2018 Women Composers Readings and Commissions Program

Congratulations to 2018 commission recipients Courtney Bryan,
Cindy Cox, and Fang Man, each receiving orchestral commissions of $15,000. 


The Women Composers Readings and Commissions program is an initiative of the League of American Orchestras, in partnership with American Composers Orchestra (ACO) and supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

Read the press announcement.

Find information about past participants here

Upcoming Premieres and Events

The Women Composers cohort will meet during the League of American Orchestras National Conference in Nashville, June 3-5, 2019. More information here.

Robin Holcomb's new work will be premiered by the Portland Symphony Orchestra (Maine) and music director Eckart Preu on January 19 and 21, 2020.

Courtney Bryan’s work will be premiered by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and music director Carlos Miguel Prieto in the 2019-20 season.

Cindy Cox’s work will be premiered by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in May 2020.

About the Program 

Since its inception in 2014, the Women Composers Readings and Commissions program has shown impressive results:

  • Thirty-four women composers benefitted from career development via the EarShot Readings
  • Thirteen composers have now received commissions
  • Five premieres completed (premieres by Julia Adolphe, Melody Eötvös, Chen-Hui Jen, Andreia Pinto Correia, and Andrea Reinkemeyer)

The Women Composers Readings and Commissions program is embedded in EarShot, an initiative of American Composers Orchestra in collaboration with American Composers Forum, the League of American Orchestras, and New Music USA. EarShot is the nation's first ongoing program for identifying and promoting the most promising orchestral composers on the national stage. ACO's artistic and administrative staff collaborates with participating orchestras, assisting with planning, program design, and execution. EarShot residencies include mentorship from the most accomplished orchestral composers in the country, orchestra readings, and musician and conductor feedback sessions. The program is customized to each host orchestra's aesthetic, demographic, community, and educational interests.

2018-19 EarShot residencies include Grand Rapids Symphony, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Sarasota Orchestra, and American Composers Orchestra's Underwood New Music Readings. 2017-18 Earshot readings took place with American Composers Orchestra, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, Jacksonville Symphony. All women who participated in past EarShot readings were considered for the commissions.

The Future 

The Women Composers program has been renewed for 2019, with three additional composers to be awarded commissions next year.

2018 Commission Recipients

Photo Credit: Arielle Pentes

Courtney Bryan

Courtney Bryan, a native of New Orleans, LA, is “a pianist and composer of panoramic interests” (New York Times). Her music is in conversation with various musical genres, including jazz and other types of experimental music, as well as traditional gospel, spirituals, and hymns. Focusing on bridging the sacred and the secular, Bryan's compositions explore human emotions through sound, confronting the challenge of notating the feeling of improvisation. Bryan has academic degrees from Oberlin Conservatory (BM), Rutgers University (MM), and Columbia University (DMA) with advisor George Lewis, and completed an appointment as Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. Bryan is currently an Assistant Professor of Music in the Newcomb Department of Music at Tulane University, the composer-in-residence with the Jacksonville Symphony, and serves as a board member of the Musical Arts Society of New Orleans (MASNO), Composers Now, and New Music USA. She was the 2018 music recipient of the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts.

Bryan’s work has been presented in a wide range of venues, including Lincoln Center, Miller Theatre, The Stone, Roulette Intermedium, La MaMa Experimental Theatre, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, National Gallery of Art, Blue Note Jazz Club, Bethany and Abyssinian Baptist Churches, Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and Ojai Music Festival. Upcoming commissions include compositions for the Jacksonville Symphony, Quince Ensemble, and Jennifer Koh. She has two recordings, “Quest for Freedom” (2007) and "This Little Light of Mine" (2010).

Courtney Bryan’s work will be premiered by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra and music director Carlos Miguel Prieto in the 2019-20 season


Photo courtesy of Cindy Cox

Cindy Cox

Transparent yet intricate, Cindy Cox’s compositions synthesize old and new musical designs. The natural world, ecological concerns, and the concept of emergence inspire many of the special harmonies and textural colorations in her works.

