“After years of participating in shorter term workshops and seminars for young composing talents all over the country and abroad, I began to envision the possibility of such a program in my area. The setting is perfect; the strongly artistic community of Woodstock and the burgeoning reputation of Bard College (most recently, Bard Conservatory) in Rhinebeck and the many smaller art museums in Woodstock as well as the Woodstock Guild and Byrdcliffe Artist Colony. The Woodstock Percussion and Chimes, owned by Nexus and Steve Reich percussionist Garry Kvidstad is only a few miles from my Shokan, Town of Olive home. In 2005, after receiving the generous Grawemeyer Award, I decided to think of giving some of my good fortune back, by conceptualizing and helping to fund this new Highpoint Seminar”. - George Tsontakis, founder and director/composer of Highpoint Music 

A group of five young composers, generally in their 20s and early 30s will attend Highpoint as fellows. They will have composed a short work (6-8 minutes in duration) for up to five players, in advance of the May seminar, to be rehearsed in open workshops at Highpoint. The works will then be premiered by ECCE, Highpoint's ensemble in residence at Woodstock's historic Colony Cafe on May 26th. An archival recording will be made of the dress rehearsal and performance, for the fellows use.

In contrast to the more usual forums, where the student composers pay a tuition fee to attend, Highpoint fellows will instead each receive free tuition, room and board as well as a commission payment for their 6-8 minute work which may be applied to their travel costs, in order to be able to attend. In some cases, these will serve as "first commissions" for the young, emerging composers. The young composer commissions are made possible with funding support from Bard College.

This aspect is of particular value during the period immediately following academic studies when representation of works on highly visible, professionally produced concert venues is most difficult. In addition, each fellow will present works of their choice in master classes with Tsontakis, Currier and other notable guests. The Highpoint Composition Seminar will help open the door for young composers to begin their career as professional artists.