Selection Process

Monday, June 14, 2010

Orpheus Chamber Orchestra (Photo: Larry Fink at Studio 535)

We start with 60 composers. In October we will announce 4 commissions. In the meantime, we want to hear from you! Who has moved you? Whose work have you found compelling? Who would you be interested in having compose for Orpheus Chamber Orchestra's upcoming season? Let us know.

We want YOU in the decision-making process. Scroll through the composer profiles and audio. Let us know who you think Orpheus should commission and why by posting comments on the composer profiles. We will bring your ideas to the table, literally, as Orpheus goes through the selection process.

Here’s how it works:

We start with 60 composers, nominated by a panel of musicians, composers, and industry experts across the country. Then a Selection Committee—comprised of Orpheus musicians, executive staff, and previously commissioned composers—narrows down the candidates, taking your comments into account.

Round 1: 30 composers, announced August 2
Round 2: 12 composers, announced September 9
Round 3: 4 winners to be commissioned by Orpheus for the 2011-12 Season at Carnegie Hall, announced mid-October (details to come)

More in:

Comments [18]

Philipp Blume from Urbana, IL

I am disappointed that there were so few negative comments... I don't mean scathing or rude comments, just noticed a shortage of constructive criticism.

But I do think the concept is excellent and a great way to give exposure to young composers. It's great that so many listeners took the time to chime in.

I also hope the idea will be repeated and develop a 'culture' -- this is the primary way to avoid, or at least water down, the "friends leaving comments for friends" syndrome, which will never be circumvented entirely. (I am sure the narrowing of the field was not just the result of comment quantity, though! (Right?!))

I, like other commentators, would welcome the idea of making an Open Call for Scores out of this (back to the American Idol model), but that's quite expensive if you do it right (and no less 'unfair' if you don't). Doing it on a nomination basis is not to be merely dismissed as an elitist move, but frankly is a cost-cutting alternative -- better that than no commissioning contest at all. I'm in no position to criticize the make-up of the panel of nominators, as I'm too lazy to go and find out who they were.

Sep. 13 2010 04:14 PM
Rose from NJ

I would like to see Tobias Picker added to the list of possible composers. I have always loved his work and saw the performance of Emmeline out in Santa Fe in 1996

The music was lyrical, lovely and quite moving. I feel that Tobias would be a wonderful choice to compose for this special event!

Jul. 30 2010 05:39 PM
Alan Burstin from New York, NY

I particularly enjoy the piece(s) I heard from composer Cynthia Wong. My friend Larry Putterman from the Julliard School suggested that I listen to her work, and I'm really impressed !!!! I voted for her as the composer who should be commissioned to compose a new work for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra for a premiere at Carnegie Hall. Is there a recording yet of her String Quartet # 1 ?

Jul. 23 2010 07:58 AM
socrates from Oakland, CA

Boulezbian: I'm glad you mention Chicago. Count the number of New York composers on this site. Now count the number of Chicago composers on the site. You might also consider that your view of small town life is itself somewhat myopic. There are great composers living all over this country, who probably are unknown to most of the nominating panel.

Jul. 18 2010 11:56 AM
Boulezbian from Manhattan

As usual, we must endure predictable and tedious complaints about the disproportionate number of composers from the NYC area. Guess what: a lot of composers flock to NYC because NYC is a good place for composers to live, to thrive, to interact with a huge number of diverse artists, and to attend a wide range of cultural events not available in towns and smaller cities. You wouldn't disparage an LGBT person for wanting to escape his or her hometown and move to a place where there are more LGBT and LGBT-affirmative people -- like San Francisco, NYC, or Chicago -- would you? So don't disparage the huge number of composers who have chosen to move to NYC to escape the confines of small towns, academia, and myopia.

Jul. 18 2010 01:43 AM


The third video on this page tells you more about what the nominating panel might be listening for in this music:

Jul. 16 2010 10:10 AM
William from New Jersey

Is there any place on this site that it actually tells us what the rules for being considered were?

Jul. 15 2010 02:10 PM
David Saperstein

Very smart idea for a commissioning project! Wish there could be more finalists! However, I guess it does give the public a chance to hear some very fine young composers! The exposure via the WQXR website is still good exposure to the 60 composers originally chosen.

Jul. 15 2010 03:42 AM

Would like to hear more from Judd Greenstein, Cornelius Dufallo and LOVED the fresh approach of Corey Dargel. He's a way in to a younger, crossover audience.
Thank you for giving the audience a say in the process.

Jul. 07 2010 07:33 AM
Winton White from SF, CA

Wow, really!? I just listened to Wycliffe's music. It would be difficult for me to take this Project 440 seriously if they included this.

I'm not against any sub-genre of jazz so I'm no purist, but this is just downright awful that they'd choose his music just because he's a big name.

Jul. 01 2010 08:36 PM
Winton White from SF, CA

Adding to this issue that is common throughout most competitions...........why is Wycliffe Gordon on here!? He doesn't need any more recognition.

Jul. 01 2010 08:16 PM
scotty10 from Boston. MA

against my initial nepostitic judgement I am moved enough by above comments to add my voice to the plaint that the decision process is arbitrary and biased...if we played 1 of the 60 composers a week we would have enough for a full year of progressive music....who do 4 out of 60 represent?
I don't think this is the music talking but other non-music factors

Jun. 23 2010 11:16 PM
socrates from Oakland, CA

Kate is right, as is William Bolcom (see the comment on James Lee's page). Beata Moon was a good suggestion. How about Roger Zare, Erin Gee, Ryan Carter, etc.? I could list several dozen more emerging composers who are at least as talented as many of the people who were nominated. I also agree with RichardMitnick....

Jun. 22 2010 10:42 PM
Kate from New York, NY

Like so many endeavors of this sort, this competition is riddled with politics and nepotism. From the nominating panelists being clients of Orpheus's publicist to the composers being girlfriends, close friends, and students of the nominating panelists, this whole thing is a pageant of connections. For sure there are some talented and deserving composers here, but by no stretch of the imagination is this a fair, objective, merit-based assembly of today's most promising young composers.

Jun. 22 2010 10:57 AM
Lanny Meyers from 20175 Leesburg, VA

Would like to recommend composer BEATA MOON for your commissioning process. Thank you.

Jun. 22 2010 09:29 AM
socrates from Oakland, CA

I can understand why you thought this was a good idea – and you have some great composers here – BUT:

1) The only way to make sure good composers don't "fall through the cracks" is to open it up to everyone who wants a commission -- why limit it to 60? And, in having 60 finalists, you will have publicized the names of 56 composers who didn’t make the cut.

2) The comments are almost entirely from friends of the composers. I think you just have a popularity contest on your hands. In any case, composers with many comments are those who were enterprising enough to tell their friends to post.

3) Most of the panel is from New York, so a large percentage of the composers are from New York. About a quarter are former students of panel members. Even assuming the panelists made a good faith effort to be objective, the nominating process still effectively selects composers who are (for lack of a better term) well-connected.

4) Likewise, all of the panelists live in the US, so almost all of the composers live in the US. On the other hand, why not limit your selection to composers living in the US? (Sorry to name names but: why nominate Donnacha Dennehy?)

Jun. 22 2010 01:01 AM

Too bad you can't just commission all 60 composers. There's something discomforting about setting 60 earnest hopeful 'emerging' composers against each other - when really we and they would all like to just build support for new classical music and increase the audience, and the opportunities for everyone.

Jun. 20 2010 02:19 AM
tatyana Dudochkin from boston MA

Cynthia Wong is a great Talent and hope of 21 century!

Jun. 19 2010 10:23 PM

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