Cox is active as a pianist and has performed and recorded many of her own compositions, including the large-scale Hierosgamos and Sylvan Pieces. A number of her works feature technologies developed at UC Berkeley’s Center for New Music and Audio Technologies (CNMAT), such as Pianos and the Etudes for piano sampler keyboards. Her compositions with text such as Singing the lines, The Other Side of the World, and The Shape of the Shell evolved through collaboration with her husband, poet John Campion. Together they are currently collaborating on a musical theater project, The Road to Xibalba, based on the ancient Mayan myth of creation The Popol Vuh.

She has received awards and commissions from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Fromm Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Guggenheim Foundation, the American Composers Forum, ASCAP, Meet the Composer, the Fulbright Foundation, and the Mellon Foundation. She has been a Fellow at Tanglewood, Aspen, the MacDowell Colony, Civitella Ranieri, and Giardini La Mortella.

Recent performances have taken place at the Venice Biennale, the Festival de la Habana in Cuba, the American Academy in Rome, Carnegie and Merkin Halls in New York City, the National Gallery in Washington, the Library of Congress, the Kennedy Center, and the Biblioteca National in Buenos Aires. Her music has been performed by the Kronos Quartet, the National Symphony, the California Symphony, the Alexander Quartet, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, and the Eco Ensemble. There are five monograph recordings of Cox’s music, and her scores are published by World a Tuning Fork Press (www.cacox.com).

Her music may also be accessed on https://soundcloud.com/cindy-cox. Cindy Cox is a Professor and Chair of the Music Department at the University of California at Berkeley.

Cindy Cox’s work will be premiered by the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra in May 2020. 


Photo Credit: Yi Sun

Fang Man

Hailed as “inventive and breathtaking” by the New York Times, Fang Man’s music has been performed worldwide by notable orchestras and ensembles such as the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra New Music Group under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen, Basel Sinfonietta, Slovak Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, National Orchestre de Lorraine, Minnesota Orchestra, Prism Saxophone Quartet, Dolce Suono Ensemble, Music from China, among others.

She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Koussevitzky Foundation Commission, an Underwood/ACO Commission, Toru Takemitsu Award (Japan), Opera America Discovery Grant, the National Endowment for the Arts Award, Siemens Berlin Music Foundation Commission, NewMusicUSA Commission, the 47th UWRF Commissioned Composer, USC Provost Grant, Bank of America Gallery Commission, the Darmstadt Stipend-Prize-Award, Kate Neal Kinley Memorial Fellowship, Frank Huntington Beebe Fellowship, among others.

Her music has been heard at the Carnegie Hall, Symphony Space, Merkin Concert Hall, Miller Theater (NYC); Walt Disney Hall (Los Angeles); Espace de Projection of IRCAM-Centre Pompidou (Paris), Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall (Japan), Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts (Philadelphia), etc. She has been invited to new music festivals such as the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, Centre Acanthes (France); Darmstadt New Music Festival (Germany); Gaudeamus Music Week (the Netherlands); Cabrillo Festival, Aspen Music Festival, June in Buffalo (USA), etc. She was invited as a resident composer at the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Florida, Aldeburgh Music Centre (UK), and Civitella Ranieri Music Foundation (Italy).

Fang obtained the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Cornell University and a Computer Music and Composition certificate from IRCAM-Centre Pompidou in France. She obtained the Bachelor of Music degree from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing. Fang is an Assistant Professor of Music Composition at the University of South Carolina. She previously held positions as the Composer-in-Residence at the Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music, and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Duke University. www.fangmanmusic.com

Fang Man’s work will be premiered by the San Francisco Symphony (details to be announced).

More Information and Past Recipients

Learn more about Earshot.

Photo credits for images at top of page (left to right): Courtney Bryan (Arielle Pentes); Cindy Cox (Cindy Cox); Fang Man (Yi Sun)