Pasadena Chorale Is Looking For Student Composers From Pasadena Area High Schools For Its Listening to the Future Program

PHOTO: Pasadena Chorale | South Pasadenan News | 2021/2022 student composers from Pasadena Chorale’s Listening to the Future program with Pasadena Chorale Founding Artistic & Executive Director Jeffrey Bernstein

The Pasadena Chorale is proud to announce that it has opened the application process for its student-mentor composition program – Listening to the Future, now in its seventh year. The Chorale is looking to accept Pasadena area high school students from ninth through 12th grade to enroll into its Listening to the Future program that will begin in January 2023 and run through June 2023. The five-month composition program culminates with the Pasadena Chorale performing the student composers’ new work at its Listening to the Future concert on June 17, 2023. Students can learn how to apply at A teacher recommendation is required to apply and applications must be submitted by December 31, 2022.

Listening to the Future is an arts education program that is very special to me. Created and supported by Pasadena Chorale, Listening to the Future began in 2016 to give young composers a chance to hear their music performed in concert. There wasn’t a program like it in Pasadena,” said Pasadena Chorale Founding Artistic & Executive Director Jeffrey Bernstein. “This year we’re thrilled that L.A.-based Amy Gordon will return as our composer mentor. Amy was the composer mentor in 2019-20. She’s a terrific composer and a superb educator.”

The high school students chosen to participate in the Pasadena Chorale’s Listening to the Future program will be selected based on their music experience, level of readiness, and teacher recommendation. Students will meet with professional composer Amy Gordon every two weeks, alternating in-person and Zoom meetings. Gordon will provide feedback on their work and help them revise it. Students will produce one piece of original music for the Chorale and one arrangement of an existing tune.

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In March 2023, all six student composers will meet together as a class with Amy Gordon and the Chorale will rehearse the students’ new work for the first time. The student composers will have the opportunity to listen to their music performed by the 70-member Chorale live and in-person. Gordon will continue to help the students fine tune their work in preparation for rehearsals for the Listening to the Future concert that will begin in 2023. The final pieces will be performed at the Chorale’s June 17 concert. Students will receive video and audio recordings of their finished work that they can include in their portfolios and in their college applications.

The Pasadena Chorale’s Listening to the Future is a highly-selective program that is mostly ideal for high school juniors and seniors. In the six years since the program began, the Pasadena Chorale has had six professional working composers mentor 24 student composers, and 62 compositions have been produced by students of the program. Alumni of the program have gone on to study at Stanford, Columbia, Yale, Chapman University, University of Michigan and more.

For information on the Pasadena Chorale’s Listening to the Future program, please visit

Amy Gordon is a composer, arranger, songwriter, and vocalist in Los Angeles, CA. She is an active choral composer and has been commissioned to write and arrange pieces for Choral Arts Initiative, Loyola Marymount University Concert Choir, Nova Vocal Ensemble, The Los Angeles Belles, The South Bay Chamber Singers, Ramona Convent Secondary School Chamber Choir, Graham Middle School Vocal Ensemble, and more. Her music has been described as melodic and accessible, yet with surprising harmonic twists. She is influenced by the musical styles of Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, and Steve Reich. She loves setting poetry to music and bringing out the meaning of the text through music. She has won multiple awards, including the first annual Jim MacMillan Prize in Composition, 2nd place in the Corinfesta International Competition for Choral Composition, and numerous ASCAP Plus Awards.

In addition to composing classical and choral music, she is also an active media composer and singer-songwriter. Her score for The Turner Exhibit won best film score by The Monkey Bread Tree Film Awards. Her song “One Door Opens” was named a finalist in the SongDoor International Songwriting competition.

She is an active educator and teaches Bachelor-level Music Theory, Songwriting, and Music Education classes. She is available for private Piano, Voice, Composition, and Songwriting lessons in the South Bay area. She received her M.M. in Composition from California State University, Long Beach and her B.A. in Composition from Loyola Marymount University.


Founded by Jeffrey Bernstein in 2009, the Pasadena Chorale is an auditioned community chorus presenting affordable high-quality choral concerts and educational programs to the greater Pasadena Community.

During its dozen years of service to the community, the Chorale has presented over one hundred performances and enjoyed collaborations with the Pasadena Playhouse, MUSE/IQUE, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the Gamble House. In 2017 the Pasadena Chorale was awarded second place in the American Prize in Choral Performance.

The Chorale also offers a robust education program at no cost to participating students. Each year, through its unique Listening To The Future project, the Chorale pairs local high school composers with a professional composer mentor for a year of study. At the end of the year the Chorale presents a concert of the music composed by these students.

The Pasadena Chorale is the proud recipient of support from the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, The Pasadena Community Foundation and the City of Pasadena. All of the Pasadena Chorale’s regular concerts are offered on a “Listen First, Then Give” basis, ensuring that all are able to attend, and encouraging the generous support of those who are able.

The mission of the Pasadena Chorale is to create choral music that educates, uplifts and inspires as many people as possible.