Berkeley Symphony, Music Director Joana Carneiro, and Music Alive composer-in-residence Anna Clyne invite applications for the Berkeley Sound Composer Fellows. Three emerging composers will be selected from a national candidate pool to participate in mentorship sessions over two seasons while developing two compositions to be performed by Berkeley Symphony.

In the first season (2017/18), each participating composer will develop a new work for chamber ensemble, while in the second season (2018/19) they will produce a new work for chamber orchestra. Each season culminates in a public reading session as part of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA) Full series, where the composers will have their music rehearsed, performed, and professionally recorded for personal, archival and non-commercial use. Composers will receive mentorship from Music Alive composer-in-residence Anna Clyne while developing their compositions, as well as artistic and career guidance from the Symphony artistic staff, orchestra musicians, and renowned mentor-composers and industry professionals to further develop professional skills. The goal for participating composers is to develop a composition style that is deeply personal and artistically true, yet designed to enter the standard orchestra repertory. Domestic travel and accommodations for participants from outside of the San Francisco Bay Area will be provided.

2017/18 Timeline – First season (Subject to change)

  • June 30, 2017: Application deadline
  • August 1, 2017: Composer notification
  • October 2-5, 2017: Participating composers meet in Berkeley with Anna Clyne for Berkeley Symphony’s Opening Night Concert and visit BAMPFA to select a contemporary artwork to inspire their composition.
  • Four Skype mentor lessons with Anna Clyne to be scheduled on/around November 12, 2017, December 17, 2017, January 28, 2018, and March 11, 2018.
  • March 25, 2018: Score Due
  • April 8, 2018: Parts due
  • April 29, 2018: Performance at BAMPFA 

How to Apply


  • Open to U.S. citizens or noncitizens lawfully and permanently residing, or studying full-time, in the United States. There are no other geographic restrictions; however, San Francisco Bay Area composers are encouraged to apply.
  • Applicants should be composers at the early stages of their professional careers. Composers must not have had a work performed (other than a reading) by a Bay Area professional orchestra, nor have had a substantial history of works performed by professional orchestras at large. There are no age restrictions.

Work Samples

  • The quality of the score submitted is the primary evaluation criterion. It is therefore in the applicant’s best interest that the score be clear, accurate, and the best representation of the composer’s work. The additional background and educational information is for eligibility and documentation purposes; these materials are not considered in the general review of scores.
  • Each composer must submit two (2) representative compositions for consideration:
    • one for chamber ensemble (3-9 instruments)
    • one for chamber orchestra (minimum single winds, single brass, percussion and strings)
  • Work samples may optionally include electronics.
  • Only works completed after January 1, 2010, will be considered.
  • Recordings, including MIDI recordings, up to 10 minutes total length for both samples, may be submitted but are not required.
  • Incomplete, illegible, or late applications will not be considered.


Click here to access the online application. The application deadline has passed.
There is no application fee. You will be asked to upload the following information:

  • PDF of each score clearly labeled with composer’s name, title of the work, and date of completion on the cover page.
  • Current resume of educational background, major teachers, awards, and professional affiliations.
  • List of works, including title, year composed, instrumentation, duration, and performance history.
  • Two letters of recommendation from established composers or other music professionals, attesting to the applicant’s accomplishments and potential as an orchestral composer. Recommendations must be on letterhead and must include a signature. Recommendations may be scanned and uploaded, or mailed under separate cover to the Berkeley Symphony office (1942 University Ave. Ste. 207, Berkeley, CA 94704).

The application process must be completed by June 30, 2017. Incomplete or late submissions will not be considered.

If Selected

  • Composers will be notified by August 1, 2017.
  • Composers must provide professional, legible orchestral parts and scores prepared according to the Major Orchestral Librarians Association guidelines and the above deadlines.
  • Composers agree to: submit photos and sound clips for web use and a short biography for media purposes; to be videotaped/recorded for archival and promotional purposes; and to have their music recorded for archival and study purposes.


For the orchestra work sample, may I submit a work for symphonic orchestra/additional instruments/non-Western instruments/etc.?

  • As long as it fulfills the minimum instrumentation stated above (minimum single winds, single brass, percussion and strings), you may submit a larger work. There is no maximum instrumentation for this work sample.

Can I submit a recording longer than 10 minutes?

  • The judges are only expecting to review up to 10 minutes, so if there is a particular part you want to highlight of a longer work, you may want to use excerpts, or set playback to begin later in the video (Youtube has a function for this). The recording is optional.

Can my recommenders email their letters instead of post mail?

  • Yes, recommenders can email their letters directly to (PDF format recommended), and the letters will be added to your application.

For other questions, contact Sarah Thomas, Director of Operations, at 510.841.2800 x307 or


Established in 1993, Berkeley Symphony’s Under Construction New Music Program signified a unique commitment to emerging composers and new music.  Designed as a reading session to showcase the Bay Area’s composing talents, the program engaged the community in contemporary music and its making, as well as provides a rare and invaluable opportunity for emerging composers to further develop their skills and gain practical experience writing for a professional orchestra.  Since its inception, the program has grown into a nationally recognized forum for composers to bring freshly penned works to the stage under the guidance of Music Director Joana Carneiro, mentor composers, and members of the orchestra.  Anna Clyne is the Music Alive composer-in-residency with Berkeley Symphony. Music Alive is a national residency program of the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA.