Student Composer Showcase: Justin Gates

Apr 29, 2013

On Monday, VPR Classical is kicking off a new feature that celebrates student composers from the region. Each episode of the Student Composer Showcase will air three times during the first week of each month. The first edition will air April 1 at 4:05pm, April 3 at 8:05am and April 5 at 12:05pm. The series will also be archived at

The new series is the result of a collaboration with Music-COMP, a music composition mentoring program that matches aspiring students with accomplished composers and supports live performances of their work. Twice a year, a large number of student compositions are featured in public concerts performed by professional musicians at the Music-COMP Opus events. Other performances include collaborations with Vermont ensembles such as the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Vermont Youth Orchestra, Burlington Ensemble and more.

Our student composer for April 2013 is Justin Gates of Franklin, VT. He is a senior at Missisquoi Valley Union High School. His piece, written for string quartet, is called "What I Knew Would Come." It was written last summer at a program for young composers called the String Quartet Project, run by Music-COMP and Vermont composer Erik Nielsen (who was Justin's mentor for the piece), in conjunction with Burlington Ensemble. The piece was first performed in Burlington in September 2012.

Justin is an extremely talented young man who has already been accepted to Ithaca College and

Berklee School of Music. He is also in the process of writing a piece for Vermont's professional vocal ensemble Counterpoint, and that piece will likely premiere in late April or May. Justin has also been named the All State Scholarship Performance Recipient. Of all the pieces submitted in the composition division, he earned the highest score and his piece will be performed at the scholarship concert on Thursday, May 9th at Mt. Mansfield Union High School.