Calls for Submissions


Oregon Symphony & National Symphony Orchestra EarShot Applications (open April 27, 2020; close May 19, 2020) APPLY NOW

The Phoenix Symphony EarShot & Underwood New Music Readings 2021 Applications (open July 2020)

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Take our quiz to check your eligibility for EarShot and Underwood.

  • This program is for composers who have had fewer than 2 pieces performed by a professional symphony orchestra. (College/university, youth, chamber, and festival orchestra performances do not apply.) 
  • U.S. applicants must be either a U.S. citizen or non-citizen lawfully and permanently residing, or studying full-time, in the United States. DACA status applicants are eligible to apply. Mexican, Canadian, Central American, and South American applicants must be a citizen or non-citizen lawfully and permanently residing or studying full-time in their respective country.
  • 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. 
  • There are no age restrictions; applicants should be composers at the early stages of their professional orchestral careers. 
  • Composers selected to participate in prior ACO EarShot, Underwood, or Whittaker New Music Reading Sessions are ineligible. 
  • Previous JCOI participants are eligible to apply.  
  • Past applicants not previously selected are welcome to re-apply with a new score and a complete application, including all required background information. 
  • Some EarShot readings will limit eligibility to a specific demographic at the host orchestra’s request. Those limitations will be announced as they are decided by the host orchestra.

About the Review Process

All scores are read by a panel of 3 composers from varying backgrounds, demographics, and styles. The panelists rate the scores numerically on criteria such as originality, technical proficiency, and orchestration. A reduced number are sent to a second panel of 2-3 mentor composers and ACO’s Artistic Director, who in turn select a group of finalists. From these finalists, the orchestra’s conductor and other artistic personnel determine participants for the readings. All panels change with each call for scores.

About EarShot with Partners Across North America

EarShot, a nationwide network of new music readings and composer-development programs, is the nation’s first ongoing, systematic program for identifying emerging orchestral composers, which provides professional-level working experience with orchestras from every region of the country and increases awareness of these composers and access to their music throughout the industry. EarShot is a partnership of American Composers Orchestra, American Composers Forum, New Music USA, and the League of American Orchestras. To date, more than sixty composers have been selected for New Music Readings with orchestras including the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Berkeley Symphony, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Nashville Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Pioneer Valley Symphony (MA), New York Youth Symphony, La Jolla Symphony (CA), and the San Diego Symphony.

About EarShot with American Composers Orchestra in New York

American Composers Orchestra seeks to identify and celebrate emerging American composers through its EarShot program.

The Earshot with ACO in New York center around two public reading sessions, 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.

EarShot is a program of American Composers Orchestra in partnership with American Composers Forum, the League of American Orchestras, and New Music USA; made possible with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and with public funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional funding provided by the League of American Orchestras with support of the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.