12-Year-Old Composer Debuts ‘The Forest’

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

Actor and singer Samuel Siskind, 12, and his fellow vocalists with the National Children’s Chorus will perform his three-part choral work, “The Forest” at venues around the world from May to June—including a Thursday, May 16, performance at UCLA’s Royce Hall.

Siskind, who identifies as a pianist, singer, composer and actor, has trained and performed at Palisadian institutions since he was 6 years old when he started to study with Jy Gronner, founder of Palisades Music School. He has been composing classical music since the age of 8.

The subject of a December 2018 Pali Life cover, Siskind explained that his primary influence for the theme of the “The Forest” was the poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow—especially the “Song of Hiawatha,” which he read five times the year before writing it.

Siskind wrote “The Forest” for three-part treble voices and piano. He has since scored it for orchestra to be performed in South Korea this summer.

“Our diverse musical set includes breathtaking selections from Korea and Japan as well as a newly composed work entitled ‘The Forest’ by Premier Ensemble member Samuel Siskind,” Dr. Pamela Blackstone, associate artistic director of the NCC, shared in a press release ahead of the debut. “We cannot wait to share this electrifying masterpiece with you!”

Other pieces that will be performed in the NCC’s spring concert production, “Nebula”—which includes a special tribute commemorating NASA’s 60th anniversary—include works by Edward Elgar, Ēriks Ešenvalds, Eric Whitacre, Ola Gjeilo, Samuel Barber and Sharon Farber.

For more information, visit nationalchildrenschorus.com.

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