(NEWARK, NJ) -- The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra is accepting applications for the 2022 NJSO Edward T. Cone Composition Institute through February 18. This multifaceted, tuition-free program offers four emerging composers the opportunity to have their music performed by the NJSO and participate in in-depth sessions with industry leaders.
The Institute will take place July 17–23 in Princeton. The NJSO will present participants’ works in concert on July 23 at 8:00pm at Richardson Auditorium.
Celebrated composer Steven Mackey—a music professor and director of graduate studies in composition at Princeton University—is Institute director. Lauded conductor David Robertson, who served as music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra for 13 years, returns to the Cone Institute in 2022. Robertson was previously Institute conductor in 2016 and 2018.
The Institute is open to university composition students or composers in the early stages of their professional careers. The application form, eligibility requirements and details are available at njsymphony.org/institute.
Institute composers will hear their works in rehearsal and performance, participate in one-on-one and group coaching sessions with Mackey and Robertson, and receive musical and practical feedback from NJSO musicians. Career-development opportunities with industry leaders will provide the composers with insight into how to get their music published and performed.
“The Cone Institute is really unique,” Mackey says. “It provides a lot of time for the students to work with the orchestra. I think what separates the Cone Institute from many of its peer opportunities is its holistic vision of the composer and [the way we help] composers build their careers so their music is heard. There are sessions with industry leaders, publishers and radio stations [about practical topics] that will be important for a composer’s career.”
2017 Cone Institute composer Alyssa Weinberg says: “There’s so much value in this program. Nowhere else in my time writing have I had such an extended period of not just rehearsal time but time to workshop [a piece]. There was actually time built into [the Institute] for revisions—time to meet with [Mackey and] the conductor, make those changes and really elevate your piece to the next level. Any orchestral experience is valuable, no matter what, but this one is truly unique in how much time we have to work on our pieces in a very gradual and deliberate manner throughout the week leading up to the concert.”
Designed to enhance the careers of emerging composers and promote contemporary orchestral music, the NJSO Edward T. Cone Composition Institute grew out of biennial reading sessions the Orchestra has held with Princeton University graduate students. The Institute, which enters its eighth season in 2022, celebrates its namesake Edward T. Cone’s legacy as both a composer and a Princeton University professor.
Composers will receive housing and meals in Princeton. The NJSO will reimburse participants up to $250 towards travel costs.
The NJSO presents the institute in collaboration with Princeton University Department of Music.
The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra celebrates the cultural vibrancy of our communities and builds meaningful relationships that elevate and strengthen them. We are committed to diversity and equal opportunity in our recruitment of composers. Qualified candidates of all backgrounds are welcome and encouraged to apply for the NJSO Edward T. Cone Composition Institute.
Major underwriting support for the NJSO Edward T. Cone Composition Institute is generously provided by the Edward T. Cone Foundation and Princeton University.
The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra connects with the people and diverse communities of New Jersey through the power of live symphonic music to inspire, entertain and educate. Internationally renowned Music Director Xian Zhang has garnered critical acclaim on the podium and has deepened the NJSO’s commitment to presenting diverse voices that reflect the communities the Orchestra serves.
The NJSO embraces its legacy as a statewide orchestra through mainstage and chamber performances at venues across New Jersey, as well as partnerships with fellow Garden State arts organizations, universities and civic organizations. The Orchestra’s education and community engagement programs promote meaningful, lifelong engagement with live music.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NJSO has made virtual performances and educational online programs available for free, reaching more than 10 million people across the Orchestra’s digital channels. NJSO Concert Films pair world-class NJSO performances with stunning imagery of the people and cityscapes of New Jersey. The NJSO has presented innovative programs with fellow arts organizations, community ensembles and statewide partners. Musicians perform solo and chamber works from iconic New Jersey locations in NJSO Everywhere. NJSO at Home spotlights intimate at-home performances, instrument demonstrations, educational videos and hours of concert recordings.
The NJSO Youth Orchestras have not only continued virtual instruction but have introduced an entirely new dimension to the program. In 2020–21, nearly 200 students collaborated on a yearlong creative composition project—a uniquely engaging opportunity for students to explore their own musical voices and shape new works drawing from all the genres that inspire them. The project culminated in Our Voices, an album of 25 original compositions.
The safety of our patrons, musicians and staff is of the utmost importance to the NJSO. Please visit njsymphony.org for constantly updated details focused on attendees’ well-being at our performances.
The Orchestra’s online hub for free musical content is njsymphony.org/virtual.
PHOTO: NJSO Cone Institute conductor David Robertson. Photo by Fred Stucker