Applications Now Open for 2023 Emerging Black Composers Project

emerging black composers project

SFCM and SFS announce call for applications for third annual Emerging Black Composers Project. This year’s competition looks to further identify and promote inventive Black musicians, of any music genre, under age 35.

The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM), in partnership with the San Francisco Symphony, announced today that applications are now open for the third annual Emerging Black Composers Project (EBCP).

The San Francisco Symphony, led by Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen, will give the world premiere of a new work commissioned from the EBCP’s winner. He, she or they will also receive a $15,000 award and 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. The winner will also receive career support and investment from SFCM faculty and musicians. 

“It’s a real honor to participate in this ongoing project, which is needed and appropriate at this time in history,” said Bartholomew-Poyser. “We welcome a wide array of emerging voices, techniques, and aesthetics and encourage all music innovators to apply.”

Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser.

“As we enter our third year, it is extremely inspiring to feel the community around this project grow. Hearing the premieres, and seeing the effect this project has on our composers, and our musical world is nothing short of thrilling,” Outwater said. 

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 with additional prizes awarded to Sumi Tonooka, Shawn Okpebholo, and Jonathan Bingham. 2022’s winner Jens Ibsen will have his work premiere with the San Francisco Symphony during the 2023-24 season. 

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

“I want to say how incredibly amazing this program is because it’s a 10-year investment, and change takes time. I have no idea where we will be in a decade, and how many more people will be affected,” said inaugural winner Trevor Weston, who joined the EBCP selection committee this year. 

All applications are judged through an anonymous process by a committee of leaders in the field that include Carmen Bradford, Daphne Burt, Blake-Anthony Johnson, Nico Muhly, Valérie Sainte-Agathe, Victor Goines, Jeff Zeigler, along with Weston, Salonen, Outwater and Bartholomew-Poyser.

Applicants are encouraged to apply today. This year’s EBCP submission deadline is February 1, 2023; winners will be announced in spring 2023.

How to apply

Black American composers (U.S. citizens or permanent residents) aged 35 or under during 2023 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 by 11:59pm PT on February 1, 2023.

For further information or to apply, visit

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