These kids get to write chamber, choral, and orchestral pieces and have world-class musicians perform them?! Dang. They seriously didn't have this when I was in high school.
Am I jealous? Yes. But the LA Phil did have an interesting program when I was in high school. To promote the new Tobias Pickler opera "Fantastic Mr. Fox," they asked a select group of high school composers/performers to meet once a week and write a group composition reflecting the Roald Dahl story. We performed our group piece during intermission at a matinee performance.
What did I learn?
1. The LA Phil is awesome.
2. Group compositions DO NOT WORK.
3. Fantastic Mr. Fox as an opera...um...dunno.
(N.B. If you play Fantastic Mr. Fox, you will eventually grow up to play J. Robert Oppenheimer. Did I recognize the singer few years later on PBS? Um, well, it's hard to recognize a singer who's covered in thick fox fur.)
4. Most importantly, as any composer would learn, you learn instantly what works and what doesn't.
LA Phil, please keep this up. This is fantastic.
(Last note - who knew Wes Anderson is directing the film version with Cate Blanchett, George Clooney and Bill Murray?)