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

Music Transforming Lives 2020: This summer, the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium (OBFCS) will celebrate its 26th anniversary by offering you a host of opportunities for creative engagement, music-making, and collaboration both now and in the future.

• Performances (professionally recorded) of music by symposium composers performed by Fear No Music (ensemble-in-residence), the Delgani String Quartet, and the Trade Winds Ensemble, our roster of guest artists, and the Artists Collaborative 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 Artists Collaborative 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 as well, so please be sure to apply in the following TWO categories: as “Performer” (Category III) and as an Ensemble (Category VIII). Your ensemble will be given many opportunities to perform works by participants, and/or to compose and perform your own music throughout the symposium (including improvisation, if you wish)!

• Opportunities to create and/or perform works on significant contemporary themes on a topic of your own choice, including the following: the environment; peace-making; bridging the divides with society; diversity, equity & inclusion; and other relevant themes.

• Sessions with composers-in-residenceGabriela Lena Frank (composer-in-residence), Paola Prestini (composer-in-residence), Brad Wells (composer-in-residence), and Robert Kyr (symposium director).

• A roster of nationally and internationally renowned guest artists—Numerous concerts and mentored rehearsals will be given by our highly acclaimed guest artists.

• A Special Event featuring a concert given by Grammy-winning ensemble Roomful of Teeth, including performances of their innovative repertoire.

• A Panel Discussion featuring Brad Wells and Roomful of Teeth, including an opportunity for audience members to interact with the ensemble.

• 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 please specify “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 please be sure to specify OBFCS Vocal Fellows Program.

• Composers Film Festival—Films and/or videos that participants have previously scored will be presented at our Composers Film Festival during the symposium, and audience members will have a chance to give feedback during a discussion following each screening. Apply as a “Composer/Performer” (Category II) or “Composer” (Category I), and please 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: the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium (OBFCS) or the OBFCS Vocal Fellows Program (which is an integral part of the symposium).

A Community of Artists & ACE: All composer/performers, performers (instrumentalists, vocalists, and ensemble applicants), and conductors will be members of the symposium’s Artists Collaborative 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.”

Please note: Composers are strongly encouraged to apply as “composer/ performers,” which will give you an opportunity for maximum engagement during the symposium.

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 26th 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; Philip Glass and Richard Danielpour in '18.