New Jersey Symphony Edward T. Cone Composition Institute


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The New Jersey Symphony is now accepting applications for the eighth annual New Jersey Symphony Cone Composition Institute. The Institute is an opportunity designed to promote contemporary orchestral music by enhancing the careers of four emerging composers.

The selected composers will have the opportunity to hear their music performed by the New Jersey Symphony. The composers will also participate in a week of in-depth workshops and coaching sessions with Institute Director Steven Mackey, conductor David Robertson, music industry leaders and New Jersey Symphony musicians.

Robertson, who returns to conduct the Institute for the third time, had served a 13-year tenure as music director for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra from 2005 to 2018, and was recently the chief conductor and artistic advisor for the Sydney Symphony Orchestra from 2014 to 2019.

The 2022 Cone Institute will take place July 17–July 23 in Princeton, culminating in a public performance at Richardson Auditorium in Princeton on July 23 at 8 pm, led by Robertson.

Application Requirements

Applicant must submit an original composition that is no more than thirteen (13) minutes in duration.

  • Composition must be an orchestral work (no concerto soloists) and instrumentation may not exceed: 3‐3‐3‐3 woodwinds (including standard doublings), 4‐3‐3‐1 brass, timpani, 3 percussion, harp, keyboard (piano or synthesizer) and strings.
  • Composition must have no prior professional performance or publication history.
  • The submitted composition must have a title.
  • Applicant must include brief program notes or a general description of the composition.
  • All measures must be numbered in the score at the beginning of each line.
  • Applicant should include an audio representation of the work on a MIDI mock-up or, if possible, a live orchestra reading.

Once you submit the application form, you must submit hard copies of your scores by February 18, 2022, for your application to be complete. Three bound copies of the score must be submitted in hard copy (11 x 17 in. or smaller) using a standard notation program such as Sibelius or Finale. Handwritten scores will not be accepted. Scores must adhere to Major Orchestra Librarians’ Association (MOLA) guidelines.

Please mail scores to:

New Jersey Symphony
New Jersey Symphony Edward T. Cone Composition Institute
Attn: Alexandra Kapilian, Artistic Coordinator
60 Park Place, Suite 900
Newark, NJ 07102

For more information, contact Alexandra Kapilian, New Jersey Symphony Artistic Coordinator, at

Composers chosen for this tuition-free institute will participate in daily activities including:

  • Rehearsals of their works with the New Jersey Symphony
  • One-on-one and group coaching sessions with Institute Director Steven Mackey and conductor David Robertson
  • Career-development sessions on public speaking, music editing and networking skills
  • Feedback sessions with music industry leaders, New Jersey Symphony musicians and staff
  • Discussions of best practices for getting contemporary classical music funded and performed
  • New Jersey Symphony premiere of each composer’s work in a public concert

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The Institute is presented in collaboration with the 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.

Learn More about the Institute

Institute Director Steven Mackey

Steven Mackey was born in 1956 to American parents stationed in Frankfurt, Germany. He is regarded as one of the leading composers of his generation and has composed for orchestra, chamber ensemble, dance and opera. His first musical passion was playing the electric guitar in rock bands based in northern California. He blazed a trail in the 1980s and 90s by including the electric guitar and vernacular music influence in his concert music, and he regularly performs his own works, including two electric guitar concertos and numerous solo and chamber works. He is also active as an improvising musician and performs with his band Big Farm.

Mackey’s music has been performed by leading musical institutions throughout the world, including the Los Angeles, BBC and New York philharmonics; San Francisco and Chicago symphonies; Philadelphia and Concertgebeouw orchestras and Brentano, Kronos and Arditti string quartets, among others. He has received numerous awards, including a Grammy Award in 2012 for his album Lonely Motel: Music from Slide.


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, Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown and bergenPAC in Englewood. 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 José Luis Domínguez. 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 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.

Listen to the full broadcast.

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.

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.