EarShot and Underwood New Music Readings FAQ

What’s the difference between EarShot and the Underwood New Music Readings?
They’re the same program – the only difference is the host orchestra and, therefore, the location. The Underwood New Music Readings always occur in NYC with ACO. EarShot happens all over the US and Mexico with different orchestras. Some past EarShot host orchestras have been: Buffalo Philharmonic, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, San Diego Symphony, and Memphis Symphony. 

Can I submit a work for chamber ensemble?
Technically, yes. However, pieces for a smaller ensemble are never at an advantage. This is a reading with symphony orchestra, so works that utilize the entire ensemble will always be given precedence. 

Where can I find the guidelines established by the Major Orchestral Librarians Association (MOLA)?
You can find the guidelines here.

What is the judging process?
The scores are sent to a panel of 3 mentor composers of varying experience, demographics, and style, who rank them according to originality, technical proficiency, orchestration, and overall effect. The highest ranked scores are sent into another round of judging by the ACO Artistic staff. A final list of 8-12 scores with suggestions are sent to the host orchestra (in the case of EarShot) or the conductor (in the case of Underwood) and then the final 4-6 participant composers are chosen by committee. 

Can I resubmit a work that wasn’t chosen for a previous EarShot/Underwood reading?
You may resubmit if you’ve received a personal invitation from ACO. Invitations are most often extended to works that advance to the final round but ultimately aren’t chosen. 

If I’ve participated in an EarShot or Underwood Reading before, can I submit a different piece to be considered?
Unfortunately, no. We want to extend this experience to as many composers as we can.

Who can apply for a Toulmin Foundation Commission (formerly Women Composers Readings and Commissions Program)?
Female and nonbinary composers are eligible to apply for a Toulmin Foundation Commission after they’ve completed an Underwood or EarShot reading. Applications are sent out via email to all eligible composers every summer. Previous recipients include Julia Adolphe (2014), Andreia Pinto-Correia (2015), Robin Holcomb (2017), and Xi Wang (2015).