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CUSO Music Alive Composers Institute


Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra
Music Alive Composers Institute: February 22–23, 2019

REGISTRATION DEADLINE:  January 28, 2019, at 5:00 p.m.

Optional Call for Scores Entries Due: December 3, 2018, at 5:00 p.m. 


In partnership with New Music USA and Music Alive to promote the creation and performance of new music and the mentoring of composers, the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra will host a Composers Institute in Champaign, Illinois, on February 22 and 23, 2019. CUSO Music Director and Conductor Stephen Alltop, and Music Alive Composer-in-Residence Stacy Garrop invite college-level composing students and recently graduated composers who live within a 200-mile radius of Champaign-Urbana to participate. Enrollment is limited to a total of forty students. There is no fee to attend.

Educational Goals

The goal of the Composers Institute is to give composers the skill sets and information needed to prepare for a professional composing career. Dr. Stacy Garrop, a nationally recognized composer and educator, will lead workshops on music business basics for composers, how to craft a multipronged online professional presence, and strategies for composing and dealing with writer’s block. Additional sessions will include a seminar with both Dr. Alltop and Dr. Garrop discussing how to navigate the relationship between conductors and composers, and in-depth workshops with CUSO harp and percussion principals on composing effectively for their instruments within an orchestral setting.

The Institute also includes optional participation in a Call for Scores, and invites interested composers to submit works of 3 to 10 minutes, which will be reviewed by Dr. Garrop and Dr. Alltop. The Institute will culminate in a reading session of two to four chosen works, workshopped by the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra. Composers will receive archival audio recordings of the reading session of their work. All Institute participants are expected to attend the reading session and it will also be open to the public.


The Composers Institute is open to students who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program (composition or performance students who compose), or composers who have graduated from such a program within the past two years, who are residents of Champaign-Urbana and the region that spans a 200-mile radius of Champaign, Illinois.

There is no fee to attend, nor any qualification or adjudication process for composers. To register, download the complete Music Alive Composers Institute Information and Registration Packet. Registrations must be received by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, January 28, 2019. Enrollment is limited to a total of forty students for each day. Composers who register for both days will be given priority on a first-come, first-served basis. One-day registrations will then be accepted for any available spaces and processed in registration-date order.

Call for Scores—Reading Session Submissions

Composers who wish to participate in the Call for Scores may submit a piece to be considered for the Composers Institute Reading Session on Saturday, February 23. Please see the Reading Session entry guidelines and the Reading Session Entry Form and Registration on pages 6 and 7 of the Music Alive Composers Institute Information and Registration Packet. The completed Reading Session Entry Form and Registration and the PDF of your full score must be received by 5:00 p.m. on December 3, 2018. Incomplete or late submissions will not be considered.

There is a section on the Entry Form that allows composers to indicate if they plan to attend the Composers Institute if their piece is not selected for the reading session. All composers whose pieces are being workshopped in the Reading Session are required to attend both days of the Institute. Hotel accommodations will be provided for the two to four chosen composers whose works will be read. CUSO Music Alive Composer-in-Residence Dr. Stacy Garrop will mentor the composers in January/February 2019 via Skype sessions to prepare their scores for the reading session.

Friday & Saturday, February 22–23, 2019
I Hotel and Conference Center
1900 S. First Street, Champaign, IL


Dr. Garrop’s Craft Your Career Workshop Series

1:00–2:00 p.m.: Strategies for Composing
2:30–3:30 p.m.: Maximizing Your Digital Presence
4:00–5:30 p.m.: Business Basics for Composers

CUSO Workshops and Reading Session

10:00–11:00 a.m.: Orchestral Writing for the Harp
Workshop with CUSO Principal Harp, Molly Madden

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: LUNCH & DISCUSSION Navigating the Conductor/Composer Relationship
Workshop with CUSO Conductor Stephen Alltop and Composer Stacy Garrop

1:00–3:30 p.m.: Reading Session with CUSO, Stephen Alltop, and Composer Stacy Garrop
Two to four chosen works will be workshopped, with feedback given by Dr. Alltop, Dr. Garrop, and CUSO musicians. The public will be invited to attend the workshop to observe the creative process. The Reading Session will contain a 15-minute Q&A with the audience, our chosen composers, Dr. Alltop, and Dr. Garrop.

4:00–5:00 p.m.: Orchestral Writing for Percussion
Workshop with CUSO Principals Ricardo Flores, Percussion, and William Moersch, Timpani


The CUSO Music Alive Composers Institute with composer Dr. Stacy Garrop is made possible through Music Alive, a residency program of the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA. Major funding for Music Alive comes from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with additional support from The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Amphion Foundation, The ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund, the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trusts, and the National Endowment for the Arts.