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Panel and Prizes

Panel and Prizes


The winner will receive a $15,000 commissioning award, mentorship from a trio of Music Directors (Esa-Pekka Salonen, Edwin Outwater, and Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser), as well as receive the rare opportunity to workshop, edit and refine the piece with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Orchestra or similar ensemble, months before the final score is due. The workshop will be recorded as a study tool for the composer, and all associated recording fees, travel expenses, and copyist fees will be covered separately/additionally from the commission award. The winner’s commission will be premiered by the San Francisco Symphony. In the first year of the Program, the judges awarded commissioning prizes to three additional composers. When entries are received this year, the judging panel will determine whether recognition of composers other than the winner is appropriate and feasible.


All applications are reviewed through an anonymous process by a committee that includes Bartholomew-Poyser, Outwater, Salonen and industry leaders Elinor Armer, Anthony Davis, Germaine Franco, and Joseph Young, as well as new members for 2022. Trevor Weston will join the committee in an ex-officio role.

Daniel Bartholomew Poyser Headshot

Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser

EBCP Chair

A passionate communicator, Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser brings clarity and meaning to the concert hall, fostering deep connections between audiences and performers. Bartholomew-Poyser concurrently holds two conducting posts: Barrett Principal Education Conductor and Community Ambassador of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Artist in Residence and Community Ambassador of Symphony Nova Scotia. He served as Assistant Conductor of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Associate Conductor of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. Bartholomew-Poyser has performed with the National Arts Centre Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, Calgary Philharmonic, Chicago Philharmonic; has enjoyed an increasing partnership with the San Francisco Symphony over six seasons; and was cover conductor with the Washington National Opera in 2020.

In the 2021–22 season Bartholomew-Poyser will debut with the Carnegie Hall Link-Up Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Regina Symphony Orchestra, and the Prince Edward Island Symphony Orchestra. Host of Canadian Broadcasting Company’s (CBC) nationally broadcast weekly radio show Centre Stage, he also serves on the Boards of both Orchestras Canada and The Conductor’s Retreat at Medomak, headquartered in Michigan. He is the subject of a multi award-winning CBC documentary Disruptor Conductor, focusing on his efforts to extend the boundaries of the orchestral music world through concerts for Neurodiverse, Prison, African Diaspora, and LGBTQ2S+ populations. 

Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser earned his Bachelor in Music Performance and Education from the University of Calgary, and his Master of Philosophy in Performance from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England

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Daphne Burt

Manager of Artistic Planning for the NAC

Daphne Burt is the manager of artistic planning for the Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra. With music director Alexander Shelley, she leads the program planning for the full season of the NAC Orchestra, where her passions are discovering new voices and supporting the work of Canadian artists.

Throughout her career in classical music, including programming for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, she has worked with a long list of  conductors and composes alike, including Pinchas Zukerman, Oliver Knussen, Xian Zhang, Joana Carneiro, Howard Shore, Philip Glass, and Ana Sokolovic.,

As artistic manager for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Ms. Burt was a founding member of Symphonic Pops Consortium which, from within the orchestra industry, develops new programs of popular music for North American Orchestras.

Daphne has called Canada home for the past 20 years. She hails from south Georgia, where she learned bassoon and piano, and her childhood delights were old movies, marching band, and her family’s catfish restaurant.

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Nathalie Joachim

Flutronix co-founder

Nathalie Joachim is a Grammy-nominated performer and composer. The Haitian-American artist is hailed for being “a fresh and invigorating cross-cultural voice”. (The Nation). Hercreative practice centers an authentic commitment to storytelling and human connectivity while advocating for social change and cultural awareness, gaining her the reputation of being “powerful and unpretentious.” (The New York Times)

Ms. Joachim is Assistant Professor of Composition at Princeton University and is regularly commissioned to write for orchestra, instrumental and vocal ensembles, dance, and interdisciplinary theater. This seasons’s highlights include new works for Carnegie Hall, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Grant Park Music Festival, and Spoleto Festival USA. Her landmark project, Fanm d’Ayiti, an evening-length work for flute, voice, string quartet and electronics, celebrates and explores her personal Haitian heritage and received a GRAMMY nomination for Best World Music Album. Joachim’s highly anticipated sophomore album, Kimoun ou ye - an intimate examination of ancestral connection and self - is slated to be co-released by Nonesuch Records and New Amsterdam Records in February 2024.

Joachim is a United States Artist Fellow and co-founder of the critically acclaimed duo Flutronix. She is an alumnus of The Juilliard School and The New School.

Cristian Măcelaru headshot

Cristian Măcelaru

GRAMMY® Award winning conductor Cristian Măcelaru is Artistic Director of the George Enescu Festival and Competition, Music Director of the Orchestre National de France, Chief Conductor of the WDR Sinfonieorchester, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Interlochen Center for the Arts’ World Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Music Director and Conductor of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music.

