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SFCM and San Francisco Symphony's Emerging Black Composers Project to Partner with Gautier Capuçon For New Commission

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Composer Quenton Xavier Blache will receive $5,000 to commission a new piece to be featured on an upcoming album from Capuçon and premiered by the cellist at Davies Symphony Hall in the 2024–25 season.

November 7, 2023 by Mark Taylor

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM), in partnership with the San Francisco Symphony and cellist Gautier Capuçon, announced today that Quenton Xavier Blache, 22, will receive a commissioning prize under the umbrella of the Emerging Black Composers Project (EBCP). 

Anonymously selected by Capuçon from the pool of applications for the 2023 Emerging Black Composers Project, Blache will receive $5,000 to commission a new work for cello and small ensemble that will be featured on an upcoming album by Capuçon, to be released on Warner Erato. Further details on Capuçon’s album will be announced by Warner Erato at a later date. Capuçon will also give the world premiere performance of the work at Davies Symphony Hall on a Great Performers Series concert during the 2024–25 San Francisco Symphony season. 

This marks the seventh commission from the Emerging Black Composers Project since it launched in 2020. Most recently, composer Xavier Muzik was awarded the 2023 EBCP Michael Morgan Prize. 

As a cellist myself, Gautier Capuçon has been a huge inspiration to me,” said Blache. “I always loved listening to him play growing up. The first thing I ever heard him play was the Dvořák concerto with Paavo Järvi on YouTube, and I became an instant fan. I’ve also enjoyed tuning into masterclasses and concerts during his Classe D’Excellence de Violoncelle program. To actually compose a piece for him is something that I never would have guessed could happen. I’m so grateful to work with such an icon in the classical music scene and am super excited for what’s to come!” 

“Through my close relationship with the San Francisco Symphony, I became aware of their exciting Emerging Black Composers Project with SFCM and the incredibly talented pool of applicants they received each year,” said Capucon. “My upcoming album seemed like a perfect opportunity to offer another commission, and I knew when I heard Quenton’s submission that he would write beautifully for the cello. I was thrilled to learn later that he was a cellist himself, and I’m looking forward to working with him on this new piece.” 

The Emerging Black Composers Project intends to spotlight early-career Black American composers and their music. It was launched in 2020 with the first-place commission given in June 2021 to Trevor Weston. The winner of the 2022 Emerging Black Composers Project was Jens Ibsen, whose work Drowned in Light receives its world premiere by Esa-Pekka Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony on November 10–12. 

Earlier this month, the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Conservatory of Music announced that applications are now open for the fourth annual Emerging Black Composers Project (EBCP) and its Michael Morgan Prize. The winner of the 2024 Michael Morgan Prize will receive a $15,000 award and have a new work commissioned to receive its world premiere with the San Francisco Symphony, led by Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen. The winner will also receive mentorship from Salonen, SFCM Music Director Edwin Outwater, and Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, the resident conductor of engagement and education at SF Symphony and chair of the EBCP selection committee, as well as career support and investment from SFCM faculty and musicians. Applications for the 2024 Emerging Black Composers Project must be submitted by 11:59 PM PT on February 1, 2024. Click here to read the full press release and eligibility requirements. 

The Emerging Black Composers Project is underwritten by Michèle and Laurence Corash.

Learn more about the Emerging Black Composers Project.