Somerville Grant Provides Composer-in-Residence and Original Commission


Somerville, MA – El Sistema Somerville commissioned its first original work and established a Composer-in-Residence
program for the 2013-2014 school year, a project made possible through grant funding support from the Somerville Arts Council and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The scope of the project includes collaborative sessions with Somerville-based composer Oliver Caplan (ASCAP), rehearsals of the original, multi-layered orchestral work, and a world premiere scheduled for May 20, 2014, at the East Somerville Community School Auditorium.

The title of the commissioned work, “Phoenix Rising,” represents the literal and symbolic spirit of the East Somerville Community School and includes original lyrics by Cambridge-based author Meghan Guidry. Lost to a fire in 2007, the East Somerville Community School has been beautifully rebuilt and reopened to much fanfare in September 2013. The work commissioned under this project strives to represent the transformation that continues to take place at the East Somerville Community School through shared vision and investment, and the sense of pride and accomplishment that continues to grow within the community.

With memorable melodies and colorful interplay, American composer Oliver Caplan’s (b. 1982) music expresses a deeply felt romanticism. His music has been presented in more than 80 public performances in 11 states, including the Bronx Arts Ensemble, Columbia University Wind Ensemble, Nebraska Chamber Players, and Juventas, among others. Mr. Caplan’s 2012 debut album “Illuminations” is available on iTunes and Accolades include Veridian Symphony Orchestra Composers Competition Award (2014), Somerville Arts Council Grants (2014, 2013), Fellowships at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (2013, 2011), 5th House Ensemble Young Composer Award (2010), and ASCAPLUS Awards (2008-2012). Mr. Caplan holds degrees from the Boston Conservatory and Dartmouth College. He currently resides in Somerville, Massachusetts. To learn more about Oliver Caplan, visit

Now in its second year, El Sistema Somerville offers “immersive afterschool string music education” to Somerville Public Schools students in grades 3, 4 and 5. The program has grown from an initial enrollment of 35 students in 2012-2013 to a current enrollment of 70 students with plans for continued expansion to wind and brass instruments. The program, open to students throughout the District, is based out of the East Somerville Community School and includes 10 hours/week of music and movement instruction, and mentorship based on the program’s 5 core values: teamwork, commitment, respect, communication, and empathy. To learn more about El Sistema Somerville, visit

Diane Cline, Director, El Sistema Somerville
50 Cross Street; Somerville, MA 02145

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