A Collaboration Between WomenSing and River of Words

With a focus on youth and the creative process, Youth Inspiring Youth is providing the opportunity for young composers to create new choral music using the words of young poets, mentored by internationally recognized composers Libby Larsen and Sandra Milliken. Through a blind application/submission
Joshua Fishbein, Elizabeth Lim, Martín Benvenuto, Quinn Whitlow, and Pamela Michael at a pre-concert talk before the 2010 premieres of Unseen Secrets and Sisyphean.process judged by WomenSing’s Artistic Leadership Team, two competition winners are commissioned to write treble choral works. Texts for these works are provided by the award-winning children’s poetry from River of Words, a program of The Center for Environmental Literacy at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, California. In Youth Inspiring Youth (YIY), all participants take part in a series of events, including public workshops* and discussions, culminating in the commissioned works being premiered in concert by WomenSing. Since the program’s inception in 2008, WomenSing has commissioned eight pieces.

During its May, 2011 Washington DC tour, WomenSing presented YIY pieces in collaboration with the Peabody Children’s Chorus at a concert presented by the Library of Congress Center for the Book. Along with performances at multiple Bay Area concerts, YIY pieces have also been performed by WomenSing at the Washington National Cathedral, and at the Chorus America 2011 annual convention in San Francisco.

In the video, see interviews with Martin Benvenuto of WomenSing, mentor Libby Larsen, and 2010 composers Elizabeth Lim and Joshua Fishbein. Clips from the 2010 workshop with Libby Larsen, the composers, and WomenSing provide an interesting look at the collaborative process. “With this program, the chorus is developing an avid thirst for being a part of the creative process,” Benvenuto says. “They are fascinated with trying things out at the workshop and seeing how these composers are thinking.”

For more information on Youth Inspiring Youth, check out WomenSing's program page.

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