Special Events

Austin's Epic Search for New Beethovens, Mozarts

The Austin Symphony Orchestra gifts nine young Texas orchestral composers with world premieres...

Austin Symphony Orchestra mezzanine. Robin Rowell.

In 2010, the Austin Symphony Orchestra did something unheard of.

With a mind to support young Texas composers and foster their continued musical growth, ASO issued a call for composers of age 18 and younger to submit original orchestral compositions into a judging pool. The works were to range from five to seven minutes in length and must have never been previously performed, recorded, or published.

The winners would get the career break of a lifetime: having their compositions recorded and performed by the ASO in a special world premiere event.

"It is very difficult for young composers to have their composition played by a professional orchestra," said ASO executive director Anthony Corroa. "Many orchestras are not willing to take a chance on the new works and the young composers."

That year, the 1st Annual Texas Young Composers Competition received 25 entries and the judges selected 12 winners, whose works were performed during the ASO’s High School Concerts Tour in January 2011.

Over the next few years, the Young Composers program grew to become one of the ASO's most anticipated annual events. Jason Nicholson, the symphony's marketing director, attributes the program's success to the composers' "amazing" talents.

"Audiences are going absolutely crazy after they hear each composition. I think they go in there thinking, ‘OK, this is going to be good,’ but in the end they hear something exceptional," said Nicholson. "You're probably going to hear these kids’ compositions in video games, in movies, and on symphony orchestra stages."

ASO guests enjoy an orchestra performance. Robin Rowell.

This year's competition marks the program's fourth year running. The contest attracted 25 submissions and crowned the following nine new celebrities in the symphony world:

  • Garrett Brumley, Round Rock, TX
  • Timothy Dow, Huntington, TX
  • Jack Gillette, Driftwood, TX
  • Wyatt Hahn, Cedar Park, TX
  • Dara Li, Plano, TX
  • Alan Mackwell, Houston, TX
  • Jack Roberts, San Antonio, TX
  • Michelangelo Rodriguez, Austin, TX
  • Andrew Vara, Helotes, TX

Of these, Dow and Rodriquez are second time winners while Hahn and Roberts have had their works selected as winners for three years running.

The winning pieces were performed by the ASO at the 4th Annual Sarah & Ernest Butler Texas Young Composers Concert on Thursday, April 10 at 7:30pm. All those with an ear for classical music joined the orchestral music scene of Austin at the Long Center to celebrate these upcoming greats.

The 2014-2015 competition is accepting submissions through November 14. Winners will be notified shortly thereafter and that next group of crowned prodigies will have their world debut on April 2, 2015.


For more information about the concert, visit the event page. Those interested in entering the 2014-2015 competition can find contest guidelines and other details here.

The Long Center for the Performing Arts

701 W Riverside Drive
Austin, TX Map

(512) 457-5100


Tags: concert, live music, classical, austin symphony orchestra, aso, long center for the performing arts, robin rowell, Texas Young Composers, orchestra, music competition

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