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Call for Scores 4


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. Symphony Number One is composed of some of the world’s most gifted musicians, dedicated to preparing and performing substantial compositions by emerging composers.                 


Q: I have a concert concept that does not strictly stick to a traditional "score". Would my opera/dance/electronic/non-traditional/etc. work be appropriate for this Call for Scores? 

A: Excellent! Symphony Number One is committed to experimental music, multimedia, intermedia, theater and other performance forms within and beyond the orchestral tradition. If you think you have a great idea that doesn't really work as a typical stand-alone score, and in which submitting two representative scores would not be an appropriate way to consider your body of work, we have an alternative. Last year, we began to offer a separate Call for Proposals to address this very need. We invite you to take a look at our FREE Call for Proposals. We are particularly eager to hear from as many artists as possible in the remainder of the Calendar year 2017.

(NB: because all of our available human resources are consumed with the Call for Scores, we do not accept new proposals during the months of an active Call for Scores. Therefore, our Call for Proposals form will remain inactive between August 1 and September 30.) 


Q: Who is an "Emerging Composer"? Are you looking only for younger composers? Is there an age cut-off?

A: No. Symphony Number One strives for inclusivity and diversity of every kind. We are proud to have commissioned a number of emerging composers beyond the traditional age cut-off dates seen in other competitions and events. We believe that people of every age should have a chance to compose, and we honor the best emerging composers of every walk of life. 


Q: Other, more well-known competitions are free. Why do you charge for this?

A: We're a young organization and we only hope to try to cover a small portion of the costs associated with this project. Competitions of this type may be made free to the applicant because of a grant, a specific donor, or due to some other fundraising mechanism. We will continue to seek out funding for this purpose. Until that time, between the judges, the administrative costs, and basic organizational monthly expenses, the administration of a competition of any kind costs a significant amount of money. As a young orchestra entering our third full season, we are proud of having premiered 20 works in just our first two years, 8 of them being extended works for chamber orchestra, 3 commercial albums, 3 prior calls for scores, and a range of special events, all of which we have done on a shoestring budget. Thanks to our team's development work, we are proud to be able to offer our latest version of the Call for Scores at a price-sensitive cost of just $15. We do this even as we have continued to raise the prize, this year to $400. Our intent is to continue in the same direction of increasing the prize as we continue to work hard to grow our organization.


Q: I get that it all costs money. But doesn't that just mean that application fees are used for composer prizes? Why not just make it free and take away the prize money?

A: We do not use application fees for composer prizes. We specifically reach out to donors who might want to support these young composers, seeking donations to pay for the prizes. Special cases like composer sponsorship does not affect our bottom line in cases where a donor was otherwise unprepared to help sponsor the organization at that level. Therefore, as we continue to build up our capacity to raise the needed funds, we hope to continue to raise the prize each year, even as we continue to lower the cost of entry; the two are not connected. As for taking away the prize, we believe music has value, and part of that value can be expressed by ensuring that composers are paid for their work whenever possible. We're starting small, but we hope to continue to grow and be able to offer even more.


Q: I actually don't mind the fee and wouldn't mind paying a little more, but the composers who win should receive a bigger prize. $400 is just not enough to cover travel expenses, let alone  the time to write a large piece. What can SNO do about this?

A: We completely agree! $400 is well below the value we place upon the best work from emerging composers. SNO is a young organization whose founders and members are themselves either composers, performers, or both. In short, we're musicians too, and we see ourselves as in this together. We work to fight for our value as well as those of the composers with whom we partner. We have every confidence that our continued efforts to grow our organization will lead to the ability to continue to grow the prize, as we have done every year, and as we plan to continue doing every year for the foreseeable future. In the meantime, our hope is that our dedication to large-scale works for emerging composers can provide a valuable opportunity for a developing composer to write an extended work that will be lovingly prepared, performed, and recorded. We feel fortunate that the composers with whom we have worked agree that a rare opportunity such as this has been a worthwhile endeavor. Read what composers have to say


Q: Can I submit paper scores? 

A: Paper scores are wonderful; however, our judges are located across the world and we use a digital system for evaluating scores. At this time, we are only able to accept digital scores. If you are selected for a commission, we will gladly accept paper scores and parts. Our mailing address is: 

2 Hamill Road, Suite 120

Baltimore, MD, 21210 


Q: What's a "Comp-Pass"?

A: We are particularly focused on developing our organization as a resource for composers in every way we can. To that end, we offer to composers local to Baltimore and the region our $20 Comp-Pass - which grants the composer unlimited access to all concerts, calls-for-scores, other composer-centric and educational events, and allows access to dress rehearsals. We always create at least one extra copy of the score of the new work expressly so that composer guests who wish to attend our dress rehearsals, may bring the score and study it. All of this for just $20. If a composer were to take advantage of this offer and regularly attend concerts and other events for those two years, it would amount to less than $.50 per event. We consider this an excellent and affordable way to hack together additional education opportunities outside of school, or to augment existing training, all while staying appraised of the latest compositional trends of their peers, and gaining access to scores during closed dress rehearsals. It is the first step in our longterm commitment to serving composers in the region with affordable opportunities to advance their training, promote their music, and engage in their community.

Even if you don't live in the Mid-Atlantic region, the $20 price for two years worth of competition entry fees still provides great value in an environment in which some competitions charge $30 or more for a one-time entry fee.


Q: I don’t have a professional artist website. What should I put in the "Website" blank in the application?

A: If you don’t have a personal website, no problem! Simply give us the web address of a Soundcloud or other social network profile, a short biography, a sound file, or YouTube video that showcases your capability and artistry. Ideally, the link would lead to a way to easily get to know you in a more holistic way. That said, we believe that a personal website is a great way for composers to display their work on a space that they own and control. Even a simple landing page with one nice photo, a track, a video, and the composer's biography is a great place to start. 


Q: I don't have a professional headshot. What should I put in the "Photo" blank in the application? Is what I look like important? Is this considered in the process? 

A: Not. In. The. Slightest. The music is everything. The judges do not get access to these shots. Like your Stage Name / Print Name, social media information, and the short bio, this information is collected so that we can effectively create composite images, announce finalists, and put out press releases. That said, a good headshot, like a website is an important tool in the tool belt for helping to ensure that your music gets all of the listeners that it deserves. If you don't currently have one, you can make a passable headshot just by using a modern smartphone in a spare, well-lit environment without too much clutter in the background.




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