EarShot Readings, operated in partnership with the American Composers Forum, New Music USA, and the League of American Orchestras, provide composers with professional working experiences with orchestras from across the Americas. ACO hosts EarShot Readings with its own orchestra in New York City each season, in addition to designing EarShot Readings with partner orchestras. Selected by open call with no fee or age limit, participant composers:

  • Rehearse a score with a professional orchestra
  • Build relationships and receive feedback from mentor composers, conductors, and performers throughout the process
  • Receive an archival audio recording of their work, a resource which is often cost-prohibitive without the program, that can be used for future study
  • Join in sequenced professional development prior to the readings including workshops covering score preparation, publishing, copyright, agreements, and more
  • Receive training in public speaking to enhance teaching skills and participate in ACO’s NYC-based K-12 educational programs, building an essential skill set towards successful future residencies with orchestras and the communities they serve.

Over the last 35 years, EarShot Readings have advanced the careers of more than 360 composers. Alumni include some of the most visible artists in the field: Julia Adolphe, Carlos Simon, Courtney Bryan, Jennifer Higdon, and more. Over half of EarShot composers report that they have received a commission or performance as a direct result of EarShot Readings. Orchestras around the globe have commissioned and performed hundreds of works by ACO alumni.

National Arts Centre Orchestra

The National Arts Centre Orchestra is seeking composers with orchestral works (2222-4231-timp+2-str) to be rehearsed, performed, and recorded in Ottawa, ON on October 28-29, 2024. This collaboration between ACO and NACO aims to intentionally and directly nurture composers and works representative of the increased diversity we want to see on our stages. Priority consideration will be given to BIPOC, female, non-binary, and Canadian composers. Compositional quality is the primary deciding factor; all composers who meet the general EarShot Readings eligibility are welcome to apply.

There is no application fee for these opportunities. Travel (up to $700) and local accommodations are provided. Participants will receive recordings of their works for both personal and professional use.

Eligibility

  • These opportunities are for composers who have had 2 or fewer pieces performed by a professional orchestra (30+ players). University, college, youth, and/or festival orchestra performances, as well as performances that have taken place in conjunction with any composer advancement initiative or program do not count toward the number of pieces “performed by a professional orchestra.”
  • Canadian, Mexican, Central American, Caribbean, and South American applicants must be a citizen or non-citizen lawfully and permanently residing or studying full-time in their respective countries. U.S. applicants must be either a U.S. citizen or non-citizen lawfully and permanently residing or studying full-time in the United States. DACA recipients are eligible to apply.
  • There are no age restrictions; applicants should be composers/artists at the early stages of their professional orchestral careers.
  • Composers selected to participate in any previous EarShot Reading are ineligible.
  • A select number of participants within this season’s EarShot Readings cohort who are based in NYC or Minnesota will be supported by the New York Community Trust’s Van Lier Fellowship program and by the Jerome Foundation. Eligibility for these opportunities is not required to participate in EarShot.

Application Requirements

  • Applicants may submit one work. Applicants may not submit multiple scores.
  • Compositions must be less than 15 minutes in length. A portion or movement from a longer work will be considered.
  • Compositions that include MIDI, digital technology, amplification, and/or sound reinforcement will be considered.
  • Concertos, vocal works, and works for string orchestra, woodwind, or brass ensemble are not eligible.
  • Do not submit recordings.
  • Incomplete, illegible, or late applications will not be considered.
  • All application materials must be submitted before Sunday, June 16, 2024, 11:59 PM ET.

If Selected

  • Selected composers will be notified via email by August 30, 2024. Alternates will be invited to participate as needed.
  • Composers must be available and ready to attend the required reading sessions, feedback meetings, and professional development workshops.
  • Childcare and/or accommodations for physical disability and neurodiversity will be provided upon request.
  • Composers must provide professional, legible orchestral parts and scores prepared according to guidelines established by the Major Orchestral Librarians Association.
  • Composers must submit self-portraits/headshots and a short biography for media purposes.
  • Composers must agree to be videotaped/audio recorded for archival and promotional purposes, and to have their music recorded for archival and study purposes.

About Our Review & Selection Process

Scores are reviewed by a panel of composers representing various backgrounds, demographics, and musical styles. Panelists rate the scores numerically on criteria including originality, technical proficiency, and orchestration. Selected scores will advance to a second round of panelists, including ACO’s Artistic Director, who will in turn select a group of finalists. From these finalists, participants will be selected by the Nashville Symphony and the American Composers Orchestra.

Questions & Information

For questions or comments on EarShot or the call for scores, please contact Loki Karuna, Director of Artist Equity: loki@americancomposers.org.