Sixteen-year-old LA Phil Composer Fellow Robby Good has been commissioned by the National Children's Chorus to create a new work for its Spring 2017 season. Good's work, "Cry for Love," will be performed by members of the National Children's Chorus on May 6 at Carnegie Hall in New York, and on May 10 at UCLA's Royce Hall. This is the second time the National Children's Chorus has commissioned a member of the Composer Fellowship Program.
The LA Phil's multi-year Nancy and Barry Sanders Composer Fellowship Program gives young composers the opportunity to develop their craft through private and group composition lessons, seminars presented by LA Phil musicians, and mentor sessions with professionals in the field. In May 2016, during one of the final Composer Fellowship Program gatherings of the year, members of the Los Angeles Master Chorale performed four of the Fellows' new choral works, under the direction of Luke McEndarfer, Artistic Director of the National Children's Chorus. The Los Angeles Master Chorale and McEndarfer were impressed with all four works, but felt that Good's score stood out in terms of natural voice leading and beautiful choral writing. Immediately thereafter, the National Children's Chorus set up its second official commission with the Composer Fellowship Program, the first being two years prior with Composer Fellow Oliver Kwapis, whose music was premiered by the National Children's Chorus at Lincoln Center in New York.
Good's new work was inspired by the National Children's Chorus' theme of "Love" for Spring 2017. "Cry for Love" will receive its world premiere at Carnegie Hall in New York on May 6 performed by an ensemble led by newly appointed Assistant Conductor Alex Blake, a doctoral conducting student at USC's Thornton School of Music. The work will also receive its West Coast premiere under Blake's direction at Royce Hall on May 10, with both performances sung by the National Children's Chorus' top-level treble chorus, the Premier Ensemble.
"'Cry For Love' is a piece written to reach people in a purely emotional sense," said composer Robby Good. "When dealing with the hardships of life, it can be difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and yet so easy to give up and think of past mistakes. In the end, it may eventually even feel as though struggle and suffering are the norm. However, by finding forms of emotional expression, we can let those feelings of chaos and distress fade away, and replace them with our own inner happiness and warmth and, most of all, love. Love is, and has always been, the answer."
Robby Good is a sixteen-year-old junior at Hart High School in Santa Clarita. Robby started his musical journey at age 6 with piano lessons, and is currently studying piano with Richard Parizer. He started playing percussion at age 9 and is currently being instructed by Matt Cook. At 12 years of age, Robby started taking composition, percussion, and ensemble classes at California Institute of the Arts through their Saturday CAP Program. Robby's first original percussion composition made its debut at the Cal Arts Spring Concert in 2014. He currently studies music composition with Professor Ian Krouse of UCLA. In May of 2014, at 13 years old, Robby arranged and conducted a medley of songs from the "Legend of Zelda" video game series for an orchestra of 65 musicians. It was performed by the Placerita Junior High Orchestra. He was recognized in May of 2014 by Assemblyman Scott Wilk for his dedication to music composition.
While at Hart High, Robby has had the privilege to be a part of the Hart High marching and jazz bands as well as the acclaimed Wind Ensemble under the musical direction of Anthony Bailey. Robby was selected as a percussionist to the 2015 SCSBOA All-Southern High School Honor Symphonic Band. He received a Superior rating on marimba from the SCSBOA Solo Ensemble. He was also selected to perform in the William S. Hart High School All District Honor Band as a percussionist and pianist under the direction of Professor Sharon Lavery from USC. Robby is a member of the California Scholarship Federation and the National Jr. Honor Society, and he holds a 4.5 G.P.A.
Good, and three other Composer Fellows, Benjamin Champion, Luca Mendoza and Ethan Treiman, are in the final year of their fellowship. Throughout their time in the Program, the Fellows have also each composed two orchestra pieces premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a string quartet performed by The Calder Quartet, a percussion quartet performed by Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, solo works performed by International Contemporary Ensemble, and more.
The LA Phil's Nancy and Barry Sanders Composer Fellowship Program is an innovative multi-year program that gives passionate young composers the tools and the freedom to shape the future of music. Founded in 2007 by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky, CFP provides private and group composition lessons, seminars presented by LA Phil musicians, and encounters with professionals in the field, propelling Fellows to excellence. Graduates of CFP have gone on to study composition at the University of Southern California, Harvard, Yale, the New England Conservatory, University of California-Los Angeles, and many others. Students experience the creative process from start to finish with the help of accomplished composers. A unique program among American orchestras, CFP also provides these young composers with the remarkable opportunity to hear their works performed in concert by the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Students are led through the creative process from start to finish, inspired by their mentors: Nancy and Barry Sanders Composer Fellowship Program Director Andrew Norman and CFP Teaching Artist Sarah Gibson.
The National Children’s Chorus of the United States, under the leadership of Artistic Director Luke McEndarfer and Associate Artistic Director Dr. Pamela Blackstone, is quickly establishing itself as one of the world’s leading treble choruses, with nearly 700 students in 18 ensembles, based in Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Collaborating with some of the finest music companies in the nation, the group has performed live with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Los Angeles Opera Company, Los Angeles Master Chorale, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Joffrey Ballet, Kronos String Quartet, New York City Master Chorale and American Youth Symphony, among others. Its groundbreaking Season 2017/18, entitled Building Bridges, features exquisite repertoire including notable premieres at Walt Disney Concert Hall, Royce Hall, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center. In July of 2018, the chorus will make its 4th major international tour to Germany, Austria, Czech Republic and Hungary.