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Baraka The End of Suffering FINAL - Score.jpg
The Naming of Cats Henry 2023 fall - Score.jpg
Dream Variation TV - Score.jpg
We Wear the Mask Malakai 2.0 bak - Score.jpg
Ari Cook mount Blanc Final - Score.jpg

So, You Want to be a Composer…

Imagine being able to compose your own original classical music. You actually write down all the notes to create a score with parts for all the different instruments and singers. Then you give the completed scores/parts to professional musicians, with whom you rehearse, hearing your music begin to come to life. Finally, you attend a premiere performance of your new composition in front of a paying audience. Wow, it’s a dream come true!

Young Composers is a nine-month long class and offers a curriculum focusing on composing, notation, music theory, harmony and history, melodic and rhythmic dictation, conducting, ear training, solfège, listening, rehearsal/performance techniques. The program also includes writing a resume and public speaking.

Students will each write two new compositions: the first piece is for voice, accompanied by one instrument. The second is an instrumental composition for solo instrument or ensemble. Both of these works will be performed by professional musicians.

Students enrolled in the Young Composers will receive weekly one-on-one instruction and attend group classes twice a month. During the program, they will meet with visiting musicians and composers in town for InConcert Sierra’s Third Sunday Series performances. Participants will also attend and evaluate professional concerts from a variety of local and regional presenters.

For those who do plan to major in music at the college level, participation in this program is a valuable piece of their college application.  Past students have been accepted to prestigious schools to study music based on videos of their work in the program and recommendations from their teacher and other musicians.

For any questions or for more info email Mark Vance at

Young Composers 


Workshop with pianist Spencer Myer

2022-2023 Final Concert

2023-2024 Poetry in Song


Grant Hempy

"Thank you for all the help and support I received during the class and writing my compositions over the past two years.
The time that you spent with me has caused me to grow as a musician and gave me confidence in my composing abilities but has also helped me grow as a person. Your musical knowledge and dedication were apparent in the class and with all the extra help you gave me."

Jamie Thomas-Rose

"The creation of classical music is not the only thing students learn. Life skills including research, public speaking, and resume writing are emphasized.  Studying the lives of famous composers and understanding what steps are required to develop a creative idea have relevance whether a student intends to pursue music long-term or not."

Evan Ashby

"Mark, I cannot express how much gratitude I have for your guidance. You are an amazing teacher, an incredible guy, a genuine and caring friend but a terrible joke teller. Thank you for everything you've done for me. I will come visit on school breaks."

Azriel LaMarca (parent)

"The Young Composers Program is an amazing opportunity for young musicians. Mark teaches the fundamentals of composition and then guides the students toward finding their unique composing voice. Before you know it, these young people are off to the races - confidently writing music for multiple instruments, exploring new themes, stretching their imagination. Our son Luca discovered a skill and affinity for composing that propelled him into a Music Composition program in college. Not only was he well prepared by his work in the Young Composers Program but working with Mark and the professional musicians through the entire process of writing, revising, rehearsing, and performing gave him an appreciation for the whole creative process, something that I can see will serve him in all his future endeavors. We enthusiastically recommend this program but watch out - it might change your life!"

Juliet Lin and Todd Anderson (parents)

"Mark Vance and his class, Composers Project at InConcert Sierra, has been a great experience for our son and has deepened his love of music. The class has also been a major force in developing our son’s desire to pursue classical music and music composition in college and beyond. We have found that there is nothing more satisfying than listening to our child’s musical creations performed by professional musicians. We love that the music is inspired by poetry and that our son’s musical expression connects with community organizations. Over the past five years, our son has created 10 classical compositions that have grown in skill and beauty, supported by Mark Vance’s considerable knowledge of music composition, teaching prowess and playful encouragement."

Luca LaMarca

"The Young Composers Project was a transformational experience in my musical upbringing. Learning to write a piece of music from scratch is incredibly valuable, and engaging in the process has taught me so much about how to appreciate, engage with, and create truly artistic music. Taking this class convinced me to pursue music composition in higher education, and it thoroughly prepared me for what doing so would entail. I'm very appreciative of the Young Composers Project and I feel it's a wonderful opportunity for any young musician, regardless of their background."

Steve and Tatiana Hagy (parents)

"We are the happy parents of a talented teenage daughter who found her calling through the caring hands of Mark Vance and his unique program for young composers. In that environment, our daughter developed confidance in herself as a capable composer. The workshops incuded time working with well known professional musicians who offered their expert advice on how to compose music for the instruments they played, which allowed our daughter to see from the perspective of the different types of musical instruments. At the end of each semester, each student could present and observe their pieces being played by professional musicians in a beautiful concert setting. Our daugter had an unforgetable experience that had a very possitive influence on her."

Baraka Anderson

"Thank you for a great CP semester! I really enjoyed working with CATS. Getting to learn more about what Asian immigrants have experienced in the US taught me a lot, as well as what we learned about some of the aspects of theater production. Relocation in my tenth composition created with your guidance; I couldn't have done it without you. I hope this semester was as interesting and cool for you as it was for me!"
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