From June 14-16, “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band served as the ensemble-in-residence for the National Band Association’s 2015 Young Composer/Conductor Mentor Project. The project is the only one of its kind that allows young artists, ages 29 and under, to work with renowned mentors in their field free of charge and to collaborate with a world-class musical ensemble. The 2015 event was funded through a grant from Conn-Selmer Corporation, John Stoner, President.
Three young composers and three young conductors are chosen out of a pool of applicants from across the country. Each student conductor is paired with a student composer in mid-April. With the assistance of professional mentors they collaborate to rehearse, record, and present a live performance of the composers’ works.
For the 2015 project, Charles Andersen of Crestview, Florida; Joseph Higgins of Chicago; and Joshua Kearney of East Lansing, Michigan were selected out of a field of 72 applicants to be the conductors. The three composer candidates include Ryan Lindveit of Houston, Anthony O’Toole of Philadelphia, and Joe Krycia of Clinton Township, Michigan.
Conductor Project Mentors included Mark Camphouse, Dana Wilson, and Marine Band Assistant Director 1st Lt. Ryan J. Nowlin, who previously served as one of the Marine Band’s staff arrangers. The Conductor Mentors included Paula Crider, Frank Battisti, Rick Good, and Marine Band Director Lt. Col. Jason K. Fettig.
Under the leadership of Mark Camphouse and Paula Crider, the main purpose of the Mentor Project initiative is to recognize and provide encouragement to young composers and conductors who otherwise would not enjoy the opportunity to collaborate, and to work with outstanding mentors. The project originally began in 2000 under the direction of professor and composer Mark Camphouse and was only for young composers. After the second year of the project, Frank Ticheli, one of the composer mentors, recommended that young conductors be added to the project as they would benefit greatly from the score study and collaboration with the young composers. Paula Crider has guided the conducting component since then.
The three-day project took place at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia with the culminating free concert in the John Philip Sousa Band Hall at the Marine Barracks Annex in southeast Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, June 16.