by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Claire Williams, 14, of Lake Oswego has been working with Fear No Music’s Young Composers Project. Young Northwest composers, sixth graders through high school, will experience what many music aficionados simply dream about — a professional performance of their works.

Fear No Music will present pieces composed by members of the Young Composers Project in the Hearing the Future concert Sunday in Reed College’s chapel. Tickets to the performance are $15 at the door.

The Young Composers Project is the only program of its kind in the country. Students from Oregon and Washington are handpicked for the program by their music teachers to work with Jeffrey Payne and his musicians in a yearlong series of workshops. Over the course of nine months, the young composers shape a full-blown musical score and professional musicians help them explore with instruments.

“These students express fresh and exciting musical ideas,” said Payne. “As musicians we are the vehicle for their creative expression. Our goal is to develop the composers of the future.”

This year’s program includes pieces influenced by jazz, dub-step, classical and film music.

Lake Oswego’s Claire Williams, 14, a student at Arbor School of Arts and Sciences, and Sophia Pesetti, 16, a sophomore at West Linn High School, will have their compositions showcased at the program.

Williams, who plays piano, ukulele, recorder and bass guitar, said the most challenging part of the project was writing melodies for all the instruments in the group. She has a neurological phenomen called synthesia which causes her to associate notes and chords with colors.

“When I know what the key is or what the chords are I can actually see colors when I play music. For example, my piece, which is written in C minor, is a very certain purple and there is a separate color in my mind for every note,” she said. Payne said that synthesia is not uncommon in musicians. “My piece is titled Nix in Purple; Nix is the goddess of night in Greek mythogy and purple is the color of the key its written in.”

Pesetti said her piece, “Trust Me,” evolved from a solo piano piece into a classical jazz composition for five instruments.

“It’s really been exciting how it developed,” she said. She plans on pursuing a musical career.

For more information, call Payne at 503-335-3386 or visit

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