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Emerging Black Composers Project to Partner with Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in Offering Additional Prize Commission

Winner will be chosen from 2023 pool of applicants, EBCP deadline extended to February 13, 2023.

February 8, 2023 by Mark Taylor

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM) in partnership with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music announced today there will be a second independent commissioning prize to a finalist of the SFCM’s 2023 Emerging Black Composers Project (EBCP).

This collaboration and separate prize will further enhance the EBCP’s goal of highlighting early-career Black American composers and their music. "We are thrilled that the Cabrillo Festival will partner with us, crafting this tremendous career advancing opportunity. The Cabrillo commission and performance will provide yet another young composer with invaluable experience,” said Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, the resident conductor of engagement and education at S.F. Symphony and chair of the EBCP selection committee.

Music Director and Conductor of the Cabrillo Festival Cristian Măcelaru will choose from among the 2023 EBCP selection committee’s top finalists to award a separate commissioning cash prize of $6,500 for the composition of a new five to seven-minute symphonic work. The piece will receive its world premiere performance featuring the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Măcelaru during the 2024 Cabrillo Festival season. The prize-winner will also be invited to participate as a 2024 Cabrillo Festival composer-in-residence.

“Cabrillo Festival is excited to collaborate with SFCM’s 2023 Emerging Black Composers Project,” said Măcelaru. “The prize is in keeping with the Festival's mission to promote and present contemporary artists, and supports our focus on expanding diversity in the field of symphonic music. I personally look forward to discovering new voices and new talent, and offering them the opportunity to receive a world premiere performance with an orchestra dedicated to the creation of new music at the highest level of artistic excellence.”

The Emerging Black Composers Project is a ten-year commitment to spotlight early-career Black American composers and their music. In a partnership with the San Francisco Symphony it was launched in 2020 with the first-place commission given in June of 2021 to Trevor Weston. The San Francisco Symphony, led by Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, will give the world premiere of a work commissioned by the EBCP’s winner. 

This year’s EBCP submission deadline has been extended to February 13, 2023. Winners of both the EBCP and the Cabrillo Festival prizes will be announced in Spring 2023. To further identify and highlight young artists and support their careers, this year’s competition invites applications only from composers under the age of 35.

The Emerging Black Composers Project and the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music commissioning prizes are made possible through the generosity of Michèle and Laurence Corash.



America’s longest running festival dedicated to new music for orchestra, the Cabrillo Festival is a preeminent force in new music, both nationally and internationally. Celebrated as a “summer mecca for musicians and a premier musical destination for audiences,” (San Jose Mercury News) the Festival attracts some of the world’s top contemporary composers whose compositions are shared with an award-winning orchestra and an enthusiastic audience.