McDuffie Center for Strings

New Music Initiative for Black Voices

Our Mission

The New Music Initiative for Black Voices is a nationwide invitational that aims to celebrate and empower Black composers and their music. The NMIBV encourages any Black composer not under professional management in the United States to submit an original string quartet. There are no age restrictions, requirements, or fees. The students at the McDuffie Center will form a panel to choose five string quartets from the submissions, and each chosen piece will be worked on throughout the course of the 2021 Fall Semester and recorded at the historic Capricorn studios. Composers and students will be able to meet over zoom multiple times throughout the fall semester and collaborate together to achieve a deeper understanding of the composition. In addition, student groups will receive coachings by Annie Fullard, violinist of the Cavani Quartet and Director of Chamber Music for the McDuffie Center, and Lawrence Dutton, violist of the Emerson String Quartet. Every student at the McDuffie Center stands behind this idea, and we aim to not only provide a polished and professional recording to composers, but to also build and nurture relationships between our fellow composing colleagues, and to further develop and encourage a new age of classical music led by Black voices.

Application Process

Applications for September 1st now open

We will accept five string quartets (two violins, one viola, one cello). Composers are welcome to submit as many compositions as they wish, but only one work will be chosen per composer. There are no fees for composers in any process of this initiative.

Please read the following guidelines carefully before any submissions:

  • Composers must not be under professional management.

  • There are no age restrictions.

  • Compositions must be an original piece of music for string quartet (two violins, one viola, one cello).

  • Compositions must be written after January 1st, 2010.

  • The total length of composition must be under 10 (ten) minutes.

  • Compositions must be engraved using a notation software.


Applications will not be complete until all of the following steps have been completed in full and as specified. 

  • Submit a bio, resume, and headshot to

  • Submit a score and parts as a PDF document by email to

  • You may submit an optional 1-page program note of the piece.

  • You may submit a midi file or a live recording.

  • All parts of the application must be sent in one email.

Submissions must be received by September 1st, 2021 by 11:59pm EST.


Each piece will be considered by the students at the McDuffie Center for Strings through sight-reading and score study, and composers will be notified via email of their selection by September 15th, 2021. A detailed explanation on the selection process to ensure transparency will be announced by September 1st, 2021.