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Music Composition Academy – Sisseton

August 5 – 9, 2019

The South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and Music Alive Composer-in-Residence Theodore Wiprud invite you to be part of the Music Composition Academy at Sisseton! The Academy will enable students to express their personal creativity through original music, performed by musicians of the South Dakota Symphony. Daily workshops and private lessons will build students’ skills and tap their imaginations. Students are encouraged to bring musical ideas from any tradition as we explore cultural understanding. The Academy requires hard, consistent work, as every musical decision is in the student’s hands, with Mr. Wiprud and additional instructors serving as mentors and scribes. Every student will finish the August week with a complete work of music, which will be rehearsed and performed by musicians of the South Dakota Symphony.

Participation Requirements



There is no cost to attend the Music Composition Academy. Students will be provided with daily breakfast and lunch during the Music Composition Academy.

Academy Schedule

Students will have daily one-on-one composition lessons and at the conclusion of the music academy have a fully formed piece of music for either string quartet or wind quintet. Students will work and collaborate directly with the professional musicians of the SDSO who will give a public performance of their completed compositions.

August Academy Daily Schedule

8:30 — Breakfast/Sign-in
9:00 — Group Warm-Up
9:30 — Group Composition Workshop
10:30 — Break
11:00 — Individual Lessons
12:00 — Lunch
12:30 — Seminar for listening and discovering compositional techniques
1:30 — Study, Composing, Individual Lessons
2:30 — Break / Field Trip
3:00 — Study, Composing, Individual Lessons
5:00 — Sign-out

*Field trips will occupy two afternoons. Optional evening activities will be scheduled for the group on two evenings.

How to Apply

Selection Process

Composer Theodore Wiprud, in consultation with Maestro Delta David Gier, will choose the Academy participants.   Participants will be announced by July 7, 2019.  Mr. Wiprud will choose up to 10 students to participate in the program.

About Theodore Wiprud

Theodore Wiprud is a composer, educator, arts leader, father, and outdoorsman.  He often explores different musical cultures in his own music, most often Korean traditional music, known as gugak.  Some of his major works include a Sinfonietta (2016), premiered by the South Dakota Symphony; a Violin Concerto (Katrina), composed for Ittai Shapira and released with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic on Champs Hill Records; a one-act opera, My Last Duchess, with libretto by Tom Dulack based on poetry by Robert Browning; a dramatic song cycle created with poet Emma Stace Darling, called Girl on Fire; and a number of pieces featuring gugak instruments like p’iri, gayageum, and haegeum. Many of his works explore spiritual experience, like the orchestral works Hosannas of the Second Heaven and Grail.  Other works respond to American literature, including American Journal, based on Robert Hayden’s poem, and A Georgia Song, a setting of Maya Angelou.

Mr. Wiprud is widely known for having served as Vice President, Education, at the New York Philharmonic from 2004-2018, and as host of the iconic Young People’s Concerts.  He is Co-Chair of the New York City Arts in Education Roundtable and a consultant in education and music.