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The Tanglewood Music Center

Composition Fellowships

About the Program

The Tanglewood Music Center (TMC) has a deep commitment to fostering the growth of young composers and advancing the artform through the commissioning of new works. Composition Fellows at the TMC are central to the festival, enjoying multiple performances of their work throughout the summer, forming enduring relationships with their performer colleagues, immersed in the culture of new music that has suffused Tanglewood since its founding in 1940.


All Composition Fellows will:

  • Participate in weekly classes with resident faculty and visiting composers, who will speak about their own music, critique and analyze Fellows’ works, and engage in informal discussions regarding professional issues.
  • In advance of the summer, compose an eight-minute work for a dedicated and highly selective new music ensemble consisting of flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin, viola, and cello — revising and refining the work in collaboration with performers and TMC faculty.
  • In advance of the summer, compose an orchestral work to be performed in two reading sessions by the TMC Orchestra, including a period of revision under the guidance of TMC faculty in between readings.
  • Participate in two on-site writing projects: one an exercise in the creation of three works within an extremely abbreviated time period, and the other focused on film scoring.
  • Meet with composers and observe rehearsals during the world-renowned Festival of Contemporary Music.

Commissioning Opportunities

Several commissions are awarded each year to Composition Fellows for the following season.

Four Composition Fellows receive commissions for either brass, wind, or double bass ensembles, or for voice and piano, to be performed the next Tanglewood season. Commissioned composers receive a $2,500 honorarium for their work, plus transportation and accommodations during their stay at Tanglewood for the rehearsal and performance period.

One Composition Fellow receives a joint commission from the TMC and Leipzig Gewandhaus for a work to have its world premiere in Leipzig by the Mendelssohn Academy and its American premiere in Tanglewood by Fellows of the TMC.

The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival invites one Fellow to participate in its Young Composer String Quartet Program. This entails composing a six- to eight-minute work for the Flux Quartet, a week-long residency at the festival during the rehearsal and performance period, a $1,000 fee, transportation to and from Santa Fe, and accommodations and a rental car during the residency.