Read this FAQ before applying to The Emerging Black Composers Project

Composition workbook

SFCM answers some frequently asked questions about submissions

February 1 is the deadline to submit to The Emerging Black Composers Project. Check out the list list of questions below before applying.

What is The Emerging Black Composers Project?
A ten-year initiative between SFCM and San Francisco Symphony fueled by a $250,000 gift to the Conservatory developed in partnership with the SFCM President’s Advisory Council on Equity and Inclusion, the project will spotlight early-career Black American composers. Winning composers receive a $15,000 commission, workshops and performances at SF Symphony and SFCM, as well as mentorship from a trio of Bay Area Music Directors: Michael Morgan, Edwin Outwater, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Learn more about the Emerging Black Composers Project.

How much detail does my proposal need?
There’s no one-size fits all answer to this, because ultimately it’s up to you how much detail you want to share. Here’s another way to think about it: “What’s the best way to convey your ideas to the panel?” Include your answers in the submission form.

Do I need a degree in composition to apply?
No. If you have equivalent experience as a composer, go for it! Even if you’re not sure, we’d encourage you to still apply.

I don’t compose classical music. Can I still apply?
Yes! While SFCM and SF Symphony were originally established as classical music institutions, our collective missions have been to bridge gaps between communities, which includes genres. While our application asks you to make a distinction between jazz ensembles and other traditionally “classical” ensembles, that is only to give us an idea of what your proposed instrumentation is—we are not promoting any agenda toward a specific style or genre.

If selected, how many workshop opportunities will I have with the ensemble?
This will depend on the ensemble you end up working with and your availability. At minimum, your work will receive an initial reading—in-person and/or recorded—to allow for your revisions. Once rehearsals are underway, smaller adjustments can be discussed with the ensemble’s director.

For more information, view the application page or contact Bryan Lin (