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All works below were composed/arranged, recorded, produced, and edited completely by the students.


Strings Composition

Composed by GRADE 10 STRINGS STUDENT Chelsea

"I chose to make a stop-motion video titled “Alone?”. My video tells the story of an astronaut trapped in space. There she finds another lost soul, an astronaut. They are both human, and throughout the video, we see the two travel to see new things. But, an asteroid flying right past them throws the two off course. The astronaut must find their grounding in a place where there is none. 


I chose to do a stop-motion video because it is something of interest to me. I enjoyed creating my figures and laying out the project. The setting of the story is space, an unfamiliar and mysterious place to be. It is similar to today, where we are facing a pandemic. The world seems to fall apart just as the astronauts are stranded in space. During the pandemic, we have to find something or someone to bond with to make it by; that is what the purple astronaut depicts. When another wave, a loss family member or friend, hits us, it can throw us off course (the asteroid). And finally, the title of the piece is “Alone?”. It states whether we are alone or how we need to find some kind of stability."

Teacher: Daniela Gassi


Strings Composition


Composed by GRADE 12 STRINGS Student Emily

"Astellae was composed by Emily Choi when she was in grade 10 for the second ever Carter Creates Festival in 2019. It was originally a collaboration with the grade 10 Dance class at the time. Once the score was written it went through many revisions in collaboration with the Dancers to adapt to the students’ choreographic and musical needs.  It was a true fusion of the arts and it met with its first audience in the Cardinal Carter Theatre.  


When Covid hit, the students you see in this video here were among the first to learn the recording process as they started to record this piece one by one and then layered it with the help of Ms Gassi. This project continued into the summer of 2020. You will see Josephine on violin 1, Emily on violin 2, Justine on viola, and Ashley on cello. 


All four students are very excited to be sharing this performance in a virtual setting for the first Virtual Edition of Carter Creates.  Please enjoy!"


Teacher: Daniela Gassi


Strings Composition

"Avenoir" by Regina, Chloe, Emma - GRADE 11 STRINGS STUDENTS


  "The theme of our composition is Avenoir: the desire that memories could flow backwards - more specifically, one’s childhood memories. For our composition, we decided to incorporate Asian elements, both musically and visually for aesthetic purposes. Moreover, we felt that the peaceful tone traditional Asian music carries would fit our theme. It would make the mood of our composition feel like a distant memory which one would want to experience again. Such is the life of a child, simple; with little thought, unforgettable, yet unattainable due to the reality of growing up and experiencing real life. We showed this by making the piece start off slow and steady, but as the piece progresses, it begins to pick up, the sound slightly melancholy - yet powerful. At the very beginning of our piece, we show an image of cherry blossoms reflecting in the water to introduce our title. We decided to show this as our introduction because cherry blossoms themselves represent a time of renewal, spring, and the fleeting nature of life - since their lifespan is very short, similar to the time of one’s childhood. 

     The overall tonality of the piece is minor (A-minor). Throughout the piece, major pentatonic scales are heard which are commonly used in traditional Chinese music. In addition, the synthesized harp was used to emulate the guzheng in our piece using various chords, which is why the notes of the chords in our piece are not played all together in unison, but rolled, as if they would be plucked on a guzheng. 


 We also decided to incorporate a section of the piece to be played backwards (bar 29-32 is played backwards) which corresponds to and represents our theme of the desire that memories could flow backwards - where one could wish to go back to the simple life of a child. This segment of the piece also represents the flow of time itself, where time can flow either forwards or backwards - it solely depends on the perspective of the individual. The animations were done by Emma."


Teacher: Daniela Gassi



Strings Composition

Composed by The Major 6 - Massimo, Charles, Aryan, Marija, Anita, Ashley




Teacher: Daniela Gassi


 Strings Composition

Composed by GRADE 10 STRINGS STUDENT Timothy


"My main inspiration for this piece were the negative mental health effects brought on by the Covid-19 quarantine. The piece starts and ends with a single, dispiriting, and unaccompanied melody to signify the loneliness many of us felt during the quarantine. There is also a repetition of a descending scale every so often that represents how many are forced to follow a constant schedule, as there is not much you can do in isolation. Another aspect I included in order to emphasize the feeling of loneliness during isolation was a suspense within the melodies. During the solemn melodies at the beginning and end of the piece, one lonely voice calls out but is not answered, leaving a long pause. 

For the video aspect, I decided to represent the fact that we need to isolate ourselves from others during the pandemic by filming myself wandering around my empty street. Originally, I planned on going out to a larger area to film, such as a lake or a mall parking lot to express the emptiness, but obviously Covid guidelines became more strict, so I was not able to do that. However I was able to present my point in a different, yet similar way. In the video, I do not travel a large distance before eventually returning home. This was done to emphasize our confinement to our homes, thus being separated from the outside world."


Teacher: Daniela Gassi


Strings Composition


"The idea of composing a sad piece came to me while I was listening to music while studying. The music was very slow and relaxing. It reminded me of a nature walk on a rainy day, and it gave me this idea. The main melody represents the girl walking in the rain, while the accompaniment represents the noise of the rain and other noises one might hear when taking a walk in nature. The only colour in the video is the umbrella. This is because it is the only thing that protects her from the rain, which represents sadness and unhappiness. At the end of the piece, the main melody comes back, but now the first violin and viola play it instead of just the first violin, and with slightly different accompaniment. In the last scene of the short film, the girl is overlooking the city. This represents the fact that the girl has now gained a new perspective on her life and those feelings of unhappiness, since she is looking at things from a different point of view."

