Composers Workshop


Application Deadline (already passed): before March 3, midnight.
Applications are reviewed as they are received and acceptances are on a rolling basis.

Participate in the Festival & Workshop:



The workshop – designed to bring together aspiring composers with world-class musicians and professionals in the field for intensive preparation and performance of contemporary classical music.

Composers Workshop Details:


The Composers Workshop is a unique two-week event that allows a select group of about thirty student and emerging composers to work closely with world-class performers and distinguished faculty in the creation of new works for performance at the Charlotte New Music Festival. Participants will hone their craft, build their professional networks, listen to a lot of exciting new music, receive valuable and pragmatic career advice from musicians with a wide range of experiences, and much more.


Participation in the Composers Workshop includes:
  • Two professional performances of your music:
    – A commissioned work written for the festival.
    – A speedwriting assignment, a short work to be written during the festival and performed on our speedwriting concert.
  • Option to perform an additional piece of your own (or recruit musicians to perform) on a New Music Open Mic Night at a local piano bar. (This is a great place to try out new ideas or to show another side of your musical personality!)
  • High-quality audio and video recording of the performances.
  • Opportunity to work with guest musicians in rehearsing your music.
  • Lectures by eminent guest composers and musicians.
  • Two private lessons with guest composers.
  • Admission to all festival concerts.
  • Making new friends and being part of a supportive artistic community.


Dance Co-Lab:

Interested composers may choose to participate in the Dance Co-lab. This one-of-a-kind program pairs composers with choreographers with the aim of developing interdisciplinary collaboration skills. Each composer-choreographer team will work together in the creation of a new work in which the music and choreography are organically linked. Composers will learn a lot about dance. They will gain a deeper understanding of how choreographers think, see how new choreography is developed, watch how dancers rehearse, and ultimately learn what is required to write effective music for dance. Please note that only a small number of slots are available for the Dance Co-lab. Be sure to indicate your interest in this opportunity on the application.


The Charlotte New Music Festival Composers Workshop is an experience like no other, a workshop created by composers for composers.


Guest composers:

John Allemeier
Craig Bove
Lawrence Dillon
Marc Mellits
Charles Nichols
Ronald K. Parks
More guest composers TBA


Additional faculty:

Drew Dolan (Program Director – Composers Workshop)

Lowell Fuchs

Elizabeth Kowalski (Artistic Director)

Dana Kaufman (Assistant Program Director)

Adam Neal


Guest ensembles:

Loadbang (New York)

Beo String Quartet (Pittsburgh)

Out of Bounds Ensemble (South Carolina)


Robinson Hall of UNC Charlotte is where the workshops will take place. Some concerts will be on campus, other concerts will be in different venues throughout Charlotte. Locations will be posted on the master schedule, which you will receive before the festival.


Lodging is at the UNC Charlotte dorms. Participants may carpool with each other and/or CNMF staff. Meals and transportation are not included.


Click if interested in auditing or receiving private lessons with visiting guest composers:


Q: How long does it take to hear back about my application?

  • A: We let you know within 3-8 days depending on how many applications we are going through.

Q: When should I arrive and depart?

  • A: Typically, everyone arrives the day before and departs the day after. For 2017, you would want to consider arriving June 18 and departing July 2. If you get lodging with our group, these are also the dates you are covered through.

Q: How will I know what I’m supposed to write for?

  • A: Instrumentation is based on your interests that you tell us about in your application.

Q: Can I submit a pre-existing work?

  • A: Absolutely, although we highly recommend that you compose a new piece for the specific artists that you will be working with. If you already have a piece that would work well for your given instrumentation, though, just let us know.

Testimonials from 2016:

Jeff Young (Atlanta, GA): I will always look back on CNMF 2016 as a critical milestone in my life as a composer. Words cannot do justice to Elizabeth Kowalski’s vision in founding this venue for emerging composers to share their work in an open and supportive environment, and have it publically performed by first rate professional musicians. Kudos also to Adam Scott Neal and the other staff for their hard work and organizational skill, and to the excellent visiting lecturers and musicians – all dedicated teachers. I have stayed in touch with colleagues I met at CNMF and hope I have the good fortune to work again with many of them.

