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Young Composers Competition & Musicians Creative Forum

***Coming Soon*** Young Musicians Creative Forum Information

The Summit Music and Arts Young Composers Project offers workshops, a composition competition, and a performance platform for aspiring young artists. Participants are young musicians and composers ages 10-18 residing in Clear Creek, Eagle, Grand, Lake, Park, Routt, and Summit Counties.  For full details, click on the links below. Questions? Please email

2019 Adjudicator: Len Rhodes

2019 Competition Application Form

"I really enjoyed the Young Composers concert last night. What a great opportunity and experience for those kids. I wasn't able to stay for the reception but wanted you to know how much I enjoyed it." 
-- Megan Nuttelman, Program Officer, The Summit Foundation

"Len, thank you for hosting this opportunity for these young musicians. We appreciate all the time and hard work you put in." 
-- Michelle Vargas

"I think the concert was amazing and it was a tremendous experience for Lily. Thank you for bringing the opportunity to the young musicians in our community." 
-- Suzie Windsor

The history of the competition began in 1995 as the Pikes Peak Young Composers Competition founded by Len Rhodes in response to many young musicians in Colorado who were seeking professional help and support with their original music. The organization began simply as a program offered through the Pikes Peak Library District in Colorado Springs. The first two years attracted entries from young composers primarily resident in Colorado Springs. However, the reputation grew significantly and it was not long before PPYC received entries from throughout the State of Colorado. As the result of a National Public Radio article, awareness of PPYC extended throughout the USA and abroad. In particular, conservatories with Junior Department’s encouraged their students to submit entries to the competition. These conservatories included The Juilliard School in New York, as well as both the Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory in Boston. Entries were also received from the UK, mainland Europe and the Far East. Compositions originating through the competition have been performed on concert platforms throughout the world. One of the requirements of the competition is that music has to be written down (scored) according to the established traditions of music notation. As well as director Len Rhodes, PPYC employed leading composers and educators throughout the USA in its distinguished judging panel. PPYC offered workshops in composition, music theory, and music history. These workshops attracted young musicians from throughout the USA. Many PPYC alumni have moved into significant appointments in the music world; Francesco Lecce-Chong is the Associate Conductor of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. Francesco attended many workshops; as well as numerous annual competitions; and has also assisted on the faculty of our workshops. Other alumni have attended/are attending significant music schools/universities. The National Repertory Orchestra, based in Breckenridge, Colorado performed an orchestral piece from the 2011 competition. During the 17-year history, PPYC received over 1200 entries. The composer workshops attracted over 200 young people; many returning each year. The value of such workshops offered the opportunity for young musicians of “like mind” to interact with their peers. The goals of the workshop were to encourage student confidence in their ability to “expose” their craft. Writing a piece of music is a deep, personal expression, very much along the lines of the visual artist. Sharing and performing their “creation” with their peers and an audience places many demands, emotional and practical, on the young composer. Winning pieces were performed at annual PPYC concerts – these concerts simply providing a platform for new music to be heard. Many of these concerts were held at Packard Hall on the Colorado College campus in Colorado Springs, as well as numerous other venues. Len reminds us that "...there is an incredible excitement about hearing a piece of music for the first time – for the composer, as well as the performers and the audience."

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