Teacher: Daniela Gassi



1st Place at Kiwanis Virtual Festival 2021


Composed by GRADE 9 STRINGS STUDENTS Irene and Ella


Strings Composition


Teacher: Daniela Gassi


Composed by Thelonius Monk,



"I did a blues arrangement of the song “Straight, no Chaser” by Thelonius Monk. Instead of playing it in the original swing feel, I decided to play it in a blues feel. My performance is six audio tracks in total. I programmed a drum beat to substitute for drums and I am playing accompanying chords on the piano. In one bass track, I am playing a background line to set the foundation. In the second bass track, I am playing the written melody of Thelonius Monk, and in another one, I arranged a harmony line. In the last track, I am playing a twenty four bar solo that I wrote over the chord changes. 


Thanks for listening :)"

Teacher: Daniela Gassi


Composed by GRADE 11 STRINGS STUDENT Michael

Strings Composition

"When I wrote this piece, I thought of a bassline that I wanted to incorporate into the song: a repetitive figure consisting of six notes. When I played this line out loud, the repetitive and accented sound reminded me of the sound made by helicopter blades. This part of the song combined with the serious-sounding key of the piece made me think of a helicopter shakily flying through a thunderstorm, hence the name of the piece, "The Thunderhead". Also, special thanks to Aryan for playing cello on this arrangement! Please enjoy!"


Teacher: Daniela Gassi


Strings Composition

Composed by GRADE 9 STRINGS STUDENT Melinda


"I composed this originally for the creators workshop called “The Word” however I ended up using this composition for the ISP. I decided to use the word “time” as I felt that out of all the other words given to us, this was one that was more vocal and relatable.


I gave this song more of a somber tone, representing the feelings one may have when wishing for time to pass. Being in a state of helplessness and feeling that the only thing you can do to alleviate the situation is to just wait it out. 

The narrative of this composition is the process of unleashing the frustration and anger bottled up for such a long time of having to pass time.


I feel that everybody will encounter this phenomenon at some point in their life. An example would be the pandemic that is going on right now. Our lives have changed drastically from what they were before this situation. However, for now there’s nothing that we can do other than to wait. We’ve spent our time living like this for nearly a year, and there is bound to be feelings of frustration towards this virus for existing and taking so many opportunities and experiences away from us. But for now, we simply need to try our best to be patient and let time pass."


Teacher: Daniela Gassi

from Suite No. 4 in Eb Major

Ashley performs “Gigue” from Suite No. 4 in Eb Major by J.S. Bach


Marija performs "Polish Caprice" by Grazyna Bacewicz

Symphonie Espagnole (mvt 1)

Emma performs "Symphonie Espagnole" movement 1 by Eduard Lalo 

in D Major, Op. 35 (Movement 1)

Irene performs "Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 35 (Movement 1)" by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.


Anita performs "Baal Shem: II Nigun" by Ernest Bloch

Sonata No. 1 in E minor (1st mvt)

Chloe performs "Sonata No. 1 in E minor, 1st movement, by Johannes Brahms

Partita No. 3: "Gigue" 

Michael performs "Gigue" from Partita No. 3 by J.S. Bach

 - A Note From The Strings Department -

Congratulations to all the students who are featured here! There was an abundance of outstanding solo playing in all the String classes this year.  Many of the string students were lucky enough to perform their solos to their classmates in person before we were sent home.  The solos featured here are just a few of the highlights that were captured on video during the stay at home orders. Enjoy all of these outstanding performances by our wonderfully talented students!

All of the works you are about to see have come out of the String classes of Ms. Gassi. Composition was always an important part of the curriculum in Ms. Gassi’s classes before covid.  A highlight of the String Department’s history in Composition includes the partnership with the Esprit Orchestra in a joint performance of the Grade 11/12 String students’ works for String Orchestra in November 2017. 


Since Covid hit, Composition has become an even more integral part of the String Program.  Students were encouraged to compose in any genre, for three or more voices, and using at least three compositional techniques.  The compositions did not have to be completely for strings, but at least one voice was required to be an acoustic bowed string instrument. They were allowed to incorporate electronically generated sounds if desired. 


All student composers either performed their own works, or asked friends in their class to play their works remotely for them for a performance credit, although most students would have helped each other anyway. 


They were all required to include a visual video component on top of their musical creation. 

For this portion of the assignment, the students were taught how to use simple, free video and audio editing software to aid in the process of editing their own performances. They were also required to learn and use simple notation software. All performances here were composed/arranged, recorded, produced and edited completely by the students.


All compositions were required to have a creative vision, idea, or inspiration before they began. Many were inspired to write about themes relating to their feelings during the pandemic.  Please be sure to read their Artist Statements or watch their Intro Videos to learn more about their intent.  


Please note that one of the pieces here is an outstanding arrangement of Straight No Chaser by Thelonius Monk arranged by Evita. This was a separate project but was so creative we just had to include it in Carter Creates. 


The works displayed here are just some of the highlights of grade 9-12 Strings.  Special mention to Irene and Ella’s composition “Saudade” which was entered into Kiwanis’s Virtual Festival and won 1st place, 94%, and a Platinum award.


Thank you for watching and supporting our budding composers!