About the Symposium


A Community of Artists
Co-Creation & Collaboration
Performances of Music by All Participants
Affordability & Accessibility

New Sound Worlds 2018: This summer, the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium (OBFCS) will celebrate its 25th anniversary by offering you a host of opportunities for creative engagement, music-making, and collaboration:

Performances (professionally recorded) of music by symposium composers performed by Sound of Late (ensemble-in-residence), our roster of guest artists, and the American Creators Ensemble (ACE), which includes all composer/performers and performers who are participants in the symposium. Apply as a “Composer/Performer” (Category II), “Composer” (Category I), “Performer” (Category III), “Conductor” (Category IV), or “Ensemble Applicant,” (Category VIII) which is a special category for ensembles that wish to apply. Please note that the members of ensembles must also apply as individual performers (Category III) or composer/performers (Category II).

Perform in the symposium’s resident ensemble, The American Creators Ensemble (ACE), which will play music by participants throughout the entire symposium in the “New Sound Worlds” Series, the “Performers Showcase” Concert Series, and the “Wild Nights Cafes” Series. Apply as a “Performer” (Category III), “Composer/Performer” (Category II), “Conductor” (Category IV), or “Ensemble Applicant” (Category VIII).

Apply as a Pre-existing Ensemble—In addition to applications from individuals, we also welcome pre-existing ensembles to apply and to fully participate in the symposium in as many categories as they wish. If you apply as an ensemble, you must also apply as an individual, so please be sure to apply as both a “Performer” (Category III) and as an Ensemble Applicant (Category VIII). Your ensemble will be given many opportunities to perform, and/or to compose and perform (including improvise, if you wish) throughout the symposium!

Sessions with composers-in-residenceMartin Bresnick, Richard Danielpour, Robert Kyr (symposium director), and Philip Glass (including two concerts and a special discussion session with symposium participants, as part of “Symposium Plus” only).

A roster of nationally and internationally renowned guest artists—Numerous concerts and mentored rehearsals will be given by our highly acclaimed guest artists: Lisa Moore, piano; Molly Barth, flute; James Shields, clarinet; David Felberg, violin; Nancy Ives, cello; Pius Cheung, percussion; Eriko Daimo, percussion. Featuring a special session (with discussion) given by Martin Bresnick, composer-in-residence, and Lisa Moore, pianist, in which they discuss their artistic and professional life as collaborators, and their co-creative approach to collaboration.

OBFCS Vocal Fellows Program with Grammy-winning soprano Estelí Gomez, mentor and director of the program, including opportunities for OBFCS composers to receive multiple performances of their new or previously composed vocal music. Apply as a “Performer” (Category III) and indicate “OBFCS Vocal Fellows Program.” For composers, please indicate your interest in this program by applying for “Composer/Performer” (Category II) or “Composer” (Category I) and indicating OBFCS Vocal Fellows Program.

Intercultural Composition & Performance: The Society for New Korean Music—concerts, lectures, master classes, and presentations given by The Society for New Korean Music, seven prominent composers and renowned performers from South Korea, including an opportunity for five OBFCS participants to compose chamber works for traditional Korean and Western instruments. Apply as a “Composer/Performer” (Category II), or “Composer” (Category I), or “Performer” (Category III) and indicate the “Intercultural Composition” option.

Private Sessions & Public Master Classes with Three Korean Master MusiciansSumi Kim (Pansori Singer), Eunil Kang (Haegum Player), and Yunjeong Heo (Geomungo Player). If you are a Pansori Singer, Haegum Player, or a Geomungo Player, then apply for a private session and master class under “Performer” (Category III).

Composers Film Festival—Films and/or videos that participants have previously scored will be presented at our Composers Film Festival during the symposium, and feedback will be received in discussions immediately following each screening. Apply as a “Composer/Performer” (Category II) or “Composer” (Category I), and indicate “Composers Film Festival.”

Balinese Gamelan: Intercultural Performance and Composition—you may choose to participate as a member of our OBFCS Gamelan, which will give you the opportunity to compose and perform music for Balinese Gamelan that will be premiered at our closing concert! (No previous experience necessary.) Apply for “Gamelan” (Category VI).

Improvisation, Graphic Scores & Experimental Music—you may choose to participate in the OBFCS Improvisation Ensemble, which will give you an opportunity to improvise and perform graphic scores during our ever popular “Wild Nights Cafes,” which take place during the final four evenings of the symposium. Apply for “Improvisation” (Category V.)

A Professional Development Session given by a panel of our guest artists and composers-in-residence.

Participate in as many categories as you wish: Please note that applicants may participate in as many categories of the symposium as they wish with no supplemental tuition charge beyond the basic cost of the program that you choose: either the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium (OBFCS), the OBFCS Vocal Fellows Program, or the “Symposium Plus” (the entire symposium PLUS July 9-12 featuring Philip Glass).

A Community of Artists & ACE: All composer/performers, performers (instrumentalists, vocalists, and ensemble applicants), and conductors will be members of the symposium’s American Creators Ensemble (ACE), which performs music by participants in our three principal venues: “Performers Showcase” Concert Series; “New Sound Worlds” Series; and “Wild Nights Cafe” Concert Series. When possible, our guest artists will mentor ACE performers, either in rehearsal or as members of ensembles that include ACE performers. Please note: All composers are strongly encouraged to apply as “composer/ performers.”

Affordability & Accessibility: As in the past, we have kept tuition extremely low, and for on-site accommodations, we offer a room-and-board package in the newest living facility at the University of Oregon, the celebrated Kalapuya Illihi Hall, which is an easy walk to the School of Music and Dance, the home of the symposium. Moreover, if you prefer to live off-campus, there are numerous options, as listed on the tuition and expenses page of this website.

Each year, more than 30,000 people attend the Oregon Bach Festival in order to take advantage of an exciting mix of choral/orchestral masterworks, chamber concerts, talks, a conducting master class, and social events. Although the festival is known for its concerts, education is at its core. This year will mark the 25th anniversary of the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium (Robert Kyr, founder and director), which has featured a host of renowned composers-in-residence including Arvo Pärt in ’94;  Judith Weir in ’95; John Harbison in ’96; Krzysztof Penderecki in ’98; Lou Harrison  in ’00, Veljo Tormis, R. Murray Schafer, and Tan Dun in ’02; George Crumb in ’04; David Crumb in ’04 & ’16; Osvaldo Golijov in ’05; Martin Bresnick in ’07 & ‘18; Sven-David Sandstrom in ’09; Craig Hella Johnson (’13 & ’14), Stephen Hartke in ’13, Chen Yi in ’14, and James MacMillan and Ricardo Zohn-Muldoon in ’16.

Application Deadlines:

Early Notification:
Monday, April 16, 2018

Final Deadline:
Monday, April 30, 2018

Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit their applications by the early notification deadline; we will start to make admissions decisions at that time and promptly notify participants of their status.

Apply to participate for:

All composers are strongly encouraged to apply in the category of “composer/performer” so that they can participate in the American Creators Ensemble (ACE), which will enhance their experience as members of an engaged community of collaborative artists.