The Composer Lab & Workshop is open to composers who:

  • Are U.S. citizens or non-citizens lawfully and permanently residing, or studying full-time, in the United States.
  • Are between the ages of 18 and 35 at the time of submission.
  • Have not been selected as past participants of the Nashville Symphony Composer Lab & Workshop.


Submissions for the Composer Lab & Workshop must meet the following requirements:

  • Only one composition per applicant may be entered.
  • Compositions must have been written in the last five years.
  • Works may not exceed 15 minutes in length.
  • Works must be scored for a standard symphonic complement, and instrumentation may not exceed:
    • 3 flutes (3rd may double on piccolo), 3 oboes (3rd may double on English horn), 3 clarinets (3rd may double on bass clarinet), 3 bassoons (3rd may double on contrabassoon), 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba, 1 timpani, 3 percussion, 1 harp, 1 piano and/or celeste, and strings.
  • Works scored for orchestra strings are eligible.
  • Concertos, choral works, works with electronic elements, and works solely for winds or brass are not eligible.
  • Part preparation must adhere to the guidelines outlined by the Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association (MOLA). View guidelines here
  • Works must not have received a performance or reading by an orchestra classified as Group 1 or Group 2 by the League of American Orchestras. (Click here to search a directory.)

Submission details

  • Submissions must be received by Friday, March 8, 2019 at 11:59pm (CST).
  • Entries to be submitted electronically (link to be posted week of January 21)
  • Only one submission per applicant will be considered.
  • All submissions to include:
    • One legible PDF of orchestral score in a printable 11x17 format.
    • Front page of score must include composer’s name and email address.
    • Audio file or link to mp3 recording or Midi realization of the submitted work (Dropbox, SoundCloud, YouTube, etc.)
    • List of full instrumentation
    • Current résumé or bio
    • Statement listing performances (if any) of the submitted work, including dates and performing groups.


A panel of adjudicators will evaluate all submissions and announce the 2019 class of Nashville Symphony Composer Lab fellows by April 19, 2019.

The selected composers will be expected to submit performance materials to the Nashville Symphony library by May 31, 2019. The cost of preparing, printing, binding and mailing materials is solely the responsibility of the composer.

Fellows will visit Nashville September 3-5, 2019, to attend the Composer Lab & Workshop. During their stay in Nashville, participants will have the opportunity to meet with Nashville Symphony staff, conductors, principal players, community partners and music industry professionals. Fellows will also receive mentoring from Workshop Director Aaron Jay Kernis. One or more works may be chosen from the Composer Lab & Workshop to be performed on a future Nashville Symphony program. 

The Nashville Symphony will provide all Composer Lab & Workshop participants with airfare, hotel accommodations and a $1,000 stipend to underwrite the expense of printing scores and orchestral materials.

In collaboration with Copland House — the award-winning creative center for American music based at Aaron Copland’s National Historic Landmark home near New York City — one participating composer may also be selected for a coveted Copland House Residency Award, a fellowship at Copland House’s CULTIVATE emerging composers institute, or a performance by the Music from Copland House ensemble.