San Francisco Contemporary Music Players announces the SF Search for Scores and Education Program 2022
Application deadline: December 1, 2021

The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players (SFCMP) and Eric Dudley, Artistic Director, are pleased to invite applications for SF Search for Scores 2022. All composers currently enrolled in an academic program of study in composition are invited to submit an application. The winning composer will receive a $1,000 commission to write a new piece for solo instrument, along with a private score reading and feedback session with the Contemporary Players and SF Search panelists, a premiere of the commissioned work on our ‘at the CROSSROADS’ series concert held in San Francisco on April 2, 2022, plus an archival recording.

For this year’s search, composers are invited to consider the work and influence of Sofia Gubaidulina as inspiration, especially the pieces Dancer on a Tightrope (1993) for violin & piano and In the Garden of Joys and Sorrows (1980) for flute, viola, & harp that will be included on the April program.

To apply, each composer is asked to submit 2-3 scores of varying instrumentation with accompanying audio or video recording, at least one of which should be a piece for a solo instrument. The winning composer will be commissioned to write a piece between seven and ten minutes in length for a solo instrument chosen from within the following instrumentation on the concert program: flute, oboe, clarinet, trombone, harp, violin, viola, cello, or double bass, all with or without electronics. The commissioned score is due by February 28, 2022. Inclusion of electronics in the commissioned piece is dependent on the availability of equipment, and the winning composer should consult with the artistic staff as to the range of feasible options. In certain cases where technical specialization is required, the composer may be asked to run their own electronics.

Additionally, the selected composer will have the opportunity to participate in an online workshop session and panel, to be scheduled roughly one month before the performance. At this session, the composer and performer have the opportunity to workshop the piece together, with the participation and feedback of Artistic Director Eric Dudley, and Bay Area composer Michael Gilbertson. The winning work will be dress-rehearsed and performed on Saturday, April 2, 2022 as part of our subscription series concerts at ODC Theater in the Mission District of San Francisco.


Sofia Gubaidulina is a Tatar-Russian composer and an established international figure. Major orchestras around the world have commissioned and performed her works. She is considered one of the foremost Russian composers of the second half of the 20th century. Dancer on a Tightrope (1993) for violin & piano and In the Garden of Joys and Sorrows (1980) for flute, viola, & harp are prime examples of her fusing of Russian and Central Asian regional styles with the Western classical tradition.


Applicants apply by submitting completed scores (2-3) along with a short written narrative about the motivation or inspiring factors behind each submitted piece. Above all, the judges are seeking to identify a unique contemporary musical voice that responds in some way to the adventurousness and richly evocative imaginings embodied by a figure like Sofia Gubaidulina.


  • Any composers who are currently enrolled in an academic program of study in composition.
  • Any composers with a permanent address in the United States.
  • Able to submit a final score by February 28, 2022.
  • Able to attend an online workshop and reading session approximately one month prior to the performance.

Optionally, those who are able to be present at the afternoon dress rehearsal and 8pm concert, both on April 2, 2022 at the ODC Dance Commons in San Francisco, CA (not required).


By December 1, 2021. The winning composer will be notified by the end of December, 2021.


Please send the following materials in a single email to For file sharing, we recommend creating links with Google Drive, Dropbox, or any secure file-sharing platform. Please include in your application email:

  • 2-3 scores of varying instrumentation, with at least one for solo instrument (in PDF format)
  • Audio or video files, if available (link to MP3 or hosted audio/video files)
  • Narrative: see submission overview section above (200 -700 words; in PDF format)
  • One high-resolution image (does not have to be a formal headshot, but does have to be high resolution (min 72dpi; in JPG format)
  • Composer bio (max 200 words; in PDF format)

For questions about this application please contact Richard Aldag, Interim Executive Director at director[at]



Are there available doublings?

Yes, if the playing of the two instruments is by a single player.

How comfortable are the players with alternate tunings?

If the score contains alternate tunings, the panel would like to see the score before submitting it.

Can the commissioned piece include electronics?

Yes. However, SFCMP has limited equipment and staff availability to facilitate electronics in rehearsal and performance. In instances where technical specialization is required, the composer may be asked to run their electronics themselves. For the dress-rehearsal and performance, you will be limited to stereo (2-channel) disposition. Video components will not be possible.


San Francisco Contemporary Music Players is the West Coast’s most longstanding and largest new music ensemble, comprised of twenty-two highly skilled musicians. For 50 years, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players have created innovative and artistically excellent music and are one of the most active ensembles in the United States dedicated to contemporary music. Holding an important role in the regional and national cultural landscape, the Contemporary Music Players are a 2018 awardee of the esteemed Fromm Foundation Ensemble Prize, and a ten-time winner of the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming. The Players have performed more than 1,200 works by over 600 composers; over 250 of these performances have been premieres, and the organization has commissioned over 90 major works including pieces from composers such as John Adams, John Cage, Earle Brown, Olly Wilson, Michael Gordon, Du Yun, Myra Melford, and Julia Wolfe. The Contemporary Players have been presented by leading cultural festivals and concert series including San Francisco Performances, Los Angeles Monday Evening Concerts, Cal Performances, the Stern Grove Festival, the Festival of New American Music at CSU Sacramento, the Ojai Festival, and France’s prestigious MANCA Festival. The Contemporary Music Players nourish the creation and dissemination of new works through world-class performances, commissions, and community and education programs. The Players perform the music of composers from across cultures and stylistic traditions who are creating a vast and vital 21st-century musical language featuring the work of iconic and emerging composers while shining a spotlight on works for large ensemble and California artists.


Josiah Tayaq Catalan, 2021
Taylor Joshua Rankin, 2020
Wyatt Cannon, 2019
Adam Strawbridge, 2019
Nathan Chamberlain, 2018
John Ivers, 2018
Danny Clay, 2018
Michelle Zheng, 2017
Roger Kim, 2017
Ben Zucker, 2017