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Composer Institute

Composer Institute



November 2 - 4, 2015

The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra (MSO) is pleased to present the third annual MSO Composer Institute, held in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and the American Composers Forum.

Up to five emerging composers will be selected to participate in workshops and rehearsals of their works, culminating in a public performance by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, conducted by American conductor and contemporary music advocate Steven Schick, on November 4. Composers will also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of professional training sessions covering a diverse range of topics, from public speaking to copyright and publishing issues.

Activities for the selected composers will include workshop sessions with the MSO artistic and executive staff, MSO musicians, UWM faculty, and other industry professionals. Workshop sessions will focus on a broad array of industry topics, including career development, business issues facing young composers, copyright law, licensing, promotion, working with union orchestras, and public speaking. Selected works will also be considered for future programming on the MSO’s Classics Series.


All participants were required to submit the following:




  • Submitted works should be symphony orchestra pieces. Not eligible are concertos, choral works, and works for strings, winds, or brass only. Works with electronic elements will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Each applicant may submit one work for consideration.
  • Works should be no longer than 15 minutes.
  • Applications must include a full score and a first violin part, which must adhere to the guidelines outlined by the Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association (MOLA).
           ► Download MOLA Guidelines
  • Maximum instrumentation is as follows: three flutes (third can double piccolo); three oboes (third can double English horn); three clarinets (second can double E-flat clarinet, third can double bass clarinet); three bassoons (third can double contrabassoon); four horns; three trumpets; three trombones; one tuba; one timpani; three percussion; one harp; one keyboard (piano OR celeste); strings.
  • Applications must include a resumé.
  • Applicants must submit a letter of recommendation from a composition instructor or music professional. Recommendations need not be included with applicant’s materials, but may also be mailed separately or emailed to Ian Harwood.
  • Recordings are encouraged, but not required.
  • Please label all materials with name, email address, and home address.


Selected composers will be decided by a panel of adjudicators by early September. Each selected participant will receive a $500 stipend and local accommodations for the duration of the Composer Institute. Composers are responsible for their own travel to and from Milwaukee.


As the premier classical music organization in the state of Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra has a responsibility to foster the next generation of composers, ensuring the ongoing vibrancy of one of western civilization’s most essential art forms.

Percussionist, conductor, and author Steven Schick was born in Iowa and raised in a farming family. For forty years he has championed contemporary music by commissioning or premiering more than 150 new works. He was the founding percussionist of the Bang on a Can All-Stars (1992-2002) and served as Artistic Director of the Centre International de Percussion de Genève (2000-2005). Schick is founder and Artistic Director of the percussion group, “red fish blue fish.” Currently he is Music Director of the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus and Artistic Director of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. In 2012, he became the first Artist-in-Residence with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). Schick founded and is currently Artistic Director of “Roots and Rhizomes,” a summer course on contemporary percussion music held at the Banff Centre for the Arts. He maintains a lively schedule of guest conducting including appearances in this season with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Nova Chamber Ensemble and the Asko/Schönberg Ensemble. Schick will be music director of the 2015 Ojai Festival. Among his acclaimed publications are a book, “The Percussionist’s Art: Same Bed, Different Dreams,” and numerous recordings of contemporary percussion music including a 3 CD set of the complete percussion music of Iannis Xenakis (Mode). Mode will release a companion recording on DVD of the early percussion music of Karlheinz Stockhausen in 2014. Steven Schick is Distinguished Professor of Music at the University of California, San Diego.


Subject to Change

Monday, November 2, 2015
All day—Workshops with MSO staff, musicians, and industry professionals

Tuesday, November 3, 2015
Morning—First read of selected works with the MSO
Afternoon—Rehearsal of selected works with the MSO

Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Morning—Final rehearsal of selected works with the MSO
8:00 p.m.—Composer Institute Concert*

*Free and open to the public. All public events held at the Helene Zelazo Center, 2419 East Kenwood Boulevard in Milwaukee.



With questions, please contact:

Ian Harwood,
Vice President & Chief Operating Officer

By email



Daniel Allas
Suite Before Dawn, in memory of Henri Dutilleux  

Youngwoo Yoo
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Saad Haddad
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Gity H. Razaz
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Patrick O'Malley
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Paul Frucht

Emily Cooley
Green Go To Me  
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A Single Candle

Nina C. Young
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Molly Joyce

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signals of half-occulted senses

David Werfelmann
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How the Solar System Was Won