At the 2023 George Enescu Festival, his inaugural season as Artistic Director, Măcelaru leads the George Enescu Philharmonic, WDR Sinfonieorchester and Orchestre National de France alongside the Romanian Youth Orchestra. Additional 2023/24 season highlights include Măcelaru’s debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra and returnengagements with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. During the 2023/24 season, Măcelaru and the Orchestre National de France will tour major cities in Austria and Spain, including Vienna, Madrid and Barcelona. This season, he will also tour in China and South Korea with the WDR Sinfonieorchester. Măcelaru’s previous seasons include European engagements with the Concertgebouworkest, Symphonieorchesterdes Bayerischen Rundfunks, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Wiener Symphoniker, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich,Staatskapelle Berlin and Budapest Festival Orchestra. In North America, he has led the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra and the Philadelphia Orchestra, where he was Conductor-in-Residence for three seasons.

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D. Riley Nicholson

Executive Director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music

D. Riley Nicholson is a composer, pianist, and arts management professional, equally committed to creating original work and supporting performing arts organizations through management, administration, and governance. With a focus on organizational inventiveness, artistic innovation, and human-centered community building, Nicholson has fostered growth and connectedness through his previous roles as Executive Director of the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, Project Manager for the Center for New Music, and various roles at Post:Ballet, Berkeley Ballet Theater, and Dance Film SF. Currently, Nicholson is the Executive Director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the nation's longest-standing and preeminent festival dedicated to new music for orchestra.

Committed to working with artists outside of music as well as within, Nicholson has composed and performed for a wide range of ensembles and mediums. Notable projects include his work One, for large string orchestra, which headlined Hot Air Music Festival in 2016. Nicholson composed, produced, and performed Shimmer, for piano, visuals, and electronics which toured nationally in 2018. Later that year, he was honored as the CAPMT Distinguished Composer of the Year. In 2019, Joshua Kosman described his performance of the music of Julius Eastman as a "powerful, ingeniously wrought rendition." (SF Chronicle). That same year, Nicholson wrote a new work for Amaranth String Quartet. In 2021, Nicholson collaborated with Jeremy Banon-Neches/ ODC Dance to create original music for the Walking Distance Dance Festival. In 2022, he wrote a full-length electroacoustic piece for David Herrera Performance Company. Currently, Nicholson is collaborating with pianists Sarah Cahill and Regina Myers on a commercial recording of his work "Up" and is writing a new work for the electric guitar collective HARJO.

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Edwin Outwater

Internationally Recognized Conductor, SFCM Music Director

Considered “one of the most innovative conductors on the scene today,” Edwin Outwater works with orchestras and institutions throughout the world, producing, curating, and conducting unique concert experiences. He frequently premieres new works and connects audiences with repertoire beyond the mainstream. Recent wide-ranging projects include collaborations with Renée Fleming, Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, John Lithgow, and Metallica. Outwater has a long association with the San Francisco Symphony. He regularly conducts and curates their SoundBox series, and has conducted and hosted “Holiday Gaiety”, an LGBTQ holiday concert he created with drag performer Peaches Christ. He was Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra leading them on a highly acclaimed European tour, and also served as San Francisco Symphony Director of Summer Concerts. Outwater is Music Director Laureate of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, where he returns regularly. Recent guest appearances include the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony, Brussels Philharmonic, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.

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Valérie Sainte-Agathe

Artistic Director, SF Girls Chorus

Valérie Sainte-Agathe, a native of Martinique, is the  Chorale Director of Philharmonia Baroque. She has served as the Artistic Director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus since 2013, and developed projects with Chanticleer, The King’s singers, Roomful of teeth and Tenet. She toured with Kronos Quartet to conduct the world premiere of At War With Ourselves by Michael Abels throughout the U.S and was invited as a guest conductor with the San Francisco Symphony for a program featuring works of Brahms conducted by Nathalie Stutzmann. Later this fall, she will be the Guest Conductor for new music ensemble Volti, creating pieces by Caroline Shaw and Pamela Z.

In 2018, Ms. Sainte-Agathe made her Carnegie Hall debut with the Philip Glass Ensemble, conducting with Michael Riesman in Glass’s Music with Changing Parts. She also conducted the Philip Glass Ensemble in another performance of this work making her debut at London’s prestigious Barbican Center in 2019 . Between 2014 and 2016, she prepared choruses for Lisa Bielawa’s made-for-TV opera, Vireo and for Taylor Mac’s "Holiday Sauce'' production.

She released two recordings Final Answer, on Orange Mountain Music, and My Outstretched Hand, featuring composer Aaron Jay Kernis and The Knights conducted by Eric Jacobsen.

