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Nov 1, 2023


This year’s competition looks to further identify and promote inventive Black musicians, of any music genre, under age 35; applications are due by February 1, 2024

San Francisco, CA—The San Francisco Symphony, in partnership with the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM), announced today that applications are now open for the fourth annual Emerging Black Composers Project (EBCP) its Michael Morgan Prize, and the Cabrillo Emerging Black Composers Prize.

The winner of the 2024 Michael Morgan Prize will receive a $15,000 award and have a new work commissioned to receive its world premiere with the San Francisco Symphony, led by Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen. The winner will also receive mentorship from Salonen, SFCM Music Director Edwin Outwater, and Daniel Bartholomew-Poyser, the resident conductor of engagement and education at the San Francisco Symphony and chair of the EBCP selection committee.

The winner will also receive career support and investment from SFCM faculty and musicians. This award was renamed the Michael Morgan Prize in 2023 in honor of the late maestro who served as the first chair and co-founder of the EBCP before he died in 2021. 

“Our continued work with emerging Black composers is incredibly fulfilling, especially as we now see the winners stepping into the limelight, creating new, timely, and compelling works,” said Bartholomew-Poyser. “We welcome composers of all types to apply for the award this year and look forward to a full and varied range of aesthetics from currently emerging composers.”

"This program continues to grow each year, adding new composers, gathering new partners, and growing a network of enthusiastic support for these vital new musical voices," Outwater said. "I've enjoyed being on the ground with these composers in San Francisco and supporting them through the process of creation. All of these composers are so exceptional and wonderful, and I'm so lucky that they are my colleagues and friends."

The Emerging Black Composers Project is a ten-year commitment to spotlight early-career Black American composers and their music. It was launched in 2020 with the first-place commission given in June of 2021 to Trevor Weston with additional prizes awarded to Sumi Tonooka, Shawn Okpebholo, and Jonathan Bingham. Jens Ibsen, winner of the 2022 Emerging Black Composers Project, will have his work Drowned in Light premiered by Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony as part of the California Festival: A Celebration of New Music on November 10–12. Xavier Muzik, winner of the Michael Morgan Prize in 2023, will have his work premiered during SF Symphony’s 2024–25 season.

In addition to the Michael Morgan Prize, in partnership with the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, the Cabrillo Emerging Black Composers Prize will also be chosen from this same pool of applicants. This additional winner will receive a cash prize for the composition of a new five- to seven-minute symphonic work. The piece will receive its world premiere by the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra during the 2025 Cabrillo Festival season, with the winner serving as composer-in-residence.

All applications are judged through an anonymous process by a committee of leaders in the field that include Daphne Burt, Nathalie Joachim, Valérie Sainte-Agathe, Jeff Zeigler, along with Weston, Salonen, Outwater, and Bartholomew-Poyser, among others.

Applicants are encouraged to apply today. This year’s EBCP submission deadline is February 1, 2024; winners will be announced in spring 2024.

The Emerging Black Composers Project is underwritten by Michèle and Laurence Corash.

How to apply
Black American composers (U.S. citizens or permanent residents) aged 35 or under during 2023 who have completed a degree program in composition or music performance, or have equivalent experience, are encouraged to apply.

Applicants must submit a resume along with three scores and recordings of past or current compositions reflective of their work by 11:59 PM PT on February 1, 2024.

For further information or to apply, visit

About the San Francisco Symphony
The San Francisco Symphony is among the most adventurous and innovative arts institutions in the United States, celebrated for its artistic excellence, creative performance concepts, active touring, award-winning recordings, and standard-setting education programs. In the 2020–21 season, the San Francisco Symphony welcomed conductor and composer Esa-Pekka Salonen as its 12th Music Director, embarking on a new vision for the present and future of the orchestral landscape. In their inaugural season together, Mr. Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony introduced a groundbreaking artistic leadership model anchored by eight Collaborative Partners from a variety of cultural disciplines: Nicholas Britell, Julia Bullock, Claire Chase, Bryce Dessner, Pekka Kuusisto, Nico Muhly, Carol Reiley, and esperanza spalding. This group of visionary artists, thinkers, and doers, along with Salonen and the San Francisco Symphony, have set out to explore and develop new ideas inspired by the Collaborative Partners’ unique areas of expertise, including innovative digital projects, expansive and imaginative performance concepts in a variety of concert formats, commissions of new music, and projects that foster collaboration across artistic and administrative areas. Shaped by the dynamic partnership and shared vision of Mr. Salonen, the Collaborative Partners, and the Orchestra and Chorus, the San Francisco Symphony’s 2023–24 season reflects a spirit of collaboration, experimentation, and renewed dialogue through live music.

About the San Francisco Conservatory of Music
SFCM draws on the bold creativity of San Francisco to offer unparalleled training for the 21st century musician. We support students in developing the skills and vision to chart successful careers and advance the human experience through music. We believe a musical education must extend far beyond technical and performance skills. Our commitment to music of enduring quality and importance is the foundation of our innovative curriculum, cultivating critical thinking and business acumen alongside artistic practice, and creating a transformative environment of inquiry, collaboration, and entrepreneurship. Our DNA combines a global perspective with the unstoppable energy and imagination of our hometown. Our pioneering programs and partnerships with leading institutions and businesses prepare students to seize opportunities in music and a wide array of the fastest developing sectors today. SFCM is a magnet for exceptional faculty whose ongoing professional experience benefits our students. As the only conservatory partnered with a leading artist management company and recording label, we are able to provide our students unique insight and access to the music industry.

Media contacts:
SAN FRANCISCO SYMPHONY: Taryn Lott: [email protected]
SFCM: Mark Taylor: [email protected]    

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