creation. It is important for children - and everyone else - to understand that the composer's world is not 'far away and long ago' - it is now."

Even though it was difficult, the experience was rewarding, says Toni Sheffer, NKU Prep Department director.

"The children had to watch, count, listen, play and sing in tune. It really stretched them."

Youth choruses booming
More composers writing for young voices
Children should get head start in choirs
Community choruses for kids
• Youth chorus profiles:
Talia Broering
Mark Dapkins
Rachel Lang
Brittany Lucas

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