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  1. Emerging Black Composers Project

Emerging Black Composers Project

About the Emerging Black Composers Project

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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.

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.

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.

Dates

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

Application

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. Winners will be notified at the end of April.

Submit this application before 2/14/22.

 

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.

Panel

All applications are reviewed through an anonymous process by a committee that includes Bartholomew-Poyser, Outwater, Salonen and industry leaders Elinor Armer, Carmen Bradford, 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.

Past Winners

Trevor Weston
Sumi Tonooka
Shawn Okpebholo
Jonathan Bingham

Have questions?

Please reach out to Abbey Springer at aspringer@sfcm.edu