For the second summer, I’ve piloted the South Dakota Symphony’s Music Composition Academies for teens living on the Pine Ridge, Rosebud, and Sisseton Reservations, and in Rapid City. Jeff Paul and Michael Begay again joined me as inspiring faculty. Almost every young composer who participated last year returned along with fascinating new recruits. In all, we now have 19 new works, some dealing head-on with tragedies facing indigenous peoples, some evoking aspects of the composers’ lives, some just downright fun to listen to. They will all be performed in September by the Dakota String Quartet or Dakota Wind Quintet – every note and marking having been determined by the young composers – in public venues in Spearfish and Sisseton, and in the high schools of every young composer. Word is getting out. We want to hear what’s on kids’ minds and in their hearts. We need the music they can imagine – truly the music of the future. To check out last year’s set of Academy pieces, click here, courtesy of South Dakota Public Broadcasting. Then stay tuned – soon enough I’ll be posting this year’s crop!