Submit to the Emerging Black Composers Project

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music and San Francisco Symphony are partnering for a major new initiative, The Emerging Black Composers Project, which will commission ten new works over the next ten years. Developed in partnership with the SFCM President’s Advisory Council on Equity and Inclusion, the project will spotlight new music from early-career Black American composers.

A call for applications opens today and runs through February 1, 2021, with the world premiere of the first commission planned for the 2021-22 season. All applications will go through an anonymous review process, emulating blind auditions, so that gender, age, and other identifying data are concealed to eliminate unintentional bias. Industry leaders Anthony Davis, Carmen Bradford, Joseph Young, Germaine Franco, Elinor Armer, and John Adams join Michael Morgan, Edwin Outwater, and Esa-Pekka Salonen on the review panel, which will announce the first commission in spring 2021.

Each winning composer will receive a commissioning fee of $15,000 and artistic mentorship from Oakland Symphony Music Director and SFCM faculty member Michael Morgan, SFCM Music Director Edwin Outwater, and San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, who is also a leading composer. Commissioned composers will have the rare opportunity to hear and retool the piece as it is being developed, through workshops at the Conservatory, which is able to accommodate a diverse range of instrumentation and genres. These workshops will be recorded as a study tool for the composers, who will then have months to revise the work before it receives its world premiere with one of the participating ensembles. In addition to the commissioning fee, all associated recording fees, copyist fees, and travel expenses will be covered by the Conservatory.


All Black American composers (U.S. citizens or permanent residents) who have completed a degree program in composition or music performance, or have equivalent experience, are encouraged to apply. Applicants must submit a resume along with three scores and recordings of past or current compositions reflective of their work. The deadline for applications is February 1, 2020. For further information or to apply, visit sfcm.edu/EBCApplication.

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