Young Composers Initiative
With leadership from CSO Mead Composer-in-Residence Jessie Montgomery, the Young Composers Initiative engages youth from across the Chicago region and empowers them to create new pieces of chamber music.
Applications are now open for the 2023/24 Season. With Jessie Montgomery’s mentorship, selected composers will workshop new pieces of chamber music throughout the year, culminating in a performance by musicians of the Civic Orchestra at Symphony Center on May 31, 2024.
The YCI is open to composers of all abilities and experience levels who have not yet completed their senior year of high school and reside in the City of Chicago or a Chicago suburb. Previous Young Composer Initiative participants are welcome to reapply.
Attendance on the dates below is required and we encourage you to include any known conflicts in your application. On coaching days, participants will have one-on-one instruction time with Jessie either in-person or via Zoom. These lessons typically last approximately one hour and will occur during the time block held on each “Coaching Day”. A specific schedule for coaching will be determined once program participants are selected.
Wednesday, August 23, 12:00pm - Application Opens
Friday, September 29, 5:00pm - Application Deadline
Friday, October 13 - Applicants Result Notification
Saturday, October 28, 10:30am-4:30pm - Coaching Day
Saturday, November 18, 10:30am-4:30pm - Coaching Day
Saturday, December 16, 10:30am-4:30pm - Practicum/Methods with Civic musicians, composers, & Jessie
Saturday, February 24, 10:30am-4:30pm - Coaching Day
Saturday, March 9, 10:30am-5:30pm - Coaching Day
Saturday, April 13, 10:30am-4:30pm - Coaching Day
Saturday, May 11, 10:30am-4:30pm - Coaching Day – Composition and parts finalized
Tuesday, May 28, 4:00pm -7:00pm - Rehearsal with Civic musicians, composer, & Jessie
Friday, May 31, 4:00pm-6:00pm - Sound Check/Dress, 7:00pm Concert
How to apply
Applicants must submit the following materials by Friday, September 29 through the online form below. Applications that do not follow instructions or meet eligibility requirements will not be considered.
1. Cover Letter
A one-page cover letter written by the composer that describes a) their compositional background, b) a statement about why they would like to participate in this program, and c) a summary of the piece they would like to workshop or create as part of the YCI.
2. Work Samples
You have two options when submitting work samples.
Option 1: Submit work samples A and B (optional).
If you are submitting a preexisting composition.
Option 2: Submit work samples C and D.
If you are new to composition.
A. A piece of chamber music or a solo written by the applicant. Please include both the score and parts in (1) PDF.
Work samples must be chamber music for up to six players or solo works using instruments from this list:
Flute (optional doubling piccolo), Oboe (optional doubling English horn), Clarinet (optional doubling bass clarinet), Bassoon (optional doubling contrabassoon), Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Tuba, Percussion (1 player), Piano, Electronics (does not need to count toward the maximum ensemble of six), Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass
Pieces may be up to six minutes in length.
B. (Optional) File or link to a recording of your composition.
C. If you are new to composing and have yet to compose a piece of music, please submit a video (file or link) that best demonstrates your artistic capabilities on your instrument. For example, a video of a recital or informal performance and a list of music you enjoy.
D. A list of music you enjoy.
3. Letter of Recommendation
A letter of recommendation from a teacher.
4. Proof of Residency
Proof of residency in the City of Chicago or a Chicago suburb. A photo of a state/school-issued ID, or a piece of mail is sufficient.
There is no fee to apply.
If you have any questions, please send an email to email@example.com.
2022/23 Young Composers Initiative Participants
The Young Composers Initiative is generously supported by Margo and Mike Oberman.