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PSYE Young Composer Program


The Program

PSYE's 2018-19 Young Composer Program provides PSYE students with intensive compositional training with celebrated Los Angeles-based composer Derrick Spiva, Jr. The program runs from October 21, 2018 through March 30, 2019 and includes monthly individual and group lessons, plus bi-weekly individual skype sessions. The program will culminate in a public recital of the participants' original compositions on March 30, 2019.

Derrick Spiva, Jr.

Derrick Spiva, Jr

Derrick Spiva Jr. is nationally recognized as a rising star in the classical music world. Based in Los Angeles, Spiva’s work reflects the music practices of multiple cultural traditions, which he inventively blends and intermixes with classical musical styles. His inimitable sound has earned him resounding reviews including from the Los Angeles Times which has described his music as “something to savor” and “enormous fun to listen to.”

As a musician, composer, conductor, advocate, educator, and powerful voice of the next generation of composers to watch, Derrick Spiva’s reach spans from coast to coast. Serving as the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s 2018-2021’s Artist Educator, Spiva is the first composer to fill the role of Artistic Educator for the renowned Chamber Orchestra.

On the East Coast, Spiva’s Carnegie Hall Premiere debut on October 11, 2018 when Sphinx Virtuosi together with EXIGENCE — a vocal ensemble comprised singers of color led by founding conductor Eugene Rogers — performed Spiva’s piece Anthems of a Crowd: A Vision Unfolding.

EXIGENCE’s debut program, is named A Vision Unfolding after Spiva’s work. Spiva is known for his deep investment in creative and effective collaboration between artists of different disciplines and traditions. Stemming from a deep belief that music is a doorway into understanding other cultures and different ways of living, Spiva knows that the opportunity for dialogue rather than conflict between strangers is opened.

As such, Derrick Spiva served as a speaker at the 2016 League of Orchestras Conference on the topic of how classical music orchestras can forge stronger relationships with their diverse communities. Spiva also serves as the Artistic Director, Orchestra Conductor & Novae Sinfonia Director for the Santa Clarita Valley Youth Orchestra. Novae Sinfonia, SCVYO’s newest ensemble embodies the crossover between New World and non-Western styles with the traditional classical music genre. Spiva also serves as Artistic Director of the new music collective and arts organization, Bridge to Everywhere. He is also co-founder of the Code Switch Composers Collective, a community of classical composers who often engage with the musical language of two or more musical traditions in their compositions and music practices.

Spiva’s works have been premiered by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, UCLA Philharmonia, Los Angeles Electric 8, Albany Symphony’s new music ensemble Dogs of Desire, the Salastina Music Society, Super Devoiche (Bulgarian Women’s Choir), and Lian Ensemble (Persian Ensemble). He received the New Music USA Award in 2010 and 2011 and was awarded a composer residency with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO) through New Music USA’s “Music Alive” program with LACO for the 2015-2016 season.

During his studies at the University of California, Los Angeles and the California Institute of the Arts. Spiva studied classical music with Ian Krouse, Alex Shapiro, Paul Chihara, and David Rosenboom while also studying West African music and dance with Kobla Ladzekpo; Persian music theory with Pirayeh Pourafar and Houman Pourmehdi; Balkan music theory with Tzvetanka Varimezova; and tala (rhythmic cycles) in Hindustani classical music with Swapan Chaudhuri and Aashish Khan.

Derrick lives with his wife, musician and ethnomusicologist, Kim Nguyen Tran in West Los Angeles.

Spiva passionately believes in music as a doorway into understanding other cultures and different ways of living. Through learning the music of other cultures, the opportunity for dialogue rather than conflict between strangers is opened. He is deeply invested in fostering creative and effective collaboration between artists of different disciplines and traditions. 

For more information, please visit derrickspiva.com.