Joseph Adams (AL): I left the Charlotte New Music Festival with many new friends and colleagues. Meeting Bent Frequency and having them premiere my piece was invaluable, and it was an opportunity to share my music with different composers and gain valuable feedback. I highly recommend it!


Testimonials from 2015:

Lydia Pugh (Guernsey, Channel Islands, UK): “It has been an absolutely incredible two weeks at ‪#‎CNMF2015‬ – I’ve learned and experienced so much, been to a part of the world I never thought I’d want to go (and of course would now love to go back to), and of course, I’ve made so many amazing new friends. Being around you incredibly talented people for a fortnight has re-ignited a spark that I thought might be dwindling, and given me fresh perspective and ideas galore.”

Lansing McLoskey (Miami, FL)“At the Charlotte New Music Festival following a SUPERB performance of “Yellow.” One of the best performances of the piece, ever. Had a wonderful (though too brief!) time there. Great batch of students, and they had the Beo String Quartet, loadbang, and Great Noise Ensemble in residence this year, so the performances were TOP notch and the students had a ton of personal, one-on-one interaction with the performers.
Students out there looking for a festival to attend next summer, I can highly recommend CNMF!”

Bill Heinze (Chicago, IL): “The lessons were great, the city was beautiful, and the music was beautiful.
Thanks to the Great Noise Ensemble and the Beo String Quartet for performing my music. The concerts were astounding.”

Matt Magerkurth (Kansas City, MS):“The chance to work with and hang out with the amazing loadbang, Beo String Quartet, and Great Noise Ensemble has really been sensational. Excellent music. Excellent people.”

Trey Makler (Kansas City, MS):“Words aren’t good enough to express what the Charlotte New Music Festival has done for me as an artist and as a human. CNMF staff worked so hard every day to make the festival come to life and they more than succeeded. I met some of the most incredible people on earth there and was surrounded with people who completely understood who I was and what it meant to be a composer.”

Richard An (Los Angeles, CA):“Had premieres by the wonderful Great Noise Ensemble and the Beo String Quartet! I would recommend this festival to composers in any stage of their careers.”

Ian Guthrie (TX):“In addition to great performances of my music, this festival provided me with big connections with important composers, performers, and organizations. That is exactly what a composition festival should do.”


Testimonials from 2013:

Kaito Nakahori (Japan):   “Great music festival!!  Had a great time!!  Two of my pieces were performed so beautifully.”

Garrett Hecker (Gainesville, FL):  “Amazing performance of my piece Mesh Interior by the IKTUS percussion/piano duo.  Congrats to all that had works performed at the Charlotte New Music Festival!”

Haerim Soek (Korea):  “Had a private lesson with Dr. Allemeier.  It was great.  More than great.”

Kyle Simpson (Pittsburgh, PA):  “Thank You Charlotte New Music Festival, it was a great experience.  I feel incredibly inspired from hearing the other composers at the festival, and I am so honored to have such wonderful musicians perform my music.  Thank you everyone and thanks for a great two weeks!”

Dale Sakamoto (Mission Viejo, CA):  “Wow Iktus Percussion/Piano duo did a fabulous job on all the student compositions and the Stochkausen piece.  I’ve never heard an electronic piece I’ve enjoyed so much.”

Hong-Da Chin  (Malaysia):  “The premiere of my string quartet ‘…the clock is ticking…’ by the awesome Freya String Quartet was a success.  Thanks Freya String Quartet and Charlotte New Music Festival!”


Testimonials from 2012:

Drew Dolan:  “Hodges-Taylor Ensemble is slated to perform the premiere of the full finished version of the piece I wrote for the workshop, Soyuzmultfilm. Feb. 10, 2013 at Providence Chamber Music Series.”

Ian Good:  “I really gained from the private lessons, each one has “stuck” with me for one (good) reason or another.”



Support Us!