California Symphony Now Accepting Applications for Composer-in-Residence Program

WALNUT CREEK, CA (August 1, 2016) - California Symphony and Music Director Donato Cabrera are now accepting composer applications for the orchestra's respected, intensely competitive Young American Composer-in-Residence program, for the period from August 1, 2017 through July 31, 2020. The Young American Composer-In-Residence program, launched in 1991, gives outstanding, emerging, young American composers a unique opportunity to write orchestral music while working with a professional orchestra and conductor, over a three-year period.

The orchestra's Young American Composer-in-Residence program, which has produced 34 new symphonic works, is distinctive from all other programs of its type. The selected composer must pass two blind audition rounds. The composer can take advantage of reading rehearsals and study recordings of his/her work during the composition process. The composer, conductor, and orchestra become partners in the creation of the work, and share their experience and insights as the composition develops. "The California Symphony's Young American Composer-in-Residence program is a way for an emerging composer to work with an orchestra and conductor on music that will eventually become a piece that is commissioned by the California Symphony, and performed at the end of the year," Cabrera explained.

"The California Symphony has one of the most outstanding composer-in-residence programs in the country," said former Young American Composer-in-Residence Mason Bates, one of today's most acclaimed, frequently performed, and commissioned composers, who went on to receive composer residencies at Chicago Symphony and the Kennedy Center. "They have this orchestra-as-laboratory idea, and they let the composer work in ways that almost never happen anywhere else."

The Young American Composer-in-Residence receives a commission fee of $10,000 for each work; three world premiere performances, one of each new work, in Walnut Creek in the spring of 2018, 2019 and 2020; and up to three recorded rehearsal readings of each work before it premieres. The orchestra also provides accommodations and airfare during one on-site reading rehearsal, and during the weeks each new work is premiered.

Working and talking with Music Director Donato Cabrera and the California Symphony musicians, and the Symphony's Board of Directors and staff, gives the composer an opportunity to develop his/her music in a collaborative and creative atmosphere. Visits to local middle and high schools to inspire and enlighten young people about the art of composing, pre-concert talks, receptions and events with symphony board members, and being involved in the search for a young composer for the next residency provide beneficial professional growth opportunities.

Dan Visconti is the California Symphony's current Young American Composer-in-Residence. Visconti studied at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Yale School of Music. In addition to his appointment as California Symphony's Young American Composer in Residence, Visconti serves as composer and Director of Artistic Programming at Chicago's Fifth House Ensemble. He received the Rome Prize and Berlin Prize, among others. Two of Visconti's three commissioned orchestral works, Breakdown (2015) and Living Language (2016), have been premiered by Cabrera and the California Symphony, and a third, Tangle Eye, a concerto for cello and orchestra, will be performed in Walnut Creek in May 2017 with Israeli-American Inbal Segev, a devoted advocate for new music, as soloist.

"The California Symphony's Young American Composer-in-Residence program is truly unique among such programs in the country," said Dan Visconti. "First of all, it's really rare for professional orchestras to even have a Composer-in-Residence position. And by providing three consecutive years for a composer to really build a relationship and a rapport with the orchestra administration and musicians, the program allows a certain level of development that's really unique. Over three years, I composed three new pieces, and have had a chance to workshop each one."

"My involvement with the California Symphony was literally the defining opportunity in my career," said Christopher Theofanidis, the Symphony's second YACR (1994-96) who went on to win the 2003 International Masterprize Competition. "This is a program with very long-range goals, and will cultivate a generation of composers."

Since the residency was established in 1991, seven talented Americans have completed the program: D. J. Sparr (2011-14); Mason Bates (2007-10), Kevin Beavers (2002-05); Pierre Jalbert (1999-2002), also composer in residence at Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and a winner of the Rome Prize in Composition; Kevin Puts (1996-99), winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music and the Rome Prize; Christopher Theofanidis (1994-96); a Rome Prize winner; and Kamran Ince (1991-92), Rome Prize winner. Dan Visconti's residency ends in 2017. Past judges for the program include composers John Adams and Mason Bates.

The California Symphony is distinguished for its concert programs that combine classics alongside American repertoire and lesser-known works, its nationally recognized education programs, and for bringing music to people in new and unconventional settings. The orchestra celebrates its 30th season in 2016-17, with a year of special programming that highlights music written by a Young American Composer-in-Residence program alumnus on each of its six concerts at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek. Throughout its 30-year history, the Orchestra has made American repertoire its special focus, nurturing and commissioning work from emerging American composers as well as performing the most revered core classical repertoire.

The orchestra is entering its fourth season with Music Director Donato Cabrera, and is comprised of musicians who have performed with the orchestras of the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Opera, San Francisco Ballet, and others. California Symphony has launched the careers of some of today's most-performed composers and soloists, including violinist Sarah Chang, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, and the aforementioned composers. The orchestra is expanding its regional base in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, and performed concerts in three new venues in 2015-16. Donato Cabrera has been the Music Director and Conductor for the California Symphony since 2013. He recently stepped down as Resident Conductor of the San Francisco Symphony and the Wattis Foundation Music Director of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra, where he had served since 2009, to meet the demands of a thriving international conducting career. In 2014, Cabrera was appointed Music Director of the Las Vegas Philharmonic Orchestra. For more information, please visit and

To apply for the residency, please visit Applicants will need a résumé, including a list of repertoire and three professional references; proof of U.S. citizenship; at least three scores from within the last three years that represent a cross section of work; up to three audio recordings of an original composition; a list of compositions and any awards received, and a $50 non-refundable application fee. The application deadline is October 31, 2016. A selection will be made on or before February 1, 2017.

To watch a video about the Young American Composer in Residence program:

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