CALL FOR SCORES: “Zaka" - BNMI’s Twelfth Season

CALL FOR SCORES: “Zaka" - BNMI’s Twelfth Season
Opens: February 1, 2020
Deadline: March 31, 2020

The Boston New Music Initiative is announcing a call for scores to be programmed as part of the spring concert of BNMI’s twelfth season. Incorporated in 2010, BNMI aims to advance the careers of its members in the field of new music by serving as a resource for networking, professional development, commissioning, collaboration, and programming. The call is open for acoustic, electro-acoustic, and multimedia works. The competition is open to all composers with no restrictions.

The theme of BNMI's final concert of the Twelfth Season, which runs from 2020-2021 will be “Zaka.” The concert will feature the work “Zaka” by Pulitzer Prize winning composer Jennifer Higdon. According to Higdon, zaka means “to do the following almost simultaneously and at great speed: zap, sock, race, turn, drop, sprint.” We are looking for works for 1-8 performers that relate to this idea. We aim to program one (1) to three (3) works per category. Works chosen from this call will be presented at a performance to take place in Spring of 2021.

Category 1: Solo or Duets
Works for any one or two instruments from BNMI’s core ensemble (see Instrumentation below).
Category 2: Ensemble
Works for 3-8 players, from BNMI’s core ensemble and one or two additional instruments
(see Instrumentation below).

We strongly encourage all composers to download and review the BNMI Submission Guide ahead of submitting to this competition.


  1. Instrumentation. BNMI’s core ensemble consists of Flute (doubling Piccolo, Alto Flute, or Bass Flute), Clarinet in B-flat (doubling Clarinet in A or Bass Clarinet in B-flat), Violin, Violoncello, Piano, and Percussion. Percussion instruments for this call may include 4.3 octave marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, and any other easily portable percussion instruments (no timpani or tubular bells). Stereo electronic, electroacoustic, or multimedia works are accepted, but at least one live performer must be used (no fixed-media). Recommended additional instruments: Violin 2, Viola, Double Bass, Soprano (voice), Saxophone, and Bassoon. Works including other additional instruments as well as string quartets will be accepted but are less likely to be programmed.
  2. Duration. Works can be of any duration, although preference will be given to works which are 10 minutes or less.
  3. Multimedia. For all multimedia submissions, composers must either indicate that they have the rights to the specific multimedia element to be used (e.g. the film, tape, electronics, choreography, artwork, etc.). If their work is selected, the composer must grant BNMI permission to utilize it during performance, or else grant BNMI permission, at its discretion, to create a multimedia element. In the second case, BNMI reserves the right to incorporate or not to incorporate multimedia elements at its sole discretion.
  4. Electronics. Scores of works involving electronic elements must include information on the specific technical requirements for performance. Likewise, multimedia works must indicate any extramusical forces needed. Works utilizing excessive electronic equipment may not be able to be programmed.
  5. Number of Entries. There is no limit on the number of works a composer may submit; however, each work should be submitted as a separate entry. Multi-movement works should be submitted as single entries, even if movements are in separate files. (The submission process allows for multiple files per entry.)
  6. Anonymity. All submissions must be anonymous. Scores or other materials with names or other identifying marks will not be considered. Please remove all identifying marks from all materials (except the composer information page, see submission process below) before submitting. Please make sure no metadata including names or identifying marks remain in submitted files. No pseudonyms or code numbers are necessary.
  7. Membership. Composers wishing to submit scores must become members of BNMI; Associate Membership is free and Full Membership is $20 a year. Information on membership benefits can be found here.
  8. File Formats. The only acceptable file formats are:
    • For the score: .pdf
    • For (optional) audio recordings: .mp3 or .m4a
    • For video: .mov or .m4v
    • All other materials: .doc, .docx, .txt, .rtf, .odt, or .pdf
  9. Delivery of Music. Selected composers are required to provide electronic copies of the full score and parts within four (4) weeks of their notification of selection. If electronics or multimedia are involved, all files required for performance and rehearsal must be submitted within the same time frame.
  10. Permission for Use. By submitting to this call, the composer gives permission to record audio and video of any and all concerts and events hosted by or associated with BNMI in which the submitted piece is included. BNMI shall possess ownership of recorded audio and video and maintains the right to publicly distribute audio and video for promotional purposes. BNMI shall not publicly distribute the recording of any performance for financial gain.
  11. Questions? Please address any questions to Note: Please do NOT send submission materials to this email address as the materials cannot be submitted using this method. When submitting inquiries, please be as generic as possible, and do not include the title of your piece in the query in order to preserve anonymity.

Submission Process
Composers are asked to use our submission portal to upload the following materials (each as separate documents). If this is your first time submitting, please review our BNMI Submission Guide prior to starting the submission process.

  1. An anonymous PDF file of the score. If submitting a score that requires percussion, please include a complete percussion instrument list at the beginning of the score.
  2. A recording of the work (not required but encouraged)
  3. For works using electronics, a detailed description of technical requirements and processes needed (i.e. a “tech rider”).
  4. An entry fee for each submission. The entry fee for this competition is $5 for each submission for Full Members and $15 for Associate Members. Membership information can be found here.
  5. An information sheet containing the following:
    • Composer’s contact information (name, phone number, physical mailing address, email address, and website URL, if any)
    • Title, instrumentation, and duration of the work
    • Work’s date of completion and complete performance history
    • Performing rights organization (ASCAP, BMI, etc.) associated with the work and/or composer, if any
    • Composer’s year of birth (for program information only)
    • Composer biography and program notes for the work (maximum 300 words each), to be used if the work is selected. BNMI reserves the right to truncate the program notes or composer biography if either exceeds the word limit.

To Apply:

FAQs and Helpful Hints:
1. Please note that new memberships may take up to 24 hours to be approved (although usually much less). Composers signing up as new members who wish to submit to this competition should be sure to allot enough time for the approval process to complete in order to meet the March 31 deadline.

2. The submission portal is not available without login credentials. Composers who are not existing BNMI members should not attempt to go to the submission portal without submitting a membership application first: in order to create login credentials.

3. Once your files have been added for each work, be sure to complete your payment in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen. Full members must have dues paid in full in order to receive full membership benefits, including discounts on Calls for Scores and commissioning competitions. For those composers submitting more than one entry, payment should be made only after ALL entries have been completed.

4. More questions? Please see our BNMI Submission Guide.

31 Mar 2020
U.S. Dollar (USD)