It was nothing but black girl magic when the world-famous New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra debuted “Harlem Shake” and “Boogie Down Uptown”. The songs, composed by two pint-sized musical powerhouses Camryn Cowan and Jordan Millar, are both originals.
Benefiting from the Philharmonic’s “Very Young Composers” initiative, the two young ladies have got veterans listening and taking note of them.
“People ask whether I’ve found the next little Mozart, and I say yes, I’ve found dozens of them,” shared Philharmonic composer, principal bassist, and founder of the Very Young Composers initiative, Jon Deak. “They’re all over the place. We just need to listen to them.”
The initiative has participants from 15 local New York schools who are taught music theory, rhythmic exercises, from whence they try their hands at composing original and complete scores. Compositions found good are them played by the Philharmonic orchestra.
Prior to joining the program, Cowan trained to play the violin and piano while Millar plays the piano and clarinet. According to Becauseofthemwecan, both pieces were initially written for a Harlem Renaissance-themed program earlier this year. Cowan’s “Harlem Shake” specifically showcased a layering technique with numerous saxophone improvisations. Millar’s “Boogie Down Uptown” took inspiration from the artwork in her favorite Disney movie, “The Princess and the Frog,” to mimic some of the complex textures and use of light and shadow in the music’s composition.
“I was a little scared, because I felt like they already knew what they were doing,” Cowan said. “I told them, ‘Can you make this a little faster?’ But overall, I think the piece was played perfectly.”
Cheers to blazing a new trail, to many more compositions, to success and to showing talented children, minorities and black girls that they can achieve their dreams, both big and small.