Applications Open: Student Composer Assistantships in Detroit, MI from Mar 1-4, 2019

EarShot Education 
Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Professional Development in Education and Community Development

Student Composer Assistantships
March 1-4, 2019

ACO is seeking 4 Student Composers for a paid assistantship during the Detroit Symphony Earshot residency from March 1-4, 2019.

Application Deadline: January 11, 2019 by 5pm EST
Dates of Service: Friday March 1 (evening) through Monday March 4, 2019 in Detroit, MI
Stipend: $600*

ACO and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra are pleased to invite college or graduate level composers to apply for 4 Student Composer Assistantships during the 2019 Detroit EarShot residency. Student Composers chosen for this assistantship will receive 3 days of intensive, hands-on training focused on building skills in Education and Community Engagement. During the residency, each Student Composer Assistant will be placed in a working group with one Earshot Composer, one Detroit Symphony Teaching Artist and a DSO student chamber ensemble. These working groups will, through training sessions provided by ACO, prepare a presentation featuring their Earshot Composer’s work, and together they will deliver that presentation to local Detroit public school students.

From Friday March 1 through Sunday March 3, the Student Composer Assistants will participate in all open workshops of EarShot Education as well as extra training and planning sessions with their working groups. Presentations to Detroit Public School students will be made during the day on Monday March 4th. All EarShot Education activities will be led and facilitated by Guest Composer, Jessie Montgomery and ACO Education Director, Kevin James. Student Composer Assistants will be asked to support many of these activities as notetakers, librarian support, and other delegated tasks. These tasks will not impede their ability to participate fully in any of the training, workshops or school visits.

During the rest of the Earshot week, Student Composers will also have the opportunity to gain deep, close-up insight, as early career composers navigate their first major-orchestra experience. Those selected will be welcome to attend and observe reading sessions, mentoring sessions, career development workshops and DSO performances with the Earshot Composers, ACO mentor composers (Gabriela Frank and Derek Bermel), and the Detroit Symphony American Roots Resident Composer (TBA).


  • Applicant must be either a U.S. citizen or non-citizen lawfully and permanently residing, or studying full-time, in the United States. 
  • Applicant must currently be a student whose studies include composition on a college or graduate level (there are no age restrictions) 
  • Applicant must have a strong interest in getting new music and composers into K-12 classrooms. 
  • Applicant must be an enthusiastic learner, adept at quickly adapting new skills, and open to feedback. 
  • Applicant must work well in a team environment – including taking direction from team leaders and setting a strong example for high school aged students.
  • Applicant must be committed to expanding diversity in the classical arts. 

We seek composers of all backgrounds, especially those whose gender identity, race, ethnicity, physical ability, neurodiversity, socio-economic status, and/or background has been historically or currently underrepresented in professional orchestral programming.

To Apply You Must:  

  • Complete the online registration  
  • Provide an up to date resume with information on educational background, major teachers, awards, professional affiliations or activities, performances of works, and other experience pertinent to this assistantship. 
  • Provide complete contact information for 1 current music professor at your current college or university and 1 other music professional willing to provide a reference on your behalf 

Required Activities:
Be present and participate in all orientation meetings, workshops, presentations, and school visits between Friday 3/1 and Monday 3/4 in Detroit, MI as listed below. 

Friday 3/1, 7:30-9pm: Introductions and Presentation prep

Sat. 3/2, 10am-4:30pm
10-11am: Orientation
12-3pm: Training Workshop I
3:30-4:30pm: Rehearsal w/student ensembles

Sun. 3/3, 10:30-12:30 & 4-6pm
10:30am-12:30pm: Assessment and Breakout Planning Session
2-3pm: Keynote Presentation by Jessie Montgomery
4-6pm: Schools presentation run-throughs and feedback 

Mon. 3/4, Time TBD
2 classroom presentations at schools
possibility of prep meeting ahead of travel to schools.

If Selected: 

  • Student Assistants will be notified by January 16th, 2019 
  • Student Assistants must be available and ready to attend and participate in all activities as described above. Necessary accommodations for physical disability and/or neurodiversity will be provided upon request. 
  • If commuting is not a practical possibility for selected Student Assistants, housing will be provided from Friday March 1-4, and transportation will be provided to and from Detroit.* 
  • All local transportation is provided from March 1-4.  
  • Some meals are provided. 
  • Each Student Composer will receive a stipend of $600 upon completion of services. 

*The Earshot residency extends through Saturday March 9 and Student Composer Assistants are encouraged to attend all the remaining Earshot activities as an observer. If a selected student composer is in need of housing in order to attend Earshot activities after March 4, ACO will do what we can to help secure low cost housing nearby.

For questions, contact Kevin James, Education Director: 212.977.8495 ext 202; or