New Jersey Symphony Edward T. Cone Composition Institute

The New Jersey Symphony announce the selected composers for this year’s Edward T. Cone Composition Institute.

The New Jersey Symphony is proud to announce the composers for the ninth Edward T. Cone Composition Institute. This year’s Institute will take place Sunday, July 9 through Saturday, July 15 in Newark, culminating in a performance of the composers’ works on Saturday, July 15, 2023.

This year’s winning composers include Tom Morrison with his work Messages in the Ground, Kory Reeder with his work Walls of Brocade Fields, Sam Wu with his work Hydrosphere and Yangfan Xu with her work Bya.

The four composers will hear their music rehearsed and performed by the Symphony and participate in in-depth feedback sessions with Institute Director Steven Mackey, guest conductor Case Scaglione, New Jersey Symphony musicians and industry leaders.

By the conclusion of the Institute’s comprehensive experience, participants will have gained invaluable musical and practical feedback about composing for orchestra. They will also have participated in critical discussions about best practices for getting contemporary classical music funded, published and performed.

The Symphony and Maestro Case Scaglione will present the participants’ works along with the final movement, “Sphere,” from Steven Mackey’s Concerto for Curved Space in concert at NJPAC’s Victoria Theater in Newark on Saturday, July 15 at 8 pm. Tickets for the event can be purchased below.

Application details for the 2024 Edward T. Cone Composition Institute will be announced in late Fall 2024.

Please note: Because of renovations taking place at the Richardson Auditorium this summer, this year’s Edward T. Cone Composition Institute concert has been moved to NJPAC’s Victoria Theater in Newark.

About the 2023 Cone Institute Composers

Tom Morrison

Tom Morrison is a composer of acoustic and electroacoustic music. Morrison draws his inspiration from the experience of place. He has written for leading new music groups, including the Aizuri Quartet, Alarm Will Sound, Latitude49, Sö Percussion, Contemporaneous, Yarn/Wire and Albany Symphony’s new music chamber orchestra, Dogs of Desire, among others. Recent projects include new electroacoustic works for Theo Van Dyck and Parker Ramsay and a contribution to Han Chen’s “Ligeti Etudes meets 18 Composers” commissioning project. His work has been released on Drifter and Leaving a Room, albums by Eric Huckin and Robert Fleitz, respectively. Recently, Morrison contributed the title track to Red Dog Ensemble’s debut album, Neon and Oak. He won the 2016 Thailand International Composition Festival Competition and first place in the 2021 Symphonia Caritas Competition for first-generation college students. His work can be found at

Morrison is a graduate of The Juilliard School (MM). He is also a graduate of the University of Montana (BM) in Missoula, where he cultivated his love for nature and the environment. He holds an MFA and Ph.D. from Princeton University, where he will be a Post Graduate Researcher in the fall 2023 semester.

Kory Reeder

Kory Reeder is an American composer and performer whose music draws inspiration from the visual arts and political theory. It is often introspective and atmospheric, investigating ideas of objectivity, place and immediacy while exploring the social implications of musical interaction with pieces ranging from symphonic works to text scores and computer-assisted improvisations.

Described as “one of the most captivating composers in modern classical music” (Dallas Observer), Reeder’s music is performed regularly around the world in concert halls, festivals, academic settings, basements and DIY venues. A dedicated collaborator, he has frequently worked with opera, theater and dance programs, as well as noise, free-improv and new media artists on projects ranging from video collaborations to three-hour performance art works. He has been artist-in-residence at Arts Letters and Numbers, The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and Everglades National Park. Reeder also participated in the Composing in the Wilderness program offered by the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival in collaboration with Alaska Geographic and the National Park Service.

With a catalog of over 100 programmed works, his music has been released on Edition Wandelweiser Records, where one may also find scores of his work, as well as Petrichor Records, Sawyer Editions, Sawyer Spaces, Impulsive Habitat, and Another Timbre, with upcoming releases planned for 2023 on Full Spectrum Records.

Reeder is from Nebraska and currently resides in Texas where he is an active performer. He received his Ph.D. from the University of North Texas and holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and a Master of Music from Bowling Green State University.

Kory runs and operates Sawyer Editions, a small-batch label specializing in contemporary, experimental, and improvised music, especially of new and unreleased artists. The Sawyer Spaces imprint focuses on field recordings and soundscape composition.

Sam Wu

Sam Wu's music deals with the beauty in blurred boundaries. Many of his works center around architecture, urban planning, climate science and the search for exoplanets that harbor life.

Wu’s collaborations span five continents, most notably with the orchestras of Philadelphia, Minnesota, Sarasota, Melbourne, Tasmania and Shanghai, the New York City Ballet, the Sydney International Piano Competition, the Lontano, Parker, Argus and ETHEL string quartets, the conductors Osmo Vänskä, Benjamin Northey and Lio Kuokman and sheng virtuoso Wu Wei.

Wu has been featured in various media outlets and publications, including National Geographic channel, Business Insider, The Houston Chronicle, The Harvard Crimson, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Asahi Shimbun and People's Daily. Wu has also received numerous awards and recognitions.  He was selected for the American Composers Orchestra's EarShot readings and the Tasmanian Symphony's Australian Composers' School. Wu also won an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award, First Prize at the Washington International Competition, Harvard's Robert Levin Prize and Juilliard's Palmer Dixon Prize.

