Nashville Symphony Announces Inaugural Composer Lab & Workshop

March 20, 2015

Composer Aaron Jay Kernis Named Workshop Director

Nashville, Tenn. (March 20, 2015) – The Nashville Symphony announces its newly created Composer Lab & Workshop and a nationwide call for submissions for its inaugural session.

The Composer Lab & Workshop was developed and guided by Nashville Symphony Music Director Giancarlo Guerrero and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis, who will serve as Workshop Director and Chairman of the Selection Panel. The program aims to discover the next generation of outstanding American composers by providing them with the opportunity to develop their talents, gain hands-on experience working with a major American orchestra, and showcase their work for local audiences. The Workshop & Lab is a natural outgrowth of the Nashville Symphony’s strong commitment to American music, and its place at the heart of American music in Nashville.

“Creating and promoting new American orchestral music is at the very core of the Nashville Symphony’s artistic mission,” said Guerrero. “What better way to fulfill that mission than with a program that gives the next generation of composers a chance to develop their talents and gain wider exposure? Nashville is already home to a vibrant and diverse music scene, so it is only fitting that we should play host to some of the nation’s best and brightest composers, and we are all incredibly excited to hear the results.”

“I am delighted to again be working closely with the terrific Nashville Symphony in my new role as director of its Composer Lab and Workshop. Giancarlo Guerrero and the orchestra show tremendous dedication to and passion for new American orchestral music through their programming and award-winning recordings,” said Kernis. “Now they are taking this next bold step, engaging with musical creativity in America by going to its source — young composers — and creating this program, which will hone young artists’ skills in writing for the most complex and glorious instrument I know: the orchestra. I look forward with pleasure to helping the Nashville Symphony find the most talented composers of the new generation.”

Supported by founding sponsor BMI, the initiative is open to U.S. residents between the ages of 18 and 33. Works will be adjudicated by a world-class panel of composers and performers, and participants will be announced by July 1, 2015. The inaugural class of composers will travel to Nashville in October 2015 for performances of their music by the GRAMMY® Award-winning Nashville Symphony.  The fellows will also work with Nashville Symphony staff, conductors, principal players and community partners, will learn from nationally recognized music industry professionals, and will participate in one-on-one mentoring sessions with Kernis.

Participating composers’ works will potentially be selected for a performance during the Symphony’s 2016/17 Classical Series. The Symphony will provide airfare, hotel accommodations and a $1,000 stipend for all participants. 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 or a fellowship at Copland House’s CULTIVATE emerging composers institute.

The Nashville Symphony is accepting submissions through May 15, 2015. The works must be no longer than 15 minutes in length and scored for a standard symphonic complement and must not have received a performance by a major orchestra with an annual budget greater than $3 million.

More information on the Nashville Symphony’s Composer Lab & Workshop, including a full listing of submission guidelines and eligibility requirements, is available online at