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 Contact Louisa Childs, The Dwight School, (212) 203-4665 x633
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Composition


From piano lessons to Carnegie Hall

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Composition


From piano lessons to Carnegie Hall

Download on iTunes

Overview

Upstate New York

At my home in upstate New York. October, 2016

From 2005 until 2017, I studied music composition and composed over a dozen instrumental pieces. This passion started in sixth grade, when I was introduced to the Electronic Music Lab at my elementary school, Fieldston. The music composition teacher encouraged my interest, as did several older students who mentored me, and by November I was spending every lunch period in the Lab. Though I had studied the piano for eight years, I never discovered great talent for performance. However, when I started writing my own music, I learned that this was a wonderful way for me to express aspects of myself I could not articulate with words, and that I could convey a range of emotions through music. At the end of the year, the seniors produced an album of their work, “Playing for Change,” and I was honored that they included one of my compositions as well. I realized that I needed much more technical knowledge to write increasingly sophisticated work, so I embarked on an intensive mentorship in music composition. This program, long based at the Center for Educational Enrichment, involved weekly one-on-one sessions with composition teacher Justin Hines, who also teaches for the New York Philharmonic and the Carnegie Hall - Juilliard Academy Program. With Justin, I focused on classically-themed compositions for various instrumental ensembles, ranging from piano and saxophone duet, to string quartet, and even to works for a full orchestra. We explored complex melodic structures, analyzed the work of other composers, and studied the foundations of music theory. Through this program I was fortunate enough to work with professional musicians and composers, including Ted Hearne, Mari Kimura and Richard Carrick, who helped me understand the interplay between composition and performance. I also pursued an Independent Study in Composition with Alistair Hamilton, Director of Music at Dwight School. Alistair and focused on advanced concepts in music theory, including more complex chord progressions, advanced instrumentation, and the basics of conducting. Though I did not anticipate becoming a conductor, I learned to direct musicians to achieve my intended musical expression.

 Contact Louisa Childs, The Dwight School, (212) 203-4665 x633

Carnegie Hall

Introducing the live premiere of Winter Whispers at Carnegie Hall in New York City. February, 2017

Several of my works have been selected by professional ensembles for public performances. One of my early pieces, “Dark Times” was performed by the Cassatt String Quartet for a student audience. My most recent work, “Chasing Time,” in two movements, premiered at the Tenri Cultural Institute in January 2015, performed by Classical Jam, featuring master Shakuhachi player James Schlefer. It was then performed in October 2015 at Barge Music in Brooklyn, and again at Tenri in March 2016. Additionally, I was commissioned by Jenny Undercoffler, Director of Face the Music, to compose a new piece for piano and baritone saxophone. This work debuted at the Brooklyn music venue, Roulette, in May 2016. It was thrilling to hear my work come to life in the hands of musicians, to gain new insight into my music from their interpretation, and to watch an audience listen and react for the first time. Several of my compositions have been recorded professionally in sound studios, and the resulting recordings are now available on iTunes and Spotify. I found the process of working with musicians and recording engineers to perform and synthesize the optimal version of the music to be deeply rewarding and musically transformative. It allowed me to take each phrase – each note even – dissect its components, and then put them together to achieve greater musicality and coherence. I also learned something new each time, as I could hear variations in a player’s rendition that I had not heard before. Ultimately, there is nothing more fulfilling than seeing a composition that started in my head, with some doodling at the piano, fully realized and inscribed on a CD, where I can listen to it as I create new pieces that grow, each from the one before.


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Classical Works


My classical features.

Classical Works


My classical features.

Manhattan, New York

In my New York City apartment. October, 2016

Chasing Time is a complex and melodically rebellious piece, which includes parts for flute, violin, viola, cello, shakuhachi and percussion. Chasing Time was originally written under commission by the Tenri Cultural Institute. They commissioned a composition featuring the Asian inspired instrument of the shakuhachi. Originally made from root bamboo the shakuhachi can produce virtually any pitch, and can play a wide repertoire of music including everything from, folk music to jazz. One can listen for its unique tone and sound.

Bedford Hills, New York

Playing the piano at my home in upstate New York. October, 2016

Winter Whispers tells the story of a winter snowstorm. Snowstorms are ever-changing creatures which, while frantic and unwieldily at times, are also persistent and enduring. Winter Whispers aims to capture these undisciplined and fractious evolutions in the life of a snowstorm. Technically, the piece is grounded in a simple four note melody which is interwoven throughout the entire work. As this melody is handed down between voices and given new contexts, I would encourage you to listen for its subtle yet discernible role.

 Contact Louisa Childs, The Dwight School, (212) 203-4665 x633

Live Performances


A look into my showcases

Live Performances


A look into my showcases

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Early Years


How it all began

Early Years


How it all began

Playing for Change

Jared Frankel, a junior at the Fieldston School in the Bronx, NY, created and sold a compilation CD of fellow artists from his school to benefit the Playing For Change Foundation.  “I have known of the Foundation for a few years now and always wanted to help somehow," Jared says.  "Music has also been a passion and something dear to me, so the work of PFCF I found impressive as well as inspiring.  During the winter I was planning on making my own mixtape just for free so my family and friends could download it, but the idea of a physical CD and aiding this charity I found much more satisfying.”

He and associate producer Luis Guillen compiled a CD of original tracks by 11th and 12th graders, and even helped a 6th grade student create a track.   Artists Ruby Kaye, AG, Michael Orfaly, and Calvin Solomon contributed to the album and Sophia Baraschi-Erlich provided the artwork.  After finishing the album, he planned a release date and a few weeks prior created a Facebook group to get the word out.  He then sold the CDs throughout school passing students in the hallway, during lunch, or if they were not in school he used Facebook communication to plan meeting times. He also collected additional donations along the way.  Jared started selling the CD's in March with a goal of raising $500.00; by May, he had sold over 65 CD's and raised $800.00!


My Album Contributions