The New York Philharmonic’s Newest Composers are Just 11 Years Old

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Two young Brooklyn residents got the opportunity of a lifetime this summer when they had the pleasure of composing music for the esteemed New York Philharmonic Orchestra.

Eleven-year-olds Camryn Cowan and Jordan Millar not only play instruments, but had the unique opportunity hear the famous orchestra perform their music at a concert in the middle of Central Park, ABC 7 reported. The middle schoolers compose classical music as part of a program run by the Philharmonic, in conjunction with dozens of schools across the New York City area.

New York Philharmonic
Jordan Miller and Camryn Cowan write classical music as part of a young composer’s program started by the New York Philharmonic. (ABC 7 / video screenshot)

“The Very Young Composers Program is very special,” Cowan told the station. “Because it’s a way for me, like I said, to express myself in different ways using music and my creativity.”

Millar agreed, saying, “The great thing about this is that it encourages musical abilities, regardless of your background or experience.”

The girls’ works have already been praised by the New York Times, and a headline in the paper described them as “awesome.” Both girls said they see themselves as leaders and are grateful for the opportunity they’ve been given.

“It’s amazing,” Cowan said. “It’s really nerve-wracking, but exciting just to know The New York Philharmonic is actually playing your piece.”

Millar said it was the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920’s, as depicted in the Disney movie “The Princess and The Frog,” that inspired her to write her composition titled “Boogie Down Uptown.”

The girls were able to make suggestions to the conductor during rehearsal, but said they were reluctant at first. That changed after they said the adults encouraged them to speak up and give their honest feedback.

“It was mostly like little corrections,” Millar told the station. “Like add a glissando here and make one section an octave higher.”

Cowan said she’s thankful for the experience, saying, “Not many people of color have that many opportunities as I do right now. So I’m just trying to set the standard to show everyone that they can do it if they put their minds to it.”

Watch more in the clip below.

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