What People are Saying

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“LIGHTS OUT by Alex Shapiro was a remarkable piece of, well, ‘architecture’ – melding live music, lights, an interesting soundtrack, and choreography into one unforgettable performance.” — Jennifer Ostrander, Assistant Principal March 2016

“Our students are participating in the creation of a published work. I can’t think of a better way for students to be part of a “real world” experience.” — Brad Byrum, October 2015

“Thank you for bringing this amazing experience to students in the public school system. We learned a lot from it!” — Commissions in Concert participant, May 2015

“The process of meeting a composer, interacting and giving input for the commission was invaluable to the education of my students.” — Armand Hall, Associate Director of Bands, May 2015

“LIGHTS OUT was a great musical stretching opportunity for my students.  Many loved it and many were pushed out of their comfort zone.  Ultimately the end result is that the audience loved the piece and encouraged us to keep experimenting.”  — Wade Presley, Music Director, Nevada High School April 2015 

“My students and I have truly had a life-changing, mind-changing experience thanks to your organization.” — DeAnna Gray, Choir Director, Olmsted Academy South January 2015 

“The students are over the moon with pride and their sense of accomplishment. In so many ways, I believe this piece exemplified the grit and reality of many of our students’ daily lives. What a way (through this piece of art) to see, in those daily challenges, the ray of hope that determination, sheer will, and hard work provide.” — Raymond Roberts, Chair MHSA Music Department June 2013 

“The energy and the special atmosphere that this collaboration created cannot be replicated by just the teacher. The kids are getting a huge impact through this connection with the composer, like a jolt of coffee, it brings them up and then they are that much more enlightened.” — Music Director, Matthew Frost May 2014 

“The pedagogical value of working with living composers and premiering new works sets the standard for music education.” — Composer, Dr. Ryan Keebaugh May 2013 

“The opportunity to have a high school music program in on the process of creating a new work, from the very beginning, is such a promising one: there is no better way to learn about music than to see how it is made.” — Composer, Geoffrey Gordon February 2012

 “It’s edifying to help a young musician along the path to discovering their capacity for boundary-breaking improvisation.” — Composer, Theresa Wong January 2012

Ferris Heenan, Jan. “Hitting the High Notes.” Inside Publications Jan. 2012. Print.

“At a time in the U.S. when there is, sadly, so little funding and support for music in the classrooms, anything professional musicians can do to lend their talents to help these budding musicians — and, these budding future audience members and patrons — is vital.” — Composer, Alex Shapiro October 2011

Johns, Alison. Radio Interview, KPFA in San Francisco. October 2011. 

“The wonderful nature of the opportunity these young people had with CSIC brought me to tears more than once during the evening.  Thank you for making this happen. I hope there will be a second event, and I hope it warrants a larger venue, perhaps Freeborn Hall.  I would love to see a hall like that filled with music lovers, proud families, and inspiring educators.” — Glen Lusebrink, Educator November 2011

“What an effect the performance, and the preparation for it, had on our students. In summary, the concert helped our kids grow together musically and become more cohesive as a body of musicians. We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.” — Board Member, Laurel Hollis, Rio Americano High School Band Boosters, November 2011 

“Just to say – thanks again – you are doing important work that should be a national model for generating energy for the best kind of music education – hands-on creative work with living composers. Long may it continue!” — Composer, Fred Frith October 2011

“Thank you for making this experience possible for our students. They definitely rose to the occasion and learned SO much. They loved sharing the concert with the other schools and hearing the other works. I think they really jumped into the experience a little more after the master class, so thank you for providing that opportunity as well. Let us know what we can do to further CSIC’s work! You guys are awesome!” — Berkeley High School Band Director, Karen Wells November 2011

“I want to congratulate you on a fabulous event!  The whole evening was wonderful and the band students at Rio loved having the composers there during the week.  Even my son Jacob, who didn’t get to play in the concert, benefited from having his band cliniced by Omar Thomas.  I can tell you that ALL the band students felt the impact of having the composers at the school.” — President Rio Americano High School Band Boosters, Joanne Swedlow October 2011

“WOW WOW WOW…! Congratulations…..I really can’t say much more…thank you again for a fantastic experience…..” — Composer, Steve Horowitz October 2011

“This has been such a growing experience. I’ve never written a piece this free, in this style, in this format, that has been this important. I cannot WAIT to see this through to the end! Thank you, most sincerely, from the bottom of my heart for this opportunity!” — Composer, Omar Thomas September 2011

“I’m always looking for something that can give my students a new opportunity. I like to work with passionate people. That makes it easier for me. What’s exciting for me tends to be exciting for the kids.” — Rio Americano Band Director, Josh Murray September 2011

“This is a great model to bring artists and young musicians together, to benefit all.” — Music Educator, Barbara Christmann September 2011

“What a great opportunity for students to be part of a world premiere, which automatically makes me think of the red carpet and celebrities and designer clothes! As a former high school “band geek” I would have loved the opportunity to be a part of something like that…..” — Arts Advocate, Brooke Huber February 2011

“Great example of artists using high school bands as a way to further one’s career, while the high school bands play hipper/better/newer/fresher material. This is a good thing.” — Music Educator, Musician, Rick McLaughin February 2011

“I absolutely love the idea behind what your organization is doing. These “new” composers do some awesome work. I was able to meet (and perform under) Frank Ticheli (www.frankticheli.com), and wow, such an awesome experience. An experience I wish I had more opportunities to do.” — Arts Advocate, Elise Luddy March 2011

“I think that one of the key aspects of classical music that are missing today is the inclusion of young people in the creating and performing of new works. Your program seems to address this in a way that helps all parties concerned.” — Arts Advocate, Sabrina Young September 2011