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Call for Scores 4

DEADLINE: SUBMIT BY 10:00PM EST, August 30, 2017

Symphony Number One is Baltimore's newest chamber orchestra, devoted to substantial works by emerging composers. Conducted by Music Director Jordan Randall Smith, Symphony Number One uses a flexible, repertoire-driven instrumentation. SNO is made up of some of the region's most gifted artists who lovingly prepare inspired performances of the latest in new music.

Symphony Number One is pleased to announce its fourth Call for Scores ("Call for Scores 4") for performances to take place during its 2018-2019 Season (“Season 4”). Symphony Number One vigorously promotes the composition and performance of contemporary music. We encourage compositions scored for the same or similar instrumentation as well-established masterworks of the past 500 years. In this way, further performances of new works become more practical and economical to program, and therefore more likely to receive additional performances and enter the repertoire. Therefore, selected composers will be invited to compose a new work for chamber orchestra to be rehearsed, performed, and recorded during the 2018-2019 season alongside extant works for chamber orchestra.


From the submitted scores, two winners will be selected to compose an extended work for chamber orchestra (30-65 minutes). The two works will be programmed, one each, across two concert cycles of Symphony Number One's 2018-2019 season.

The instrumentation will be based on the instrumentation of the extant repertoire on the program. Possible repertoire includes, but is not limited to: Schoenberg, Five Pieces for Orchestra (arr. Felix Greissle); Bach, Wachet auf; Ligeti, Chamber Concerto. Winning composers  will collaborate with Symphony Number One to finalize a suitable instrumentation and program. They will have the option to use a subset of the available instruments as well as some limited possibility for augmenting the available instrumentation with one or two composer-requested instruments.

A number of additional opportunities for career advancement may be possible. For example, recently featured composer Andrew Boss received a substantial review full of praise in the Baltimore Sun. In another instance, composer Jonathan Russell had his music featured in a new international music and innovation festival, Light City Baltimore.

Compositions will be evaluated in two rounds by panels of composers, conductors, and performing musicians on the basis of artistic merit and craft, and, where applicable, the likelihood that a complete work will be prepared in time. The winners will be expected to deliver a finished work with ample time for the musicians to prepare it at the highest possible artistic standard. SNO asks for a minimum of sixteen weeks before the first rehearsal; expected delivery deadline will be no earlier than May 1, 2018 and no later than December 1, 2018, dependent on when each work is programmed. Score and parts may be delivered digitally; the composer may also elect to print, bind, and deliver them at his/her own expense.


Symphony Number One actively seeks to establish relationships with many emerging composers. To that end, up to ten additional finalists will be publicized. Several additional opportunities may be extended to those finalists for performances of works for a variety of chamber ensembles. Possible opportunities include both the performance of a submitted work and the commission of a new work.

In the case of our inaugural season, the panel decided to award honorable mention to the first runner-up composer and program an existing work in addition to the announced winners. Several finalists have also been invited to write shorter compositions for Symphony Number One, such as during SNO’s Light City performance in April 2016.

SNO is currently developing other yet-to-be-announced projects which could potentially provide additional commission opportunities to a number of finalists, though no specific guarantees can be made until such projects are announced. To date, every Symphony Number One Call for Scores finalist has at some point been invited to compose for at least one additional project. As an example, this month (August 2017), several finalists from last year's Call for Scores will have their commissions premiered by Symphony Number One.


  • First and foremost, we look for compositional quality, inventiveness, and potential.

  • We are looking for “the next big thing.” We are eager to work with composers who create works using novel approaches to concertizing.

  • We value the rich cultural diversity of innovative compositional voices from around the world and we will be particularly receptive to composers representing unique viewpoints and perspectives.

  • We also value a range of compositional languages. We shuffle our judging panels in order to give different compositional perspectives and methods a voice.


There are no restrictions for age or nationality. An honorarium of $400 will be awarded to each of the two winners after the performance of the completed works for orchestra. No additional travel costs, expenses, rentals, etc., will be awarded as a result of being selected as a winner. However, Symphony Number One works with each composer and a variety of partners to attempt to secure additional funding as much as possible. The winners will be invited to attend their respective performances at their own expense and to receive public recognition during the performances of their respective works, including the possibility of being included in various media events (e.g. composer roundtables, interviews, etc.). The very best works may be selected for inclusion on a future album released by Symphony Number One.

To Apply

To apply, please submit the following via our online form, available here.

  1. Scores of two (2) works representative of the composer's best creative work. It is preferred that at least one of the two submitted works be scored for an orchestra or instrumental ensemble of between 12 and 60 musicians, but no completed applications will be turned away.

  2. Recordings of the two works. (MIDI renderings or similar are perfectly acceptable). These files should automatically stream when the links are accessed. Audio files which must first be downloaded will not be considered. Before submitting, please do due diligence by making certain that your links open directly to a music player on perhaps two or more different devices, including laptop and mobile.

  3. A one- or two-page resume (Format: PDF)

  4. A brief narrative biography (Format: PDF; 50-100 words maximum.)

  5. Entry fee ($20 for a Comp-Pass or $15 for a one-time entry) payable online.


Acceptable formats for audio include: mp3, mp4, or any audio or video format natively playable in iTunes©, a modern web browser, or natively in modern mobile devices. All files should be submitted as web addresses (URLs) to a file sharing link from Dropbox©, Google Drive©, etc., links to your personal website, or links to an online streaming video or audio site, such as YouTube© or SoundCloud©. Make certain that all content is configured for public access and that all audio content opens directly to an audio stream, not to a file download. Make certain that each audio file you wish to have considered is contained in a single, streaming URL and that listening to your submission does not require any additional comments or instructions beyond clicking the link you submit.


It is recommended that the composer use an alternative browser, an anonymous browser tab, a public computer, and/or a friend's mobile device in order to verify that all links sent are properly configured for public use and easy to use.  As the number of candidates entering is projected to be high, Symphony Number One is not able to provide individual confirmation or additional technical support to each composer.


Materials must be received by the competition entry deadline, August 30, 2017. Winners will be announced no later than October 1, 2017. For updates, follow Symphony Number One on Facebook or other social media channels.


Online application payment can be received for the $20 Comp-Pass or a $15 one-time entry fee. Symphony Number One will engage in multiple programs to support the development of emerging composers by arranging high-quality performances of new works. In recognition of the goal to serve the needs of composers, the Comp-Pass is a two-year pass entitling a composer to entry into all Call for Scores competitions or other composer submission programs, seminars, workshops, reading sessions, all public concerts, etc., over the course of the next two years (valid through July 2019).

QUESTIONS? Review our Frequently Asked Questions.


Symphony Number One is Baltimore's Newes Chamber Orchestra, devoted to substantial works by emerging composers.