One grand day

Booths lined Grand Avenue and people of all ages filled the street Sunday as music streamed from outdoor stages. Inside Disney Hall, Jack McFadden-Talbot ’09 and Andy Alden ’09 looked on as others performed music they composed.

As a part of the Young Composers program, Talbot and Alden collaborated on a piece, “Spring Revisited,” inspired by the fifth annual Grand Avenue Festival’s theme: Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.” Steven Stucky, the Philharmonic’s Consulting Composer for New Music, has been teaching the two composers during the two-year program and worked with both of them for the piece.

Their piece was performed by a quartet at Disney Hall as part of the Grand Avenue Festival, a one-day cultural celebration. Though the process of getting into the Young Composers Program was difficult, McFadden-Talbot and Alden both knew that music was their dream.

“I picked up the violin when I was 5.” McFadden-Talbot said. “I think I pretty much knew this is what I wanted to do. I want to be a conductor, composer, violinist.”

To apply for the program, Alden and McFadden-Talbot had to write three essays, submit compositions and go to interviews. Finally, they were two of the four high school students in Los Angeles chosen to become a part of the Young Composers Program. Already in the second year of the program, McFadden-Talbot and Alden have been focusing on music theory and have composed many pieces for the program.

“I haven’t had a composition teacher until this program,” Alden said. “I mean, I’ve been to summer camps and stuff but I’ve never had a full time teacher.”

“Steven Stucky is the head composition professor at Cornell, Pulitzer Prize winner, great guy,” Alden said. “He’s the main teacher in the program that me and Jack are in. So now I’ve had lessons from him and it’s been great. I’ve also been able to talk to a lot of composers.”

While McFadden-Talbot and Alden watched their piece being performed, Spencer Horstman ’10 participated in a different sense.

Amid the masses of people, Spencer Horstman ’10 stepped onto an outdoor stage and looked out at the crowd. It was his first time performing as a part of the Monday Night Band from the Colburn School of Music, yet he was unfazed.

“I started playing saxophone in seventh grade when I was in beginning band,” Horstman said. “This was just another way to get a place to play gigs.”

Along with Horstman, Benjamin Bellon ’09 and other high school students are enrolled in the Colburn School of Music Jazz program. They auditioned to become part of the Monday Night Band which performs standards and original compositions and is comprised of high school and college-age students. The Monday Night Band played at the Grand Avenue Festival won Sunday morning, though they just started weekly rehearsals two weeks ago.