The San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM), in partnership with the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) and the SFCM President’s Advisory Council on Equity and Inclusion, are pleased to announced 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 work commissioned by the EBCP’s winner. The winner will also receive a $15,000 award and mentorship from Salonen, SFCM Music Director Edwin Outwater and Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, the resident conductor of engagement and education at SFS and chair of the EBCP selection committee. Bartholomew-Poyser succeeds conductor and former Oakland Symphony Music Director Michael Morgan, who died in 2021.

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. Because of the strength of the applicant pool, three additional prizes were also conferred to rising talent Sumi Tonooka, Shawn Okpebholo, and Jonathan Bingham. All four of the composers’ works received their world premieres during the 2022-23 season at the SFS, SFCM and the National Brass Ensemble, and each piece was workshopped by a large ensemble at SFCM in the spring of 2022. This year’s winner, Jens Ibsen, will receive his premier with the SFS in November of 2023, with a SFCM workshop in April 2023.

EBCP set out to commission ten works in ten years, a goal that will likely be surpassed in that timeframe. To further identify and highlight young artists and support their careers, this year’s competition will invite applications only from composers under the age of 35.

All applications are reviewed through an anonymous process by a committee that includes Bartholomew-Poyser, Outwater, Salonen and industry leaders Daphne Burt, Blake-Anthony Johnson, Nico Muhly, Valérie Sainte-Agathe, and Jeffrey Zeigler. Weston will join the committee in an ex-officio role.


Application are now open, apply by February 1, 2024.


How to apply

Black American composers (U.S. citizens or permanent residents) age 35 or under 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 11:59 PM PT on February 1, 2024.

Have questions?

Please reach out to Abbey Springer at [email protected]