Call For Scores


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    Charlotte link

    Jacksonville link

    Underwood link


American Composers Orchestra
EarShot & Underwood New Music Readings

February 5-8, 2018 Fort Wayne Philharmonic (Fort Wayne, IN)
February 27-March 2, 2018 Charlotte Symphony (Charlotte, NC) 
April 17-20, 2018 Jacksonville Symphony (Jacksonville, FL)
June 21-23, 2018 American Composers Orchestra (New York, NY)

Composer Notification:    
December 15, 2017 for Charlotte and Fort Wayne
January 15, 2018 for Jacksonville and Underwood

American Composers Orchestra seeks to identify and celebrate emerging American composers through its Underwood New Music Readings and EarShot program.

The Underwood New Music Readings center around two public reading sessions taking place on June 21 and 22, 2018, when selected composers will have their music rehearsed, performed, and professionally recorded for personal, archival, and non‐commercial use. After the first reading session composers will receive feedback from the conductor, mentor-composers, and musicians from American Composers Orchestra. Composers will have an opportunity to submit errata for the second reading session. Composers will also participate in professional development workshops and feedback sessions.  The goal for participating composers is to develop a composition style that is deeply personal and artistically true, yet designed to enter the standard orchestral repertory.

Drawing from a national network of advisors and advocates, EarShot works with orchestras around the country to identify and support promising composers in the early stages of their careers. Orchestras have relied on EarShot to identify and connect with composers consistent with their artistic vision, and to advise the orchestra on commissions, competitions, and program design. Managed by the American Composers Orchestra (ACO), EarShot is a partnership between the ACO, League of American Orchestras, American Composers Forum, and New Music USA. Over the past 10 years EarShot has initiated dozens of composer/orchestra/conductor relationships across the country offering opportunities to more than 100 composers. In 2016, ACO launched a composer archive of past EarShot compositions now in the orchestral repertoire.

For both programs, travel and accommodations are provided, and  composers will receive a recording of their work for archival and study purposes.


  • This program is for composers who have had fewer than 2 pieces performed by a professional orchestra.
  • Applicant must be either a U.S. citizen or non-citizen lawfully and permanently residing, or studying full-time, in the United States.
  • We seek composers of all backgrounds, especially those whose gender identity, race, ethnicity, and/or background has been historically or currently underrepresented in professional orchestral programming.
  • There are no age restrictions; applicants should be composers at the early stages of their professional careers.
  • Composers selected to participate in prior ACO EarShot, Underwood, or Whittaker New Music Reading Sessions are ineligible.
  • Past applicants not previously selected are welcome to re-apply with a new and complete application, including score and all required background information.

Application Instructions

  • Each composer may submit only one composition for consideration. Works that have been previously submitted to ACO for consideration may not be resubmitted.
  • Works may not have been performed or read by a professional orchestra
  • Only works completed after January 1, 2014 will be considered.
  • Compositions must be less than 15 minutes in length. A portion or movement from a longer work may also be considered.

Instrumentation for Jacksonville Symphony EarShot and Underwood New Music Readings: 
should not exceed:  winds at 3,3,3,3; brass at 4,3,3,1; harp, keyboard, timpani plus 3 percussion and strings. Doublings allowed: piccolo, English horn, bass clarinet, and contrabassoon. Composers should expect some re-orchestration will be requested.

Instrumentation for Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and Fort Wayne Philharmonic EarShot Readings:
should not exceed:  winds at; brass at; harp, timpani plus 1 percussion (please note that Fort Wayne has one extra percussionist), and strings. Doublings allowed: piccolo, English horn, bass clarinet, and contrabassoon. Composers should expect some re-orchestration will be requested.

  • Compositions may not include soloists, electronics, MIDI, digital technology, and/or sound reinforcement.
  • Do not submit recordings.
  • 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.
  • Incomplete, illegible, or late applications will not be considered.

Composers selected are responsible for delivering professional-quality score and parts.  Travel and accommodations will be provided.

Applicants must submit an electronic submission form, the orchestral score and resume. There is no application fee.

How to Apply

Before submitting an application, carefully review the eligibility & submission guidelines above. A complete submission must include the following:

  • A completed online submission form.
  • A pdf of the score clearly labeled with the composer’s name and title of the work on the cover page.
  • A current resume including educational background, major teachers, awards, and professional affiliations.
  • There is no application fee.
  • The application process must be completed by 5:00 pm EST, October 16, 2017. Late submissions will not be considered.

Apply Now!

If Selected

  • Composers will be notified by December 15, 2017.
  • Composers must be available and ready to attend reading sessions, feedback meetings and professional development workshops on the dates listed for the reading applied for.
  • Composers must provide professional, legible orchestral parts and scores prepared according to guidelines established by the Major Orchestral Librarians Association. Materials for the first reading session must be delivered no later than 45 days before the reading session for which they have been selected.
  • Composers agree to: submit photos and sound clips for web use and a short biography for media purposes; to participate in blogging and social media to be videotaped/recorded for archival and promotional purposes; and to have their music recorded for archival and study purposes.

For questions, contact Underwood New Music Readings in care of the American Composers Orchestra: 212.977.8495 ext 202; or

About Earshot

EarShot is a program of the American Composers Orchestra in collaboration with the American Composers Forum, League of American Orchestras, and New Music USA. EarShot helps orchestras around the country to identify and support promising composers in the early stages of their careers. EarShot advises organizations on the programs that would best suit their new-composer needs — from new-music readings to composer residencies and competitions — and assists with planning, identifying composers through its extensive nationwide calls, and program design and execution.

EarShot is made possible with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and Fromm Music Foundation,  and with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and the New York State Council on the Arts. Additional funding provided by the League of American Orchestras with the support of the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.