The Hildegard Commission is National Sawdust’s mentorship initiative highlighting outstanding women and other marginalized genders in the early stages of their careers, supporting them with a commission, visionary mentorship, and access to a network of leading working collaborators.

This year, the focus is on cinematic collaborations and writing music for film. Welcoming pre-existing collaborations, alternative mediums of music outside of the notated score, and nonvisual proposals that have strong storytelling through music, and unique artistic perspectives.

‍In addition to receiving a $5,000 cash prize, a commission for Pierrot-plus ensemble, a professional performance, and a live recording, the five winning composers will receive one-on-one mentorship with established figures in the field who also serve as judges for the competition, led by Paola Prestini, Composer, Co-Founder and Artistic Director at National Sawdust, winners will work with renowned film composers Laura Karpman and Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum, amongst others yet to be announced. The commissions will be performed and recorded by the National Sawdust Ensemble at National Sawdust on Thursday, March 6th, 2025.

Past mentors have included Pulitzer winning composer Du Yun, composer and multi-instrumentalist Angélica Negrón, composer and electronic artist Gavilán Rayna Russom, composer, sound artist and Associate Professor at Columbia Miya Masaoka, composer, pianist, and pioneer in electronic and art music Lena Platanos, cellist and former Kronos Quartet member Jeffrey Zeigler, composer, vocalist sound artists and Music Faculty at NYU Joan La Barbara, Pulitizer winning composer Tania Leon.

National Sawdust Ensemble (NSE), led by cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, is the in-house band of National Sawdust. Made up of highly acclaimed artists who are or have been members of the Da Capo Chamber Players, New York New Music Ensemble, the Internationally Contemporary Ensemble, Imani Winds, Flutronix, and the Kronos Quartet, this instrumentally flexible group is an integral part of National Sawdust Mentorship Initiatives, playing, teaching and collaborating with emerging and professional composers from the Blueprint Bridge Fellowship with The Juilliard School, as well as the internationally renowned Hildegard Commission Concert for composers who are women and other marginalized genders. The mission of the ensemble is to give composers and artists access to the high caliber of musicianship that is native to National Sawdust. The NSE has also supported projects such as Liederabend, Senses with Beth Morrison Projects.

Details for Submission:

The closing date for submissions is Thursday, August 1st at 6pm ET. Winners will be notified in late August or early September. Some Professional Development sessions will take place at National Sawdust, NYC in September ‘24. International and national applicants are encouraged to apply, however please note that we do not have a budget for travel or accommodations beyond the winners’ fee. All winners must be available to attend both rehearsals and the performance at National Sawdust, NY during March 2025.

Commission Parameters:

This year, the focus is on cinematic collaborations and writing music for film. Welcoming pre-existing collaborations, alternative mediums of music outside of the notated score, and non-visual proposals that have strong storytelling through music, and unique artistic perspectives. Composers as the lead artists must include the details of the collaboration with film in their project proposal. This should include any work samples available from the studio or individual collaborator. The composer’s collaborative intentions are to be fully communicated in their project proposal. Proposed musical work to be commissioned must be written for a combination of pierrot instrumentation: flute, clarinet, piano, violin, cello, plus chamber percussion. Additional options can include voice, narrator, electronics. The work must be between 5 and 10 minutes in duration.

Deadline:

The closing date for submissions is Thursday, August 1st at 6pm ET. Winners will be notified in late August or early September. Please send all email inquiries about the proposal parameters to the Assistant Director, Mentorship Initiatives, Eve O’Donnell at eve@nationalsawdust.org