The Merriman Family Young Composers Workshop

Youth ages 18 and under are invited to participate in a 12-week composition course that culminates with a chamber concert of world premieres by these young composers performed by Seattle Symphony musicians at Benaroya Hall. Over 12 weeks, students will work on all aspects of composing, including writing themes, learning orchestration and preparing a final score with parts.

The Merriman Family Young Composers Workshop began in 1992 under the direction of Music Director Gerard Schwarz and former Composer in Residence Bright Sheng, and was originally named in honor of David Diamond, one of America’s greatest composers and the Symphony’s longtime Honorary Composer in Residence. Due to the generous support of Seattle Symphony patron Pamela Merriman and the Merriman Family, the legacy of David Diamond continues, providing young composers with the opportunity to hone their skills and develop their own creative voices.

In the 2019–2020 season young composers will have the opportunity to work with Workshop Director and composer Charles Corey, collaborate with Seattle Symphony musicians in creating new pieces, and learn from guest composers and guest artists.

Young Composer during a rehearsal with Seattle Symphony musicians of her new string quartet.

2018–2019 season Composer in Residence Derek Bermel demonstrating the clarinet to young composers in Octave 9: Raisbeck Music Center.


Please note: If accepted, students are expected to attend all workshop classes, rehearsals and the final concert.

Age restrictions: We will accept applications from pre-college youth ages 18 and under.

December 6, 2019

All application materials are due and must be postmarked by this date

January 3, 2020

Candidates notified of the selection result

January 29, 2020

Merriman Family Young Composers Workshop begins.

Classes meet Wednesdays from 4:30–6:30pm at Benaroya Hall

  • January 29
  • February 5, 12, 19, 26
  • March 4, 11, 18, 25
  • April 1, 8, 15

April 26, 2020


April 27, 2020

Dress rehearsal & concert


Workshops 1–6 (January 29, February 5, 12, 19, 26 and March 4):

  • Introduction to compositions for key chamber music ensembles such as String Quartet, Woodwind Quintet and Pierrot Ensemble
  • Individual and group composition lessons

Workshops 7–9 (March 11, 18 and 25):

  • Reading of in-progress pieces by Seattle Symphony musicians
  • Score and parts preparation with Seattle Symphony librarians

Workshops 10–12 (April 1, 8 and 15):

  • Group composition lessons
  • Rehearsal techniques with Seattle Symphony Conducting Fellow Lina Gonzales-Granados

Rehearsal (April 26):

Young Composers rehearse their piece with Seattle Symphony musicians

Concert (April 27, 7pm) Illsley Ball Recital Hall at Benaroya Hall

The concert is recorded and each participant will receive a recording of their piece


There are two steps to the application process:

  • Submit the online application (link found at the bottom of this page). You will receive an automatically generated email notifying you of the receipt of your application.
  • Email supporting application materials to Seattle Symphony Associate Director of Artistic Collaborations Jérémy Jolley at

Or mail your materials to:
Seattle Symphony
Attn: Jérémy Jolley, Artistic Collaborations Manager
PO Box 21906
Seattle, WA 98111-3906

After we have received all your application materials, you will receive an additional email to confirm your completed application.

All applications and required materials must be sent by Friday, December 6, 2019, 11:59pm. We will not consider incomplete applications. Participants will be notified on Friday, January 3, 2020 with selection results.


Please have the following materials prepared when applying:

  • A URL to an audio or video recording of a music composition by the applicant (on applicant’s website, YouTube, SoundCloud, etc.). The webpage must contain the applicant’s name and the title of the piece.
  • A PDF of the score of the same music composition by the applicant. The file name must be formatted as APPLICANT LAST NAME, FIRST NAME YCW 2020 SCORE
  • Written paragraph about your submitted piece.
  • A high-resolution headshot of applicant in jpg or png format (600 px or higher). The file name must be formatted as APPLICANT LAST NAME, FIRST NAME YCW 2019 HEADSHOT.
  • A biography for the applicant (approx. 50 words).
  • Short answer: Why do you want to participate in the Young Composers Workshop? (200 words max)
  • A letter of recommendation from a teacher or mentor.


For more information about the Merriman Family Young Composers Workshop, please contact Artistic Collaborations Manager Jérémy Jolley at or 206.215.4750.