Nashville Symphony to Host Five Emerging American Composers at Inaugural Composer Lab and Workshop October 5-7

September 21, 2015

Orchestra will perform classics of the future at free public rehearsal as part of four-day ‘boot camp for composers’

Nashville, Tenn. (September 21, 2015) – Following a nationwide call for submissions and an intensive evaluation process, the Nashville Symphony has selected five promising young composers to participate in its inaugural Composer Lab and Workshop, a forward-thinking initiative designed to cultivate the next generation of great American composers.
The five composers – Jacob Bancks, Michael Laurello, Daniel Schlosberg, Gabriella Smith and Sonnet Swire – will showcase their music and take part in a comprehensive program, led by Symphony music director Giancarlo Guerrero and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Aaron Jay Kernis, educating them on every facet of working with a major American orchestra.
The program will culminate with an open rehearsal at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 6, when the GRAMMY®-winning Nashville Symphony will perform works by all five Composer Lab participants in Schermerhorn Symphony Center’s Laura Turner Concert Hall.
“This project is fueled by the Nashville Symphony’s ardent belief that we are living in a time of incredible creativity for classical music, and that Nashville is helping to lead the way,” said Guerrero,. “We are extremely excited to welcome these five talented individuals to Music City, all of whom are establishing a new voice for classical music in the 21st century.
“These energetic young artists are writing the classics of the future, and our ‘boot camp for composers’ will help them take the next step in what we believe will be promising careers in the music business.”
With support from lead sponsor BMI, the Symphony launched the Composer Lab in March with a call for submissions from American composers between the ages of 18 and 33. More than 100 scores were submitted, and the five finalists were selected by Guerrero and Kernis, who serves as the Composer Lab’s workshop director and developed a similar initiative at the Minnesota Orchestra. 
This program to identify and celebrate emerging talent is among the most comprehensive of its kind anywhere in the United States. In addition to the open rehearsal, the Composer Lab will immerse the five participants in a hands-on learning experience with workshop sessions covering key aspects of composing, performing and music industry practices, including*:
  • Reading sessions with the full Nashville Symphony orchestra;
  • Individual mentoring sessions with Guerrero and Kernis;
  • Meetings with musician  Edgar Meyer, internationally acclaimed pianist Michael Boriskin and GRAMMY® nominated composer and clarinetist Derek Bermel;
  • Group meetings with Nashville Symphony principal players to sharpen instrumental writing and Symphony sound engineers to learn about recording techniques;
  • A “Business Essentials for Composers” briefing led by Jim Kendrick of ASCAP, covering copyrights, licenses, contracts and negotiations, commissions, publishing and more.
*Some portions of the Composer Lab and Workshop will be open to members of the media. Contact Dave Felipe at 615.687.6565 or [email protected] to learn more.
As an added enhancement, Guerrero may select one or more of the composers’ works to be performed as part of the Symphony’s 2016/17 Classical Series, continuing the organization’s long-standing commitment to fostering new American orchestral music. In addition, one participating composer may be selected for a coveted residency or fellowship with Copland House, the award-winning creative center for American music based at Aaron Copland’s historic home near New York City.
The open rehearsal and performance on October 6 is free and open to the public, but seats must be reserved. Visit for tickets.
For more information on the Composer Lab and Workshop, including bios and photos of all program participants, visit