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Jonathan Mendelson

Composer | Composition

Being part of the New York Youth Symphony Orchestra Composition program during the 2013/2014 has allowed me to take giant strides forward in developing my music. I began studying composition when I was nine years old, after several years of piano lessons where I was judged harshly for improvising while playing Bach, Chopin and Beethoven. When my parents finally realized that my improvisations might be a separate interest worth pursuing alongside my piano studies, I began weekly composition lessons with Ira Taxin. Last year, when I was 13 years old, I began my studies with the New York Youth Symphony Orchestra composition program as well.

Starting with the composition program was a little intimidating at first as I was the youngest student, with many others in high school and even college. But my nervousness dissipated quickly when I was warmly accepted by Kyle, Michael and all the other students. Our work was always supported and nurtured while we were encouraged to try new things and expand our writing styles.

Perhaps most exciting was hearing my music performed by such amazing musicians! It is not easy for a 13 year old composer to have his works performed, and it is such an excitement and a great help for my musical development to have that opportunity. I got feedback from Kyle, Michael and my classmates, but also from musicians expert in their own instruments who could expand how I thought about my pieces. This year has been my most productive yet and I feel that my musicality has grown tremendously as a result of the program. I hope to stay involved and continue to grow for years to come!

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