Derrick Spiva Jr, an esteemed music educator and composer noted for his music influences that reflect Southern California’s multicultural fabric, has been named Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s (LACO) first Artist Educator, it was announced by LACO Executive Director Scott Harrison. Spiva, previously associated with the Orchestra as 2015-16 Composer In Residence, brings enhanced creative vigor to LACO’s educational and music programs. The three-year appointment, beginning in this season, runs through the 2020-21 season.
Spiva will have a major artistic role during each year of his residency. Equally as important, he will enhance the impact of LACO's education and community outreach programs, which reach thousands of young people annually. Among his responsibilities will be to re-shape and host LACO’s long-running Meet the Music concerts for schoolchildren and help create substantive curriculum materials and activities presented by classroom docents in conjunction with the program. He'll develop and enrich LACO's in-school work, unlocking creative potential by guiding students to compose their own musical works regardless of previous musical training. Additionally, Spiva will assist with The Los Angeles Orchestra Fellowship, a partnership between LACO, the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles and USC Thornton School of Music that provides mentorship, training and experience to early-career musicians from underrepresented communities.
“Derrick’s exceptional music and composing skills, creative vision, tremendous teaching experience, genuine warmth and passion for his work dovetail perfectly with LACO’s commitment to education programs that not only nurture future generations of musicians and composers but also inspire a love of classical music,” says Harrison. "We are so pleased to work with him in this important new role as he increases community access to LACO and further enriches our concert experiences in meaningful ways.”
“Significantly expanding my relationship with LACO in this capacity as both an artist and an educator is an incredible opportunity,” says Spiva. “I look forward to working closely with LACO’s staff, musicians and guest artists to build upon the Orchestra’s strong education foundation.”
Spiva, a rising African-American composer with a BA from UCLA and an MFA from CalArts, was awarded a composer residency with LACO through New Music USA’s “Music Alive” program for the Orchestra’s 2015-16 season, during which LACO gave the world premiere of his joyous work Prisms, Cycles, Leaps, the first part of his trilogy for chamber orchestra, influenced by traditional West African drumming and Hindustani rhythmic cycles. In May 2018, LACO premiered the second part, From Here A Path. This season, Sphinx Virtuosi gives the New York premiere of Spiva’s A Vision Unfolding at Carnegie Hall. Spiva is noted for conducting, composing and teaching styles that reflect the multicultural fabric of Los Angeles, where he lives and works.
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