SCORE Composition Program Launches at Nordhoff High School

SCORE provides the tools and guidance for Nordhoff High School… [continue reading]

Score, music composition program, at Nordhoff High School

(January 16, 2024 – OJAI CA) — The Ojai Music Festival launches SCORE, a new initiative of the Festival’s BRAVO music education program that will provide the tools and guidance necessary for Nordhoff High School (NHS) music students to compose their own musical works. The 17-week course, which will be free to the students, will be led by NHS music teacher Bill Wagner and SCORE coordinator Emily Praetorius.

To participate in the enrichment class, NHS students will have previous course study through the NHS music department, along with a demonstrated interest in learning music composition. Registration for SCORE began in December, 2023.

“The Festival, through its BRAVO music education program, has been providing free school workshops, artist residencies, Music Van, and free Imagine concerts to elementary-age students for nearly 40 years in the Ojai Valley. By expanding with SCORE to the upper grades, we will be able to help high school students tap into their own musical creativity across genres with the expert guidance of the school’s own Bill Wagner and Ojai-based composer Emily Praetorius. I am so glad that we can continue to deepen our connection in our Ojai community on a year-round basis,” said Festival Artistic and Executive Director Ara Guzelimian.

In the class, students will learn to find their own compositional voices and processes by composing for themselves and their fellow classmates in a series of cumulative projects. Through each project, students will learn a new tool of the compositional process, from music notation and idea generation to notation software and audio recording. Listening sessions, composition lessons, and guest speakers will enhance the class’s exploration of musical composition and contemporary music in general. The course will culminate with a performance of the students’ works performed by NHS music students.

“We are very excited to be collaborating with the Ojai Music Festival to offer SCORE for Nordhoff students to begin to explore music from a composer’s viewpoint. The perspective they will gain through the process will be invaluable to their development as musicians. I’m looking forward to hearing their creative works take shape,” shares Wagner.


Emily Praetorius, a former Ojai Music Festival Rothenberg Intern Fellow, is a composer from Ojai, CA. She recently received her DMA from Columbia University in 2023 where she studied composition with Georg Friedrich Haas and George Lewis. Her pieces have been performed by several New York City based ensembles such as Yarn/Wire, Mivos Quartet, TAK and Wet Ink Ensemble. Recent works include a solo viola work on violist Carrie Frey’s 2023 album Seagrass and a current collaboration with violin-viola duo andPlay. After 10 years of living in New York City where she studied, composed and co-owned Kuro Kirin Espresso & Coffee, she returned to her hometown of Ojai to live in the sunshine and go hiking every weekend.


The Ojai Music Festival’s BRAVO program has been serving the Ojai Valley community for close to four decades. Over each year, BRAVO serves nearly 3,000 public school children with free music workshops, artist residencies, Music Van, and concerts. BRAVO also offers free workshops at local senior centers and includes talks and free community events during the Ojai Music Festival in June.

Since 1947, the Festival has remained a creative laboratory for thought-provoking musical experiences, bringing together innovative artists and curious audiences in an intimate, idyllic outdoor setting. Each Festival’s narrative is guided by a different Music Director, whose distinctive perspectives shape programming — ensuring energized festivals year after year.

Throughout each year, the Ojai Music Festival contributes to Southern California’s cultural landscape with in-person and online Festival-related programming as well as robust educational offerings that serve thousands of public-school students and seniors. The organization’s apex is the world-renowned four-day Festival, which takes place in Ojai, a breathtaking valley 75 miles from Los Angeles, which is a perennial platform for the fresh and unexpected. During the immersive experience, a mingling of the most curious take part in concerts, symposia, free community events, and social gatherings. During the intimate Festival weekend, considered a highlight of the international music summer season, Ojai welcomes up to 5,000 patrons and reaches 35 times more audiences worldwide through live and on-demand streaming of concerts and discussions throughout the year.

The 2024 Ojai Music Festival is slated for June 6 to 9 with acclaimed pianist Mitsuko Uchida as Music Director, featuring the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon, violinist Alexi Kenny, cellist Jay Campbell, and the Brentano String Quartet. For information on BRAVO and the 2024 Festival, visit