The San Francisco Conservatory of Music And San Francisco Symphony 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; applications are due by February 1, 2023

The San Francisco Symphony, in partnership with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM), 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 Emerging Black Composers Project prize winner. They will also receive a $15,000 award and mentorship from Salonen, SFCM Music Director Edwin Outwater and Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, resident conductor of engagement and education at the San Francisco 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.”

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

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. The 2022 Emerging Black Composers Project prize winner, Jens Ibsen, will have his work premiere with the San Francisco Symphony during the 2023-24 season.

The Emerging Black Composers Project 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,” said inaugural winner Trevor Weston, who joined the Emerging Black Composers Project selection committee this year. “I have no idea where we will be in a decade, and how many more people will be affected.”

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

Applicants are encouraged to apply today. This year’s Emerging Black Composers Project 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

About the San Francisco Symphony
The San Francisco Symphony is among the most adventurous and innovative arts institutions in the United States, celebrated for its artistic excellence, creative performance concepts, active touring, award-winning recordings, and standard-setting education programs. In the 2020–21 season, the San Francisco Symphony welcomed conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen as its twelfth Music Director, embarking on a new vision for the present and future of the orchestral landscape. In their inaugural season together, Mr. Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony introduced a groundbreaking artistic leadership model anchored by eight Collaborative Partners from a variety of cultural disciplines: Nicholas Britell, Julia Bullock, Claire Chase, Bryce Dessner, Pekka Kuusisto, Nico Muhly, Carol Reiley, and esperanza spalding. This group of visionary artists, thinkers, and doers, along with Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony, have set out to explore and develop new ideas inspired by the Partners’ unique areas of expertise, including innovative digital projects, expansive and imaginative performance concepts in a variety of concert formats, commissions of new music, and projects that foster collaboration across artistic and administrative areas. Shaped by the dynamic partnership and shared vision of Mr. Salonen, the Collaborative Partners, and the Orchestra and Chorus, the San Francisco Symphony’s 2022–23 season reflects a spirit of collaboration, experimentation, and renewed dialogue through live music. For more information, visit

About the San Francisco Conservatory of Music
SFCM draws on the bold creativity of San Francisco to offer unparalleled training for the 21st century musician. We support students in developing the skills and vision to chart successful careers and advance the human experience through music. We believe a musical education must extend far beyond technical and performance aspects. Our commitment to music of enduring quality and importance is the foundation of our innovative curriculum, cultivating critical thinking and business acumen alongside artistic practice, and creating a transformative environment of inquiry, collaboration, and entrepreneurship. Our DNA combines a global perspective with the unstoppable energy and imagination of San Francisco. Our pioneering programs and partnerships with leading institutions and businesses prepare students to seize opportunities in music and a wide array of the fastest developing sectors today. SFCM is a magnet for leading faculty whose ongoing professional experience benefits our students. As the only conservatory partnered with a leading artist management company, we are able to provide our students unique insight and access to the music industry.


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