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PREMIERE|Project Festival

Since its inception in 2018, PREMIERE|Project Festival has been gaining a reputation as a one-stop shop for composers. A one-of-a-kind festival, it provides selected composers with a remarkable workshop/commission experience by offering in-depth seminars, mentoring sessions with renowned composers (past faculty has included Craig Carnahan, Dominick DiOrio, Derrick Spiva Jr., and Dale Trumbore), and interactive rehearsals with an award-winning choral ensemble.

We look forward to welcoming many more incredible choral composers to join us in Southern California again when we can safely relaunch PREMIERE|Project Festival together.

Our Why

“We had focused on K-12 outreach, but there are so many arts organizations in Orange County already doing incredible work in that setting. So we started focusing on recent grads, those in career change, people who are early to mid-career as composers. Many composers don’t know how commissioning works; they can graduate with an MM in composition and not know how to handle a commission contract. The inspiration was ‘Let’s create a professional development experience that models that commissioning experience, from contact and contract, to residency and performance.’”
- Artistic Director & Founder Brandon Elliott, Voice of OC ​article 

A composer's dream destination: Imagine a place where you could come to finalize a composition in a workshop setting with a professional chorus, talk about the business side of living as a composer, learn with renowned composition faculty, build a network of like-minded composers, and gain exposure to the latest music in the choral field.  Select participants will also have their work premiered and establish a distribution deal with a music retailer. All of this in less than a week in beautiful Orange County, CA. Welcome to PREMIERE|Project.

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What is the PREMIERE|Project Festival?

It was an incredible experience. I grew professionally, expanded musically, and had a blast. ​
The atmosphere was great, the program ran smoothly, and the performance by CAI was stunning. Honestly, a home run in basically every way. I'm so honored to have been a part of it! Thanks to all involved!
Exceeded all expectations (which were already high). Incredible, inspiring, educational. And a great balance between artistically fulfilling and affirming, while being very, very practical.
This is one of the best experiences I've ever had.
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I'm interested! What are the criteria?

The criteria are simple.  We don't like trying to sort composers by "emerging" or "emerged."  Rather, if you consider yourself a learning composer regardless of age or career status, PREMIERE|Project is the place for you.  

 

The application requirements are:​

  • A portfolio of three compositions, at least one of which must be for chorus.

  • Recordings for all three works (at least one of which must be a live performance; MIDI recordings are okay).

  • A list of prior works and performances.

  • A biography and resume.

  • A proposal for the piece you intend to write or complete as part of the PREMIERE|Project Festival. 

  • You must come to the PREMIERE|Project Festival with an unpremiered work that is in progress, near completion, or a finalized work in draft form which you are willing to potentially adjust in the workshop setting.  In addition, you must complete the composition within the PREMIERE|Project Festival timeline to receive its world premiere.   

  • The composition must be for SATB chorus (with or without divisi) and appropriate for high school, collegiate, or professional chorus.  The work may either be a cappella, with piano accompaniment, or with a solo accompanying instrument.  Pieces with English texts are preferred.  If your piece uses texts in a foreign language, an IPA pronunciation guide must be included with the submission.

What do I get as a Fellow?

All Fellows will receive the following:

  • Four 30-minute private Mentoring Sessions (total of 120 minutes) with world-class Composition Faculty (one Skype session pre-festival, and three in-person sessions at the festival). 

  • Several In-Depth Seminars.  Recent topics have included: Publishing in the 21st-Century; Navigating the Composer Career Path(s); How to Approach the Podium: A Discussion of the Composer/Conductor Relationship; 11 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Choral Score; Exploring Composition for Film; Let's Talk About Money; A Music Business Crash Course for Composers; Crossing Genres: Compositional and Communication Techniques for Integrating Different Musical Genres into Classical Compositions; An Exploration of Socially-Relevant Compositional Practices. 

  • Numerous "Talk Shop" Roundtables led by Composition Faculty and the Artistic Director.  

  • Q&A Sessions with the Faculty, Artistic Director, and Choral Artists. 

  • Interactive Rehearsals with Choral Arts Initiative. 

  • Networking opportunities with your festival colleagues. 

  • Welcome & Farewell Receptions featuring food, wine, and spirits.  

  • Ground Transportation to and from the festival hotel and festival location. 

  • A Complimentary Ticket to the PREMIERE|Project Festival Performance (a public performance featuring up to ten compositions from our Fellows). 

  • A Recorded Reading Session of a piece of your choosing (may be the piece you proposed in your application, or a different completed work).  Please note this reading session is for pieces not selected to receive a live performance/premiere.

Up to ten participants will also be chosen to have their composition premiered at the PREMIERE|Project Festival concert on Friday, June 19.  The Composition Faculty will evaluate and rank applications using the following criteria on a 1-5 scale:

  • Overall Application & Portfolio

  • Strength of Proposal

  • Creativity & Uniqueness of Musical Voice

  • Clarity and Coherence of Musical Ideas

Those selected to receive a premiere performance will receive a distribution agreement with MusicSpoke under the Choral Arts Initiative Series (optional at the discretion of the composer), as well as an archival video and audio recording of the performance. 

I'm still interested! What's the cost?

Those accepted as a Fellow will have the following expenses:

  • $30 Application Fee*

  • $970 Participation Fee

  • Ground or Air Transportation to Newport Beach, CA (varies)

  • Lodging

*If accepted, the Application Fee applies towards your Participation Fee.

Do you offer scholarships or financial assistance?

​Choral Arts Initiative takes pride in offering a fair and competitively-priced festival experience thanks to generous donors who help offset the cost. 

Thanks to the generosity of our Patrons Circle, Choral Arts Initiative is pleased to offer at least one full ride scholarship for those with a demonstrated financial hardship.  This scholarship would provide a complete Participation Fee waiver, and lodging (up to double occupancy).  The only expense would be the initial application fee of $30 as well as transportation.