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Burlington 9th Grader Blends Classical Music And Hip-Hop

Courtesy of the Wick family
Student composer Alex Wick is a 9th grader at Burlington High School. He composed a piece specially for the VSO Brass Quintet's December tour.

VPR Classical's Student Composer Showcase celebrates the work of young Vermont composers. This December we'll meet Alex Wick, a Burlington 9th grader whose musical tastes and inspiration spans hip-hop, jazz, classical, and more.


"I listen to many different kinds of music," Wick says of is musical interests, "and when I compose, I like to incorporate many different styles into the piece."

Wick says he is inspired by the way hip-hop artists sample classical music, and give classical pieces a new life in contemporary music. "I notice that the new hip-hop music incorporates a lot of elements that are found in Beethoven, Bach, even just piano compositions," Wick said. "I think it's really cool."

"[Music] allows me to be creative in way that basically nothing else can," Wick says. "It's very different from all the other styles of art...music is something I've done since I was really young, like when I was a toddler and messing around on a baby piano."

Wick cites the main challenge of writing music as finding a way to be truly original without borrowing too heavily from any other artist. "Sometimes I find I'll play or write music that at first I'm thinking I made it up, then I'll listen again be like, 'I got it from somewhere'."

When asked about what it's like to write for members of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Wick says it's a great honor. "When I found out that I was given the opportunity, I was really excited."

The VSO Brass Quintet is on tour with Counterpoint this week, with stops in Warren, Newport, Grafton and Manchester.

The Student Composer Showcase is produced in collaboration with Music-COMP, which provides online composition mentoring support to students and local schools. Click here to find out more.

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