Full Sail Instructor Keith Lay and the National Young Composers Challenge

Though classical music may not be the first genre that comes to mind when considering what the kids are listening to these days, there is in fact an active artist community for teenagers seeking to bring their compositions into the orchestral arena. Full Sail Music Production Course Director Keith Lay had that community’s best interests in mind nine years ago, when he helped found the National Young Composers Challenge.

“Creating and fostering an artist community that cultivates creativity is one of the most important goals of the YCC,” Lay says. “I’ve helped the organization grow from a local seminar to the leading national competition of its kind in the country over the last nine years. We’ve changed the lives of many talented young people by validating their dreams of becoming leading music composers.”

The 2012 YCC program kicks off this Saturday, March 3 at the UCF Center for Emerging Media in Downtown Orlando’s Orlando Centroplex (9:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.), during which young musicians ages 13 through 18 will participate in a free full-day workshop with world-renowned composers and musicians. The students then have the whole summer to write their own score for chamber ensemble or full orchestra. In the fall, a panel of judges (including Lay) select six of the compositions to be performed by the Orlando Philharmonic at the YCC Composium.

“While Full Sail students and faculty are all too old to attend this weekend’s seminar, the Composium is something that everyone should look out for,” Lay says. “Audiences meet the year’s winners who come in from around the country to share their works for the first time. It’s like watching a young Mozart hear his first composition – the excitement is palpable and the music is wonderful.”

Visit the YCC’s website to find out more about this weekend’s seminar and the rest of the events this year.