From Melbourne, Australia, Sam holds degrees from Harvard University and The Juilliard School, and is currently a DMA candidate in composition at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music. His teachers include Tan Dun, Anthony Brandt, Pierre Jalbert, Chaya Czernowin and Richard Beaudoin.

Yangfan Xu

Yangfan Xu is a Chinese-born US-based composer who comes from a musical family in Lanzhou, Gansu province. Xu was the winner of the Society for New Music's 2021 Israel/Pellman Award. She won the 2021 New Juilliard Ensemble (NJE) Composition Competition, and her commissioned work Fantastic Creatures of the Mountains and Seas premiered at the Lincoln Center in a concert by NJE in 2022. Xu also received other major commissions from the New York Choreographic Institute with New York City Ballet, and saxophonist Kenneth Radnofsky. Her compositions have been performed by Friction Quartet, Hauseman Quartet, San Francisco Conservatory of Music New Music Ensemble, Choral Chameleon and Keyed Kontraptions. In October 2023, Xu’s music will be performed by the Sydney Contemporary Orchestra in Australia.

Xu received a bachelor’s degree in composition at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music studying with Mason Bates. Before her undergraduate studies, she studied musicology at the high school affiliated with the Central Conservatory of Music in China. Xu earned her master’s degree in composition at The Juilliard School, studying under Robert Beaser. She is a current DMA candidate at the New England Conservatory of Music studying under studio teacher Kati Agócs.

Learn More about the Institute

Institute Director Steven Mackey

Bright in coloring, ecstatic in inventiveness, lively and profound, Steven Mackey’s music spins the tendrils of his improvisatory riffs into large-scale works of grooving, dramatic coherence.

As a teenager growing up in Northern California obsessed with blues-rock guitar, Mackey was in search of the “right wrong notes,” those heart-wrenching moments that imbue the music with new, unexpected momentum. Today, his pieces play with that tension of being inside or outside of the harmony and flow forward shimmering with prismatic detail.

Signature early works merged his academic training with the free-spirited physicality of his mother-tongue rock guitar music: Troubadour Songs (1991) and Physical Property (1992) for string quartet and electric guitar; and Banana/Dump Truck (1995), an electrified-cello concerto. Later works explored his deepening fascination in transformation and movement of sound through time: Dreamhouse (2003), a rich work for voices and ensemble that was nominated for four Grammy awards; A Beautiful Passing (2008) for violin and orchestra on the passing of his mother; and Slide (2011), a Grammy Award-winning music theater piece.

Today, Mackey writes for chamber ensemble, orchestra, dance and opera—commissioned by the greatest orchestras around the world, and winner of several awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Kennedy Center Friedheim Award. He continues to explore an ever-widening world of timbres befitting a complex, 21st-century culture, while always striving to make music that unites the head and heart, that is visceral, that gets us moving.

2023 Conductor Case Scaglione

Case Scaglione is currently in his fifth season as a Chief Conductor of the Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn in Germany and in his fourth season as a Music Director of Orchestre national d’Île de France. He has previously served as Associate Conductor with the New York Philharmonic and as Music Director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra of Los Angeles. Case was the driving force behind the artistic growth and diversification of the organisation, founding their educational outreach initiative ‘360° Music’.

Across 2021/22 season, Case’s repertoire focus with Orchestre national d’Île de France was predominantly on music by Strauss, Wagner, Mahler, Dvořák and Béla Bartók. This season, together with Orchestre national d’Île de France, Case also explores music by Beethoven, Ravel, Mahler, Sibelius, Britten and Anna Clyne.

During 2022/23 season, as was the case with the previous ones, Case and Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn continue to appear regularly at Stuttgart’s Liederhalle, Kloster Schöntal, Ludwigsburg, Queen Elisabeth’s Hall in Antwerp, Munich’s Prinzregententheater, Forum am Schlosspark in Ludwigsburg. Composers of classical and early Romantic periods, as well as 20th Century and contemporary ones feature prominently throughout Case’s 2022/23 season with the Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn.

Amongst last season’s guest conducting highlights are appearances in the United Kingdom at Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall with Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra; Hamburg with the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra; Spain with Castilla y León Symphony Orchestra in Valladolid and at Madrid’s Teatro Monumental with RTVE Symphony Orchestra; In the United States with the Utah Symphony and returns to Phoenix Symphony. Last season, Case also made highly acclaimed debut at the Opéra national de Paris in a production of Elektra by Richard Strauss.

Across 2022/23 season, Case makes his Irish debut with the RTE Symphony Orchestra, a Monaco debut with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo, Swedish debut with the Gävle Symphony Orchestra, Polish debut with the Szczecin Philharmonic, Danish debut with the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra. Case also returns to Spain for a second collaboration with the Castilla Y Leon at the Musika Música Festival in Bilbao and to Norway for collaboration with the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra.

