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Call for Scores: First Annual Historically Excluded Composers Competition

Opens: April 1, 2023
Deadline: May 31, 2023

The Boston New Music Initiative is pleased to announce its first annual Historically Excluded Composers’ Competition. The purpose of this competition is to further the mission of The Boston New Music Initiative to generate and celebrate the creation of new music. Incorporated in 2010, BNMI aims to advance the careers of its members in the field of new music by serving as a resource for networking, professional development, commissioning, collaboration, and programming. The call is open for acoustic, electro-acoustic, and multimedia works of any style. Any composer who identifies as a member of any of the categories explained below is eligible to enter. Composers currently or formerly on the staff of The Boston New Music Initiative are ineligible to apply. Submitted works should be an instrumental work including at least one instrument from BNMI’s core ensemble (see below) or an acousmatic work.

The winner in each category of this competition will have their work performed by The Boston New Music Initiative during the 2023-2024 concert season and will receive $250. The composer is encouraged, but not required, to attend the performance if possible.

We strongly encourage all composers to download and review the BNMI Submission Guide ahead of submitting to this competition.


You may only choose one category for submission. If you identify as more than one of these categories, please submit in the highest number category, and note in your information sheet for which other categories you are applying.

Category 1 - Historically Excluded Gender - This category is open to historically excluded genders, which includes cis-gendered women and any transgender or genderqueer individuals.

Category 2 - Historically Excluded Race or Ethnicity - This category is open to any person identifying (all or in part) as Black, Indigenous (from the Americas), Asian (including the Middle East), Pacific Islander, Hispanic, Chicano or Latino.

Category 3 - Historically Excluded Circumstances - This category is open to any person who:

  • Is a primary caretaker for a dependent (child, elderly or disabled). A primary caretaker is defined as someone that spends more than 30 hours per week as a caretaker and cannot be replaced except through the help of a paid individual.
  • Has a disability. An individual with a disability is a person who has an impairment that substantially limits major life activities.


  1. Instrumentation. BNMI’s core ensemble consists of Flute (doubling Piccolo, Alto Flute or Bass Flute), Clarinet in B-flat (doubling Clarinet in A, or Bass Clarinet in B-flat), Violin, Violoncello, Piano, Soprano, Mezzo-Soprano and Percussion. Percussion instruments for this call should be limited to smaller, more portable instruments. Works may not include marimba, timpani, tubular bells, full size bass drum, celesta or harp. Stereo electronic, electroacoustic, or multimedia works are accepted, but at least one live performer must be used (no fixed-media). Recommended additional instruments: Soprano, Violin 2, Viola, Double Bass, Saxophone. Works including more than one instrument outside of BNMI’s core ensemble may be asked to re-orchestrate.
  2. Duration. Works can be of any duration, although instrumental works which are longer than 10 minutes may be excerpted for performance.
  3. Multimedia. For all multimedia submissions, composers must either indicate that they have the rights to the specific multimedia element to be used (e.g. the film, tape, MAX/MSP patch, choreography, artwork, etc.) and grant BNMI permission to utilize it during performance, or else grant BNMI permission, at its discretion, to create a multimedia element. In the second case, BNMI reserves the right to incorporate or not to incorporate multimedia elements at its sole discretion.
  4. Electronics. Scores of works involving electronic elements must include information on the specific technical requirements for performance. Likewise, multimedia works must indicate any extramusical forces needed. Works utilizing excessive electronic equipment may not be able to be programmed unless the composer can provide equipment.
  5. Number of Entries. There is no limit on the number of works a composer may submit; however, each work should be submitted as a separate entry. Multi-movement works should be submitted as single entries, even if movements are in separate files. (The submission process allows for multiple files per entry.)
  6. Anonymity. All submissions must be anonymous. Scores or other materials with names or other identifying marks will not be considered. Please remove all identifying marks from all materials (except the composer information page, see submission process below) before submitting. Please make sure no metadata including names or identifying marks remain in submitted files. Please do not use a pseudonym or code number, simply remove your name.
  7. Membership. Composers wishing to submit scores must become members of BNMI; Whisper in Your Ear membership is free and Shout It Out Membership is $25 a year. Information on membership benefits can be found here.
  8. File Formats. The only acceptable file formats are:
    • For the score: .pdf
    • For (optional) audio recordings: .mp3 or .m4a
    • For video: .mov or .m4v
    • All other materials: .doc, .docx, .txt, .rtf, .odt, or .pdf
  9. Delivery of Music. Selected composers are required to provide electronic copies of the full score and parts within four (4) weeks of their notification of selection. If electronics or multimedia are involved, all files required for performance and rehearsal must be submitted within the same time frame.
  10. Permission for Use. By submitting to this call, the composer gives permission to record audio and video of any and all concerts and events hosted by or associated with BNMI in which the submitted piece is included. BNMI shall possess ownership of recorded audio and video and maintains the right to publicly distribute audio and video for promotional purposes. BNMI shall not publicly distribute the recording of any performance for financial gain.
  11. Accessibility. We realize that our submission portal may not be accessible for all persons with a disability. If you are unable to use our submission portal because of your disabililty, please e-mail us at and give us just your name, and that you intend to apply. We will then assist you on submitting your materials anonymously.
  12. Questions? Please address any questions to Note: Please do NOT send submission materials to this email address as the materials cannot be submitted using this method. When submitting inquiries, please be as generic as possible, and do not include the title of your piece in the query in order to preserve anonymity.

Submission Process

Composers are asked to use our submission portal to upload the following materials (each as separate documents). If this is your first time submitting, please review our submission guide prior to starting the submission process.

  1. An anonymous PDF file of the score.
  2. A recording of the work (not required but encouraged)
  3. For works using electronics, a detailed description of technical requirements and processes needed (i.e. a “tech rider”).
  4. An entry fee for each submission.  The entry fee for this competition is $5 for Whisper In Your Ear Members, and no fee for Shout It Out Members. Membership information can be found here.
  5. An information sheet containing the following:
    1. Composer’s contact information (name, phone number, physical mailing address, email address, and website URL, if any)
    2. Title, instrumentation, and duration of the work
    3. Category (or Categories) for which you are applying.
    4. Work’s date of completion and complete performance history
    5. Performing rights organization (ASCAP, BMI, etc.) associated with the work and/or composer, if any
    6. Composer’s year of birth (for program information)
    7. Composer biography and program notes for the work (maximum 300 words each), to be used if the work is selected.  BNMI reserves the right to truncate the program notes or composer biography if either exceeds the word limit.

To Apply:

Please click the submit button at the bottom of the page.

We strongly encourage all composers to download and review the BNMI Submission Guide ahead of submitting to this competition.

Helpful Hints:

  1. Please note that new memberships may take up to 24 hours to be approved (although usually much less). Composers signing up as new members who wish to submit to this competition should be sure to allot enough time for the approval process to complete in order to meet the May 31 deadline.
  2. The submission portal is not available without login credentials. Composers who are not existing BNMI members should not attempt to go to the submission portal without submitting a membership application first: in order to create login credentials.
  3. Once your files have been added for each work, be sure to complete your payment in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen. Shout It Out members must have dues paid in full in order to receive membership benefits, including discounts on Calls for Scores and commissioning competitions. For those composers submitting more than one entry, payment should be made only after ALL entries have been completed.
  4. More questions? Please see our submission guide.

Click here to submit.

©#### The Boston New Music Initiative, Inc.
P.O. Box 454, Burlington, MA 01803