About the Digital Summer Camp: 

This year our class is moving online! We’re excited about using this new platform that we believe will help to enhance our student’s experience and learn in new ways, even as we must remain apart during our nation’s public health crisis. 

During the York Symphony Orchestra’s music composition camp, join composer Chris Whittaker for a week-long immersion into the craft of music composition. Let’s discover together more about the amazing worlds of harmony, melody, and counterpoint as we write our own Opus One! Individual instruction by Chris assisted by fellow composer/pianist and educator, Matt Monticchio.  The week culminates in a performance of student’’s original works attended by family and friends. Whatever style of music you write or enjoy, come and discover your musical voice!

Chris & Matt lead both morning and afternoon classes, conducted through an online classroom where they will work with students as a group and in one-on-one break-out sessions. Students will engage with the fundamentals of analysis, form, harmony and counterpoint. Each student will create an original composition to be premiered at the end of the week in an online streaming concert. Invite your family and friends to join the digital concert!

Camp Dates and Deadlines:

When: Monday, July 27 to Friday, July 31, 2020
Classes: Beginning Composition: July 27-30 at 9 AM-12 PM; July 31 at 9-11AM
                Advanced Composition: July 27-30 at 1-4 PM; July 31 at 9-11AM
                All Composers Digital Concert: July 31 at 11 AM-12:30 PM 
Where: New this year! The summer camp will be offered online via an easy to use digital platform.
Cost: $100 per student
Apply: Two ways to apply this year!
Deadline: July 17, 2020
Questions? If you have any inquiries, please reach out to Erik Shinn at eshinn@yorksymphony.org 


  • Quiet, uninterrupted access to a computer or laptop with a webcam and adequate speakers or headphones during the time slot in which the class takes place, for the duration of the camp. While students will not be in the online classroom environment the entire 3 hour session, however, they will need unimpeded access.
  •  Instrument of choice on which to work and compose. Students are welcome to compose and use their primary instrument throughout the week. We recommend having close access to a small electronic keyboard or piano.
  • We provide: Workbooks, manuscript paper and dry-erase tablet which will be used for group work and exercises in our online classroom.
  • Additionally, there will be a mandatory tech orientation the week before camp to make sure each student is able to properly set up to engage with the class. We will provide several opportunities both as a group and one-on-one to ensure that technical hiccups are solved before the class begins. This year’s camp has special technical considerations.
  • Because we will not meet in person this year, we will rely heavily on students’ ability to self-discipline and focus.  If you have concerns about whether or not this year’s camp will be a good match for your student, we encourage you to reach out and have a conversation with our instructors. We are committed to helping to accommodate each student to ensure a positive and enriching experience for everyone.

Level Guidelines: Beginning vs. Advanced 

Students will be divided into two sessions: Beginning Composition in the morning and Advanced Composition in the afternoon. 
Instructor Chris Whittaker’s guideline:  “A good rule would be if your child has composed a piece on his or her own recently, without direct supervision or guidance, they would be suited for the advance group.  I’m generally thinking the age for the advanced group will start around 13, though there will be some exceptions.  If the student is older, more advanced at their instrument, and has had some music theory instruction, then they would also be suited for the advanced group. If writing down their musical ideas is something new, they have had little music theory instruction, and are beginning at an instrument as well, I would put them in the beginner group.” If you are still unsure, feel free to contact us directly at eshinn@yorksymphony.org and we will put you in contact with Chris for further discussion.

Instructor Bios:

Chris Whittaker, Head Instructor

Chris Whittaker’s musical language of classical, jazz, and gospel music melds genres and brings people together.  Chris is the co-founder and Music Director of the Washington Heights Chamber Orchestra, a non-profit performing arts organization committed to engaging the community through free concerts and educational programming. He serves as Music Director for Fort Washington Collegiate Church in Upper Manhattan, an assistant conductor for Dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, and is also the founding Music Director of Marble Collegiate Church’s “Jazz Revelation” worship service. As composer, his music has been performed throughout the United States. Chris studied orchestral conducting with Kenneth Kiesler and Stuart Malina. His composition teachers include Philip Lasser, Christopher Theofanidis, and Nicholas Maw. Chris lives in New York City.  Hear more at Chris’ website.

Matt Monticchio, Assistant Instructor

Matt Monticchio is a musician, composer, pianist, music director and music teacher living and working in the Central Pennsylvania area. Matt grew up surrounded by pop music, rock, hip-hop, R&B, jazz and classical music and still loves, studies and plays in all of these musical traditions. Matt graduated with a music degree in 1998 from West Chester University and from the Peabody Conservatory in 2001 with a composition degree. He has taught theory, improvisation, composition, music history and piano both at the college level and privately as well as in public and homeschool organizations. He served as music director at Wheatland Church in Lancaster, PA from 2000 to 2010. During those years Matt formed Pageant Music as a way to bring church musicians, writers and artists together in creative collaborations. In the fall of 2010 Matt was hired by Second City Church in Harrisburg, PA to direct music and be a part of the city church ministry there. Now he and his wife Becky and their three children call Harrisburg home. As a composer and piano improviser, Matthew has joined with many colleagues in the Philadelphia and Lancaster areas to produce concerts and recordings. He has also played in countless jazz trios and quartets, a new music ensemble he formed called Sphere and a handful of creative singer/songwriter groups. Currently he plays in the group the Go Particle which vacillates between an improvising atmospheric acoustic trio and an electro-acoustic sound sculpture ensemble. Matt also teaches upper school music at Logos Academy in York, PA.

For questions, contact Erik Shinn at eshinn@yorksymphony.org.