Grass Valley, Calif. June 5, 2023 – Listen to the future of classical music through the lens of eleven young composers graduating from InConcert Sierra’s “Composers Project” class of 2022-23. Their newly inked compositions will be brought to life by local professional musicians in concert on Thursday, June 15 at 7pm. 

InConcert Sierra: Listen to the Future

The Composers Project is a nine-month program for students taught by educator and published composer Mark Vance. The course is for ages 12-22 and explores all aspects of composition, including music theory, notation, finding inspiration, music history, writing for instrument families, and public speaking. The students meet and work with guest musicians, artists, and composers.

During the second semester of the course, the students found inspiration for their compositions through a collaboration with the local nonprofit organization CATS: Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra. CATS’ mission is to promote diversity in the arts through multicultural theater, events and workshops. CATS has enriched the region’s cultural and artistic climate with workshops, presentations and events emphasizing Asian-based themes. 

CATS Executive Director Jeannie Wood with CP Class
CATS Executive Director Jeannie Wood with CP Class

Meeting with CATS Executive Director Jeanne Wood, and educator Gordon Sakaue, the composer students learned about Asian American history in California and had an in-depth session about Japanese internment camps during WWII. They were also immersed in American-Asian culture through watching rehearsals and meeting with technical staff and cast members from CATS’s spring play “The Great Leap.” 

The student works were written for their choice of instrumental ensembles using the violin, piano, cello, clarinet, and/or flute. Therefore, the concert will feature unique compositions for duos, trios, quartets and a quintet. As an example, one work entitled “Internment” is written for piano 4-hands, another titled “Transcontinental Railroad” includes flute and cello, and “Neighboring Worlds, Crossing Cultures” is a quintet for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano. Each student will introduce their piece to give the audience a glimpse of their creative process.

Composers Project Class

Composers Project Director Mark Vance was awarded the Nevada County Arts Council Arts Education Mentorship Award at an awards ceremony on May 11. Mark has been a Nevada County music educator for over 25 years.

Vance created the concept of the “Composers Project” for young, aspiring musicians over 20 years ago. He started this unique and highly successful 9-month course with the Nevada County Composers Cooperative, then he migrated to Music in the Mountains and in 2019, he moved to InConcert Sierra. One of the inspirational additives that ICS has brought to the course is the opportunity for students to meet and work with world-class artists. This past season, they met with renowned artists such as cellist Amit Peled, Chanticleer tenor Kory Reid, the Cavatina Duo, and American Pianist Association winner Kenny Broberg.  With each connection, the students gain enlightening information to include in their treasure-trove of knowledge. 

What: InConcert Sierra presents the Composers Project 

When: 7pm, Thursday, June 15, 2023

Where: Peace Lutheran Church, 828 West Main Street, Grass Valley

Tickets: $20 general available online at or call 530-273-3990 Youth (5-17) free with adult

InConcert Sierra is a Nevada County non-profit organization that presents high-caliber classical music performances and robust music education offerings for all ages.  Founded in 1946, ICS is celebrating 76 years as an integral part of Nevada County’s arts community. For more information, call 530-273-3990 or please visit