Express the Music

Celebrating over 20 years in existence, Express the Music invites students in grades 6-12 to discover an orchestral work and respond with prose or poetry inspired by the music. This season, students will explore Joan Tower's Made in America.

How to Participate

Whether your back to school is virtual, blended, or in-person, you can give your students the opportunity to participate in Express the Music with new online modifications for safe, easy access. Participation in this cross-curricular program is free!

Download the Teacher's Guide. Wherever your classes are being held, explore the music and create compositions with your students. Then, submit student entries before the deadline.

The SLSO understands that due to COVID-19 the 2020-2021 school year will be different for each school, and circumstances may change throughout the year. The safety of teachers, students, and SLSO musicians and staff is our top priority. This season both submissions and the Awards Ceremony will be entirely virtual. Our intent is to make the transition from in-person to online activities seamless, and we will continue to update you as more information is available.

Celebrate our 2020 Express the Music Winners!

This season, more than 2,000 students from 42 schools across the bi-state area participated in Express the Music. 476 compositions were submitted by teachers to the writing competition, and from this group 47 finalists were selected. 

Congratulations to the top winners, and to all the 2020 Finalists!


Click on each winner's name to view their entry.

Prose (Junior Division):

First place: Hannah Moon, 8th grade, Wydown Middle School

Second place: Melanie Migneco, 7th grade, Truman Middle School

Third place: Julia DeWeese, 8th grade, Truman Middle School


Prose (Senior Division):

First place: Marian Fonseca, 12th grade, Villa Duchesne

Second place: Betsy Benzinger, 12 grade, Villa Duchesne

Third place: Ava Brouster, 9th grade, Villa Duchesne


Poetry (Junior Division):

First place: Laney Spaulding, 7th grade, Lincoln Middle School

Second place: Claire Fodge, 8th grade, LaSalle Springs Middle School              

Third place: Vivian Wang, 7th grade, Wydown Middle School


Poetry (Senior Division):

First place: Zoe DeYoung, 11th grade, Parkway West High School

Second place: Isadora Karathanos, 12th grade, Belleville West High School

Third place: Ally Martin, 11th grade, Parkway West High School

 download the FINALIST booklet PDF 

Contact Us


Express the Music is presented by the St. Louis Symphony Volunteer Association and sponsored by Employees Community Fund of Boeing St. Louis.