Argus Quartet Composers Institute

The Argus Quartet Composers Institute aims to provide high school age composers (ages 13 – 18) from communities with untapped potential access to the tools they need to develop as young artists and prepare for study at the collegiate level. The tuition-free Institute offers these young composers the opportunity to study, workshop, and collaborate with the Argus Quartet and two Artist-Faculty composers.

Our mission as Institute of Composers “Argus Quartet” is to promote the development of young composers (High-school / secondary, 13 – 18 years) with artistic potential, fostering the skills necessary for their development and preparation for further studies (collegiate level). The free tuition offers young composers access to workshops and collaborations with the Argus Quartet and two other composers.

We have recognized an absence of programs of this type for high school age composers (ages 13 – 18), and particularly BIPOC, female, LGBTQ +, and gender non-conforming composers. The Argus Quartet’s multi-year goal through the Composers Institute is to regularly offer a majority of spots in the Institute to applications from BIPOC, female, LGBTQ +, and gender non-conforming composers, with a rotating focus each year on a single subset within these broad groups. In 2021, this subset will be BIPOC composers. Consequently, the Artist-Faculty each year will reflect that year’s focus.

Six student composers will be selected by application for the opportunity to work with this Faculty team on pieces they will compose specifically for the seminar. Over the course of five virtual sessions (including a culminating virtual performance), the young composers will have lessons, workshop their pieces, and have the unique opportunity to work directly with professional performers throughout the curation-to-completion process. The Argus Quartet will record the students’ works for the culminating showcase, and the young composers will then be able to use these recordings for any non-monetary purpose, such as college applications, competitions, and calls for scores.

The Institute is tuition-free for all students. For the 2021 Institute, the Argus Quartet will prioritize applications from BIPOC composers, and a majority of the spots in the Institute will be given to these composers. Thus, in addition to assessing individual applications, we will look at the range of composers being supported across the whole program.

2021 Dates & Schedule

All sessions take place virtually over Zoom from 7-9pm EST.

SESSION 1 (Monday, September 13) – Welcome and workshop with Argus.
SESSION 2 (Monday, September 20)
– Workshop with faculty composers + Argus.
SESSION 3 (Monday, September 27)
– Workshop with faculty composers + Argus.
SESSION 4 (Monday, October 4)
– Revisions of pieces due + final workshop with Argus.
SESSION 5 (Tuesday, October 12)
– Final performance! Zoom / YouTube premiere of student compositions.

Note on Eligibility:

If you are age 13 – 18, and have graduated high school, you are eligible to participate in the Composers Institute as long as you are not enrolled in a college program at the time of the Institute.


Applications close on June 15, 2021 at 11:59pm EST. There is no fee to apply. Please feel free to contact us with any questions about the guidelines or application.

We understand that making and uploading videos can be difficult due to devices and internet connectivity. To this end, if you need to substitute video portions with written responses, please contact us at to briefly explain your circumstances and we will be happy to accommodate!

NOTE: If accepted, student agrees to write a new composition for the assigned instrumentation (string quartet – 2 violins, viola, cello – OR instrumentation within string quartet, e.g. violin solo, viola/cello duo, etc.) to be workshopped and premiered exclusively by the Argus Quartet during the 2021 Composers Institute. The piece may be up to 7 minutes in length and must be submitted by August 1, 2021.