Composer-in-Residence Application Guidelines

Composer-in-Residence Application Guidelines

California Symphony Composer-in-Residence Program

IMPORTANT: Applications Are Now Closed

California Symphony’s Composer-In-Residence program is designed to give outstanding, emerging, young American composers an opportunity to work with a professional orchestra and conductor for a three-year residency from August 1, 2020 through July 31, 2023.

The program is different from all other programs of its type. The composer is provided with a reading rehearsal and study recordings of his/her work during the composition process. The composer, conductor, and orchestra become partners in the creation of the work, and share their experience as the composition develops. The residency provides a unique opportunity to create, rehearse, premiere, and record three major orchestra compositions over three consecutive years, one each season.

Since the residency was established in 1991, nine talented Americans have joined the ranks of this esteemed fellowship. All have gone on to win national and international awards for composition and six former resident composers are winners of the prestigious Rome prize for composition.

The first and second rounds in the selection process are assessed in a blind review, meaning your work will be considered anonymously to reduce or eliminate unconscious bias. Composers from underrepresented backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

We invite you to take the next step toward incubating your work with the California Symphony.

The resident composer will receive the following:

  • An honorarium/commission fee of $10,000 for each work
  • Three world premieres to be performed in the Spring of 2021, 2022, and 2023
  • One recorded rehearsal reading of each work before it premieres
  • Accommodations and airfare for two residency weeks each year, for reading rehearsals and world premieres in Walnut Creek, California
  • Interaction with and constructive feedback from Music Director Donato Cabrera and the orchestra musicians
  • Interaction with the Symphony’s Board of Directors and staff
  • Publicity – reviews and/or interviews for each premiere

The Composer will also participate in the following activities:

  • On-site visits to local schools to inspire and enlighten young people about the art of composing
  • Pre-concert lectureswhere the composer and Music Director discuss the composition in front of an audience prior to the concert
  • Special receptions and/or cultivation dinners with symphony board members and donors
  • Assistance with the search for a young composer for the next residency
  • Support for concert promotions, including writing guest blogs, providing social media content, and interviews with the press

About the selection process

The Composer-in-Residence appointment with the California Symphony is a highly competitive and sought-after position. The application process for the 2020-2023 position will involve at least two rounds of blind reviews by Music Director and current Young American Composer-in-Residence. The third and final rounds of reviews will be conducted by a panel of judges. Past selection panel participants have included renowned composers such as John Adams, Nathaniel Stookey and Mason Bates.

Materials must be submitted as redacted copies to ensure that any reference to your name does not appear. An applicant number will be assigned to you to ensure anonymity to the panel.

Materials you will need:

  • Resume
  • Composition List (include year, title of composition, instrumentation, whom the piece was commissioned by and year/name of group that has performed each work)
  • Award Recognition List (include year, title of award received and title of composition)
  • At least three scores from within the last three years that represent a cross section of your work (orchestral, chamber and vocal scores are acceptable)
  • Audio recordings of up to 3 original compositions
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship (All candidates should be American citizens)
  • $75.00 non-refundable application fee (online payment)

The application deadline was October 31, 2019, by 11:59PM.
All application materials must be complete and submitted by this date to be considered.

A selection will be made on or before February 1, 2020.

Please note that by returning a completed application for the Composer-in-Residence program, you are agreeing that you are able to accept the terms listed above and able to sign a contract for the 2020-2023 term.

It is the policy of the California Symphony to provide all persons with equal opportunities without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, veteran status, marital status or any characteristic protected by federal, state, and local law. Candidates of ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab, and Native American) communities are encouraged to apply.