For the eighth year, the festival hosted the Native American Composers Apprentice Project. This project brings high school students from Hopi and Navajo schools to participate in a three-week composition tutorial. During this time, students are coached by a Native American composer. They learned how to develop music for a string quartet; how to notate it; and finally, how to work with a live string quartet as their music is transferred from their minds to live instruments and professional musicians.
Since 2004, the composer-in-residence has been Raven Chacon, himself a Navajo from Chinle, Ariz. He is one of the few American Indian composers working in the world today. Chacon has recorded many works for classical and electronic instruments and ensembles and has had many performances and exhibits of his work across the country. He is a member of the First Nations Composers Initiative, a collective of composers and musicians working to progress the education and works of Native composers.
Chacon assisted each of the 25 high school students to realize their musical ideas to a final composition of two minutes each.