Richmond Symphony & VCUArts Music present

Young Composers Seminar with Damien Geter, Richmond Symphony Composer in Residence

Location: VCU Singleton Center/Online

Date: September 2024 - May 2025

Tuition: $100

Meet The Teacher!

Damien Geter

Damien Geter photo

Damien Geter is an acclaimed composer who infuses classical music with various styles from the Black diaspora to create music that furthers the cause for social justice, as well as a celebrated bass-baritone – “amazing to listen to. Possessed of a rolling, resonant voice even at the lowest register” (Northwest Reverb) – whose varied credits include performances from the operatic stage to the television screen. He is Composer-in-Residence at the Richmond Symphony through the 2024-25 season, and serves as Interim Music Director and Artistic Advisor at Portland Opera, as well as the Artistic Advisor for Resonance Ensemble.

Geter’s rapidly growing body of work includes chamber, vocal, orchestral, and full operatic works, with his compositions being praised for their “Skillful vocal writing” (Wall Street Journal). In the 2023-2024 season, Des Moines Metro Opera presents the full-length world premiere of his opera, American Apollo, while Virginia Opera holds a workshop of Loving v. Virginia, a new major work co-commissioned by Virginia Opera and the Richmond Symphony which will premiere as part of Virginia Opera’s 50th Anniversary Season in May 2025. Geter’s Annunciation is featured on Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s concert Montgomery and the Blacknificent 7, and Richmond Symphony will premiere a brand new work, Sinfonia Americana, to be conducted by Music Director Valentina Peleggi. His song cycle COTTON, commissioned by Lyric Fest, will see its New York premiere at the 92nd Street Y, starring Denyce Graves and Justin Austin. Additionally, The Recording Inclusivity Initiative records String Quartet No. 1 “Neo-Soul”.

Future commissions include premieres at Seattle Opera and Emmanuel Music, and world premiere operatic productions in 2024, 2025, and 2026 at the Seattle, Virginia, InSeries, and Portland Operas. Geter will also have subsequent premieres at Richmond Symphony. Meanwhile, last season, COTTON was given its world premiere in Philadelphia followed by its Washington, D.C. premiere at The Kennedy Center, presented by Washington Performing Arts, and his motet was performed by Emmanuel Music. He also conducted his own piece, An African American Requiem, at Fort Worth Opera, plus led the performance of ABSENCE: Terence Blanchard with Portland Opera.

There is no application fee. Tuition for the seminar is $100; financial assistance is available.


Program Details

Join acclaimed composer Damien Geter on the journey from inspiration to performance next season as he leads a cohort of young composers through a unique musical experience.

Eligible to high school students, our young composers will gather monthly both in person and online to share and workshop their projects with Damien and each other, culminating in a special live performance in May 2025.

Young Composers Seminar is presented in collaboration with VCUArts Music and students will have access to VCU’s Media Lab and the contemporary tools for composition used by their composition and media scoring students, including GarageBand, Logic Pro, Finale, and a full suite of software instruments. Since the collective project of the seminar will be a performance of student work by live musicians, each participant will produce a notated score and parts as part of their final project (students will use the Finale software program to produce these).

Whether you think of yourself as a composer or not, students interested in directly participating in the process of creating new music are encouraged to apply.

To apply, please complete the application form and submit up to three examples of your creative work via PDF file, audio file, or YouTube link (written, traditionally notated scores or audio/video submissions will be considered). Formal training in composition is not required.

Applications close on June 9th

Young Composers Seminar - 2024