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LA FAME » The Big Event 2016 Michael Colgrass and Glen Adsit

The Big Event 2016 Michael Colgrass and Glen Adsit

          Our Big Event for 2015-2016 is, "Composition Through Graphic Notation ". It will be February 18th and 19th held in the library and the MPR.  The first day will be open to all qualified LA FAME students and Advanced NHS musicians.  On the second day we will host university musicians from around the area  to observe our students working on  the project.

            Michael Colgrass and Glen Adsit have developed a process of teaching composition through graphic notation that can be successful for nearly anyone regardless of musical background or experience.  The compositional process for school age students address compositional elements of the National Standards of Music Education, as well as other standards across the curriculum.   

            Colgrass and Adsit have begun sharing this process with k-12 schools, partnering with programs in the United States and Canada.  They will be presenting the process at the International Midwest Band and Orchestra Conference in December, 2015.

            Ms. Doyon participated in a week long training of Graphic Notation with Professors Colgrass and Adsit in the summer of 2014 at the University of Hartford.  During the 2014/2015 school year, she worked with the NHS band students in compositional techniques based on this process, meanwhile seeking feedback from Colgrass and Adsit via phone, email, and shared videos/photography.

           Norwalk High School would be among the first West Coast schools participating in this process, as well as being the first with residencies by Colgrass and Adsit.  With this being the inaugural year of LAFAME, this is an ideal first large project that all LAFAME students can collaborate in, as well as our more advanced music students. Students and Teachers would participate in an "in house" field trip with the clinicians, experiencing the compositional and creative process first hand in a relevant and rigorous manner.  

            Compositions will be created by the entire department, as well as more rigorous compositions by smaller groups and individual students.  Follow up Skype sessions for smaller groups of students with Adsit and/or Colgrass could be arranged.  These compositions could be presented at our Spring Concerts. 

            The end vision is to instill a love and confidence of the creative process through composition into our NHS students.  This confidence in the creative process will extend across each student’s individual curriculum and lives.  The concept of Graphic Notation will continue to be incorporated into future collaborative projects at NHS.


Michael Colgrass

began his musical career in Chicago where his first professional experiences were as a jazz drummer. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1954 with a degree in performance and composition and his studies included training with Darius Milhaud and Lukas Foss. Colgrass has received commissions from the New York Philharmonic, The Boston Symphony in addition to other numerous organizations. He won 1978 Pulitzer Prize for Music for Déjà vu, which was premiered by the New York Philharmonic. He received an Emmy Award in 1982 for a PBS documentary “Soundings: The Music of Michael Colgrass.” He has won two Guggenheim Fellowships and A Rockefeller Grant. He created a method of teaching children, and teachers how to write music using graphics. In April of 2009 he worked with students and teachers in Nova Scotia, and more recently in the Plymouth-Canton School District (Michigan) where students composed and performed their works.


Glen Adsit

is the Director of Bands at The Hartt School where he conducts the Wind Ensemble and guides graduate conducting. He was appointed in 2000 and was awarded the 2014 outstanding teaching Award at the University. Ensembles under his direction have performed at the Musikverein(Vienna, Austria), Benroya Hall(Seattle) Carnegie Hall’s Stern Hall(New York) the Central Conservatory(Beijing) and Harpa, (Reykjavík). The Hartt Wind Ensemble has recorded two compact discs for the NAXOS label; Passaggi and Dragon Rhyme. In reviews Gramophone Magazine describes The Hartt Wind Ensemble as “stellar” and Fanfare Magazine wrote “and on the evidence of his two Naxos CDs, Adsit is simply one of the finest conductors leading a wind ensemble today.” He is the President of the College Band Director’s National Association Eastern Division and the founder of the National Wind Ensemble Consortium Group and the institute for the Advancement of Secondary and Primary Instrumental Repertoire Excellence.

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