Please join us in congratulating Josiah Tayaq Catalan, 2021 SF Search for Scores awardee.

Josiah Tayaq Catalan

Josiah Tayaq Catalan

Thank you to everyone who submitted a score. The application period is now closed. Please check back next year for another call for scores. 

Application deadline: November 15, 2020

San Francisco Contemporary Music Players
announces the SF Search for Scores and Education Program 2021

The San Francisco Contemporary Music Players (SFCMP) and Eric Dudley, Artistic Director, are pleased to invite applications for SF Search for Scores 2021. 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 10, 2021, plus an archival recording.

For this year’s search, composers are invited to consider the work and influence of Olly Wilson as inspiration, especially the pieces Echoes (1974) for solo clarinet and tape and A City Called Heaven (1988) for septet 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, trumpet, trombone, percussion (see score criteria requirements), piano, harp, violin, viola, cello, and/or double bass, all with or without electronics. The commissioned score is due by February 28, 2021. 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 on Friday, March 12, 2021 from 3:00 – 4:00pm Pacific Time. At this session, the composer’s piece will be read by the performer with feedback from the musician and panel: Artistic Director Eric Dudley, and Bay Area composer Michael Gilbertson. The winning work will be dress-rehearsed and performed on Saturday, April 10, 2021 as part of our subscription series concerts at ODC Theater in the Mission District of San Francisco.


Olly Wilson’s richly varied musical background includes not only the traditional composition and academic disciplines, but also his professional experience as a jazz and orchestral musician, work in electronic media, and studies of African music in West Africa itself. His catalogue includes orchestral and chamber works, as well as works for electronic media. His compositions entitled Echoes (1974) and A City Called Heaven (1988) are prime examples of his adventurous use of instrumental and sonic resources and genre-spanning stylistic language that will be featured on SFCMP’s 2021 ‘at the CROSSROADS’ program.


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 to the adventurous and cross-genre efforts embodied by a figure like Olly Wilson.


  1. Any composers who are currently enrolled in an academic program of study in composition
  2. Any composers with a permanent address in the United States 
  3. Able to submit a final score by February 28, 2021. 
  4. Able to attend an online workshop and reading session on Friday, March 12, 2021 from 3:00 – 4:00 pm Pacific Time.
  5. Optionally, those who are able to be present at the dress rehearsal at ODC Dance Commons, San Francisco, CA from 1:30-2:00pm and at the concert at 8pm, both on April 10, 2021 at the ODC Dance Commons in San Francisco, CA


By November 15, 2020 Pacific Time. The winning composer will be notified by early December, 2020.


The application will ask for links to the items in the list below. To create the links, we recommend using Google Drive, Dropbox, or any secure file-sharing platform. Please have these items ready before you apply.

  1. There is a nominal application fee of $10 payable by debit or credit card. If you do not have one of these cards, contact us at the address below.
  2. 2-3 scores of varying instrumentation, at least one should be for solo instrument (in PDF format)
  3. Audio or video file, if available (link to MP3 or hosted audio/video file)
  4. Narrative see submission overview section above (200 -700 words)(in PDF format)
  5. One high-resolution image (does not have to be a formal headshot, but does have to be high resolution (min 72dpi) (in JPG format)
  6. Composer bio (max 200 words)(in PDF format)

Please note, the application period is now closed. Please check back next year for another call for scores. 

For questions about this application please contact Lisa Oman, Executive 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.


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