Young Composers Flourish at Summer Workshop

Young music composers working at summer camp

Posted on April 21, 2017 by Matt Geske

The Summer Composition Explorations Workshop, directed by accomplished composer and Mason professor Mark Camphouse, provides emerging young composers with the opportunity to add depth of musical knowledge, insights for inspiration, and freedom of expression to their original works.

Program director Mark Camphouse brings years of music composition experience and success to the workshop. Mr. Camphouse began composing at an early age, with the Colorado Philharmonic premiering his First Symphony when he was 17. His 25 published works for wind band (Alfred, Kjos, Southern, and TRN Music Companies) have received widespread critical acclaim and are performed widely in the US and abroad. Many may be heard on the Albany, Citadel and Summit labels. His compositions have been performed in such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Orchestra Hall-Chicago, Royal Albert Hall-London, and conferences of the World Association for Symphonic Bands and Ensembles, College Band Directors National Association, Music Educators National Conference, American Bandmasters Association, and Midwest International Band and Orchestra Clinic. Principal commissions include those by the John P. Paynter Foundation, William D. Revelli Foundation, Bands of America, Inc., The United States Army Band, The United States Marine Band, Northshore Concert Band, and some of America’s finest college, high school, and community bands. Mr. Camphouse is currently a Professor in the School of Music at George Mason University where he conducts the wind symphony and teaches courses in conducting and composition.
Visit for more info and a list of published works!


Mark Camphouse composer and conductor


“The students in last summer’s Composition Explorations class were a joy to work with in every respect,” recalls Professor Camphouse. “Their creativity, their musical and personal maturity, and helping them develop a greater appreciation of the important role music and the arts play in contemporary American society were all highlights of the experience.”

The workshop is geared towards the more advanced level of high school musician, who comes in with a solid musical foundation and either works-in-progress or finished original pieces. The students are able to work on and/or revise their compositions during the workshop. For those at the more beginner level, there is an Introduction to Music Composition course on July 17-21, after which they may be eligible to sign up for the Explorations workshop (upon instructor’s permission) provided space is available.


Summer music composition workshop for teens


“We do lots of structured listening in class, discuss music composed by the students, and explore elements of music theory, music history, and careers in music,” explains Professor Camphouse. “The small class size [approximately 8-12 students] ensures a lot of individual attention.”

The Composition program takes place during the “Mason Summer Music Intensive Week” on July 31 – August 4, 2017 (9am-4pm) in the de Laski Performing Arts Building on the Mason Fairfax campus in northern Virginia. A special Residential option which includes on-campus housing, meals and evening activities is also available for the full university experience. If you’re a young composer age 13 to 18, this is the place to be this summer!