Composition workbook
  1. Emerging Black Composers Project

Emerging Black Composers Project

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM), in partnership with the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and the SFCM President’s Advisory Council on Equity and Inclusion, announced today that applications are now open for the second annual Emerging Black Composers Project (EBCP).

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. She or he will also receive a $15,000 award and mentorship from Salonen, SFCM Music Director Edwin Outwater and Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, the recently announced resident conductor of engagement and education at SFS and chair of the EBCP selection committee. Bartholomew-Poyser succeeds conductor and former Oakland Symphony Music Director Michael Morgan, who died earlier this year.

“It’s an honor to join this project, which is needed and appropriate in this time in history,” said Bartholomew-Poyser.

The Emerging Black Composers Project is a ten-year commitment to spotlight early-career Black American composers and their music. It was launched in 2020 with the first-place commission given in June of 2021 to Trevor Weston. Because of the strength of the applicant pool, three additional prizes were also conferred to rising talent Sumi Tonooka, Shawn Okpebholo, and Jonathan Bingham. All four of the composers’ works will receive their world premieres during the 2022-23 season at either the SFS, SFCM, the National Brass Ensemble or the Oakland Symphony, and each piece will be workshopped by a large ensemble at SFCM in the spring of 2022.

EBCP set out to commission ten works in ten years, a goal that will likely be surpassed in that timeframe. To further identify and highlight young artists and support their careers, this year’s competition will invite applications only from composers under the age of 35.

"Being a part of this competition last year was one of the most exciting and illuminating experiences of my career. It revealed the incredible wealth of talent among Black composers, and how essential they are and will be in the world of orchestral music,” said Outwater. “I'm thrilled to continue to discover and support new voices this year and beyond."

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

This year’s EBCP submission deadline is February 14, 2022; winners will be announced in spring 2022.

How to apply
Black American composers (U.S. citizens or permanent residents) age 35 or under 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 before February 14, 2022.

Submit this application before 2/14/22.