What is the ACF Opportunities Page?

The ACF Opportunities page is a curated listing of calls for music, participation in festivals, commissions, and granting opportunities for music creators. You can view ACF’s Opportunities Page here. ACF is committed to equity, access, and anti-racism, which requires us to be transparent in our selection processes and practices. You can read more about our mission, vision, and values here.

Each opportunity submission is reviewed by a member of ACF’s Artist Support team to ensure it is appropriate and fair according to our equity values prior to posting. To allow time for staff to review and post the opportunity, please contact us at least 2 months prior to the opportunity’s submission deadline. An Artist Support team member will review the opportunity and post it to the website within 2-3 weeks. During this time, a team member may reach out with questions or suggestions to make the opportunity as equitable as possible.

Submission Guidelines & Values

When publishing an opportunity to our page, we look at the following factors:

  • Eligibility:
    • Age and career status: We recommend not conflating age restrictions with career level restrictions, as composers can be emerging or established at any point in their lives.
    • When relevant, the organization/ensemble should clearly state application restrictions based on identifiers such as race, ethnicity, age, gender, orientation, (dis)ability, neurodivergence, class, religion, culture, and nationality, among others.
  • Submission Requirements:
    • The organization/ensemble should clearly state the requirements of the work(s) being submitted or considered for commissioning. Make sure to provide information regarding the duration of the work and instrumentation. If recordings are required, we recommend accepting MIDI and other electronic realizations.
    • Application fees: “Application fees” refer to fees charged to every applicant, while “registration fees” refer to fees charged to selected applicants only. Since application fees pose a frequent financial barrier to artists, we recommend avoiding an application fee when possible. If one is necessary, we recommend offering to waive the fee in cases of financial need, or offering the fee on a sliding scale or through a pay-what-you-can model. We typically do not share opportunities with a non-reducible application fee of over $25. It is best practice to also specify how money procured from application fees will be used, such as administrative expenses of operating the call. We recommend against using application fees as the sole source of prize money, or using them to fund organizational expenses unrelated to the call itself.
    • The opportunity should be upfront about the submission materials needed: work samples, proposals, scores, recommendation letters, etc. Please include information on all submission requirements outside of the submission form itself, so that applicants can have a sense of how long it will take to fill out the submission form and can have all materials ready upon opening it. We recommend inviting a range of materials that reflect the artist’s work, which may not look like a traditional score. For instance, if a work has a crucial visual component, allowing submission of videos would do that work justice. We also recommend cutting down on the amount of work needed for the application if at all possible, by removing requirements such as anonymization, highly specific formatting requirements, lists of past performances, and letters of recommendation. A more equitable practice is to allow artists to define their work on their own terms, as opposed to filtering them based on institutions they have already accessed.
    • The opportunity should be clear about whether previously existing and previously recorded/performed pieces are acceptable for submission. We recommend not requiring unperformed works unless performance is guaranteed, since many composers do not have the time and resources to compose an uncompensated brand-new work that will only be performed if selected. We do not share opportunities that require all submissions to be fully unperformed, unless the opportunity guarantees performance or compensation to all applicants.
  • Compensation and Prizes:
    • The organization/ensemble should fairly compensate artists for their work and clearly state what the participating artist(s) will receive, such as recordings, commissions, performances, a monetary prize, travel stipends, airfare, accommodations, score printing funds, etc. 
    • If there is only one recipient of the award, we recommend publicizing runner-ups, finalists or honorable mentions. This is helpful for emerging composers to build their resume. We also recommend providing panelist feedback to applicants upon request.
  • Expectations for Winning Composers:
    • Please specify if travel is required and if travel funding is available.
      • If travel is required, we recommend providing travel funds. If travel is required and the opportunity is open to international applicants, we recommend providing visa support.
      • We recommend providing virtual options whenever possible, as mandatory in-person attendance is often a barrier to low-income, disabled and international artists.
    • Specify tuition and/or registration fees, if any.
    • Specify if any aspects of the performance or recording are expected to be funded with the composer’s own money (we strongly discourage this).
    • For any rates or fees the composer is expected to pay, it is best practice to indicate how the organization will use this money.
    • Please specify how rights to the work will be shared, if applicable. Will any exclusive rights to performance or recording be retained by the organization?

Opportunities Consultation

Are you looking to create a call for works or commission a music creator? ACF team members are available for consultations and coachings to help you craft an equitable opportunity for your organization or ensemble. Send an email to opportunities@composersforum.org with a brief description and we will set up a meeting with one of our staff members for a consultation!