In North America in the past, Case successfully collaborated with the New York Philharmonic, Houston, Dallas, Detroit, San Diego and Baltimore symphony orchestras. In Asia, he has led concerts with the China Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the Shanghai and Guangzhou symphony orchestras, in addition to regular returns to the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra.

Case enjoys close relationships with many of the world’s leading soloists, including Joshua Bell, Yulianna Avdeeva, Jean Efflam Bavouzet, Behzod Abduraimov and Khatia Buniatishvili. Case has been mentored by some of the most prominent conductors on the world stage today, including Alan Gilbert, Jaap van Zweden and David Zinman.


The New Jersey Symphony and Princeton University Department of Music are well positioned to provide emerging composers with a comprehensive Institute experience that will enhance their careers. Over years of reading sessions in which the New Jersey Symphony has played through orchestral works written by Princeton University Ph.D. composition candidates, the Orchestra and its musicians are experienced in mentoring and advising student composers. Through the New Jersey Symphony’s commitment to presenting new music, the Orchestra has performed works not only by the late Princeton University professor and composer Edward T. Cone, but also by composers who felt the impact of Cone’s legacy as a teacher.

Mackey—a lauded composer and William Schubael Conant Professor of Music at Princeton University—says: “The New Jersey Symphony has had a strong relationship with Princeton University composers for years, and we are excited to again partner with the Orchestra for this immersive composition institute. This program fosters emerging composing talent by preparing composers for both the creative and practical elements of composing works for orchestra.”

By the end of the Institute, participants will have gained invaluable musical and practical feedback about writing for orchestra through real-time interactions with Mackey, the guest conductor and New Jersey Symphony musicians, as well as advice from decision makers in the industry about how to get their music published and performed.

About the Organizations

Princeton University Department of Music

Princeton’s Department of Music is at the epicenter of a musical culture that is broad and deep, reaching from edge to edge of the campus, from the classroom to the concert hall, into the community and from faculty-led groups to those run exclusively by students.

New Jersey Symphony

Named “a vital, artistically significant musical organization” by The Wall Street Journal, the New Jersey Symphony embodies that vitality through its statewide presence and critically acclaimed performances, education partnerships and unparalleled access to music and the Orchestra’s superb musicians.

Music Director Xian Zhang—a “dynamic podium presence” The New York Times has praised for her “technical abilities, musicianship and maturity”—continues her acclaimed leadership of the New Jersey Symphony. The Orchestra presents classical, pops and family programs, as well as outdoor summer concerts and special events. Embracing its legacy as a statewide orchestra, the New Jersey Symphony is the resident orchestra of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark and regularly performs at State Theatre New Jersey in New Brunswick, Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank, Richardson Auditorium in Princeton and Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown. Partnerships with New Jersey arts organizations, universities and civic organizations remain a key element of the Orchestra’s statewide identity.

In addition to its lauded artistic programming, the New Jersey Symphony presents a suite of education and community engagement programs that promote meaningful, lifelong engagement with live music. Programs include school-time Concerts for Young People, and New Jersey Symphony Youth Orchestras family of student ensembles, led by Diego García. New Jersey Symphony musicians annually perform original chamber music programs at community events in a variety of settings statewide through the New Jersey Symphony Community Partners program.

For more information about the New Jersey Symphony, visit or email Tickets are available for purchase by phone at 1.800.ALLEGRO (255.3476) or on the Orchestra’s website.

The New Jersey Symphony’s programs are made possible in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, along with many other foundations, corporations and individual donors.

Cone Institute 2022

The 2022 Cone Institute composers were Dai Wei with her work Samsāric Dance; Baldwin Giang with his work to remember is always forgetting; Jack Frerer with his work Steep and Sophia Jani with her work What do flowers do at night?. View concert and composer information.

Listen to the full broadcast.

Cone Institute 2021

The 2021 Cone Institute composers were Elise Aranco with her work Wake, Kevin Day with his work Tango Oscuro, Erin Graham with her work Increase and Jared Miller with his work Under Sea, Above Sky. View concert and composer information.

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Cone Institute 2019

The 2019 Institute composers included Dan Caputo with his work Liminal, Patrick O’Malley with his work Rest and Restless, Iván Enrique Rodríguez with his work A Metaphor for Power and Bora Yoon with her work The Encyclopedia of Winds. View concert and composer information.

Listen to the WWFM broadcast.

Cone Institute 2018

The 2018 Cone Institute composers were Jonathan Cziner with his work Resonant Bells, Natalie Dietterich with her work Aeolian Dust, Aaron Hendrix with his work Night Train and Brian Shank with his work Into the Rose Garden. View concert and composer information.

Listen to the WWFM broadcast.

Princeton Department of Music.jpg

The Symphony presents the Institute in collaboration with Princeton University Department of Music.

The New Jersey Symphony celebrates the cultural vibrancy of our communities and builds meaningful relationships that elevate and strengthen them. We are committed to diversity and equal opportunity in our recruitment of composers. Qualified candidates of all backgrounds are welcome and encouraged to apply for the New Jersey Symphony Edward T. Cone Composition Institute.

Major underwriting support for the New Jersey Symphony Edward T. Cone Composition Institute is generously provided by the Edward T. Cone Foundation and Princeton University.