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Nina Shekhar

Nina Shekhar is a composer and multimedia artist who explores the intersection of identity, vulnerability, love, and laughter to create bold and intensely personal works.

Described as “tart and compelling” (New York Times) and an “orchestral supernova” (LA Times), her music has been commissioned and performed by the New York Philharmonic, LA Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Eighth Blackbird, International Contemporary Ensemble, and Alarm Will Sound. Her work has been featured by the Hollywood Bowl, Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, and Library of Congress.

Shekhar is on the Composition faculty of Mannes School of Music at The New School. She is currently serving as Composer-in-Residence of The Crossing and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra’s 2023-2024 Sound Investment Composer. She previously completed her tenure as Composer-in-Residence for Young Concert Artists. Shekhar is a PhD candidate at Princeton University. She is a first-generation Indian American and a native of Detroit, Michigan.

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Trevor Weston

2021 EBCP Fellow

Trevor Weston’s music has been called a “gently syncopated marriage of intellect and feeling.” (Detroit Free Press) Weston’s honors include; the George Ladd Prix de Paris from the University of California, Berkeley, a Goddard Lieberson Fellowship and the Arts and Letters Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is a fellow from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the MacDowell Colony. Weston won the first Emerging Black Composers Project sponsored by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the San Francisco Symphony.

Weston’s Flying Fish, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall for its 125 Commission Project and the American Composers Orchestra, was described as having, “…episodes of hurtling energy, the music certainly suggested wondrous aquatic feats.” The Bang on a Can All-Stars premiered Weston’s Dig It, for the Ecstatic Music Festival in NYC in 2019. Weston’s work Juba for Strings won the 2019 Sonori/New Orleans Chamber Orchestra Composition Competition.

Dr. Weston is currently Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department at Drew University in Madison, NJ and an instructor for the MAP and Pre-College programs at the Juilliard School, NYC.

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Dinuk Wijeratne

The Sri Lankan-born Canadian Dinuk Wijeratne is a JUNO and multi-award-winning composer, conductor and pianist who has been described by the New York Times as 'exuberantly creative', by the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra as 'a modern polymath', and by the Toronto Star as ‘an artist who reflects a positive vision of our cultural future’. His boundary-crossing work sees him equally at home in collaborations with symphony orchestras and string quartets, tabla players and DJs, and takes him to international venues as poles apart as the Berlin Philharmonie and the North Sea Jazz Festival.

Dinuk has also appeared at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Opera Bastille (Paris), Lincoln Center (New York), Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires), Sri Lanka, Japan, and across the Middle East. He was featured as a main character in 'What would Beethoven do?' - the documentary about innovation in Classical music featuring Eric Whitacre, Bobby McFerrin and Ben Zander. Recent performances include those with the San Francisco Symphony, National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain, and the Banff International String Quartet Competition; forthcoming projects include collaborations with Grammy-winners Elliot Madore and Avi Avital.

Dinuk has shared the stage and/or composed for: Yo Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble, James Ehnes, Zakir Hussain, Sandeep Das, Ed Thigpen, the Gryphon Trio, TorQ Percussion, the Afiara, Danel, and Cecilia String Quartets; and with every major Canadian orchestra. Dinuk holds a doctorate from the University of Toronto, having also studied at the Juilliard School (with John Corigliano), Mannes College (US), and the Royal Northern College of Music (UK). He was recently appointed Assistant Professor to the Faculty of Music at the University of Ottawa. His music and collaborative work embrace the great diversity of his international background and influences.

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Jeffrey Zeigler

Internationally Renowed Cellist and Collaborator

Jeffrey Zeigler is one of the most innovative and versatile cellists of our time. He has been described as “fiery”, and a player who performs “with unforced simplicity and beauty of tone” by the New York Times. Acclaimed for his independent streak, Zeigler has commissioned dozens of works, and is admired as a potent collaborator and unique improviser. As a member of the Kronos Quartet, he is the recipient of the Avery Fisher Prize, the Polar Music Prize, the President’s Merit Award from the National Academy of Recorded Arts (Grammy’s), the Chamber Music America National Service Award and The Asia Society's Cultural Achievement Award.

Jeffrey Zeigler was the cellist of the internationally renowned Kronos Quartet for eight seasons. Mr. Zeigler has released dozens of recordings for Nonesuch Records, Deutsche Grammophon, Cantaloupe and Smithsonian Folkways and has appeared with Norah Jones on her album Not Too Late on Blue Note Records. Zeigler can also be heard on the film soundtrack for Paolo Sorrentino’s Academy Award winning film, La Grande Bellezza, as well as Clint Mansell’s Golden Globe nominated soundtrack to the Darren Aronofsky film, The Fountain. Zeigler is currently the Assistant Professor of Chamber Music and Innovation at the Frost School of Music of the University of Miami.