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Frequently Asked Questions

If you’re relatively new to applying to calls for scores, you might also want to check out this blog post: Composition Applications for Beginners

The Calls for Scores

1.) What should I submit?
2.) I’m over 40./I’m wildly successful. Am I eligible?
3.) Do you accept works with electronics for the General Call?
4.) Do I have to live near San Francisco to enter the Commissioning Project?
5.) What’s Kickstarter?

Applying

6.) For the General Call: I have a piece that doesn’t fit your instrumentation, but I can re-arrange it if chosen. Can I submit it?
7.) Can I submit MIDI realizations instead of live recordings?
8.) How do I put together a basic MIDI realization?
9.) How do I convert my audio to MP3?
10.) How do I convert my bio/resume/score to PDF?
11.) My piece hasn’t been recorded yet, but I can’t submit a MIDI realization because it calls for extended techniques. What should I do?
11.) My piece isn’t traditionally notated, and I don’t think a recording would represent it properly. What should I do?
12.) I’m having a problem with the submissions site.


1.) What should I submit?

For our commissioning project, it would help us most to see your favorite pieces that you’ve written, or the pieces you feel best represent your interests. They can be of any instrumentation. We want to get to know you as a composer, but we don’t necessarily need you to submit chamber works in order to do so.

For either call for scores, we’re open to a variety of styles and ways of working. When in doubt, apply!


2.) I’m over 40./I’m wildly successful. Am I eligible?

If you are either (a) under 40 OR (b) an emerging composer, you are eligible to apply. “Early career” can mean a lot of different things, and we recognize that all definitions are imperfect. The spirit of our eligibility requirement is that we hope to develop works with composers whose music excites us, and for whom this opportunity would be a helpful step in their careers. When in doubt, apply!


3.) Do you accept works with electronics for the General Call?

Yes!


4.) Do I have to live near San Francisco to enter the Commissioning Project?

Definitely not. We want to collaborate with you, but we can do that over e-mail, Skype, etc. Of course we’d love you to come out to the concert if you’re chosen, but that’s not required at all.


5.) What’s Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a fundraising tool dedicated to artists seeking donations to fund proposed projects. Their site has much more information about it than we can include here, but the most important thing to note about it is that proposed projects have a deadline by which funding goals must be met, otherwise no donors are billed and no funding is received. Having a compressed deadline can encourage more timely donation, and we promise to make every effort to meet those goals, but please note that successful fundraising through Kickstarter is not guaranteed.


6.) For the General Call: I have a piece that doesn’t fit your instrumentation, but I can re-arrange it if chosen. Can I submit it?

Unfortunately, we can’t accept pieces that would need to be rearranged for performance. Think of our review process as not just reviewing the raw material of the piece, but of reviewing how it’s orchestrated, how it’s notated, how feasible it is, etc. So much can change in the process of re-arrangement that we need to see what we would be playing; there’s too much left to the imagination otherwise. The only exceptions possible on this front would be extremely simple substitutions of similar instruments (e.g. “The tenor part could be sung by a soprano instead.”).


7.) Can I submit MIDI realizations instead of live recordings?

We understand that it’s not always feasible to get a live recording in time for an application, and we do accept MIDI realizations, but please keep in mind that MIDI realizations are always at a disadvantage in applications. MIDI mock-ups are not all created equal; any efforts to make the timbre/playback of a realization as realistic/expressive as possible are very appreciated on this end, and will help us get a sense of your piece.


8.) How do I put together a basic MIDI realization?

If you use Finale or Sibelius, you can put together a quick and dirty mock-up by following these instructions for exporting playback from Finale or from Sibelius. This will export your audio in an uncompressed (.wav or .aif/aiff), both of which can be converted to MP3 using iTunes (see below).

There are many things you can do to make your MIDI realization an improvement over raw notation program playback. Using a plug-in or just editing a “playback” version of your score to make sure artificial string harmonics play back correctly is a big help. Making sure your transposing score plays back at concert pitch is another. A very useful upgrade is using samples for extended techniques (if you have any) and editing them into your playback.

Note: Putting together a truly professional-level MIDI realization may rely on different software and/or fantastic (and potentially expensive) sample libraries, but if it’s within your ability and skill set to do so, it’s highly recommended.


9.) How do I convert my audio to MP3?

There are many possible options, but one particularly common one is by using iTunes (which is made by Apple, but is cross-platform). A tutorial is available here. After converting the file, the new file could be in a number of different locations, depending on your preferences. If you’re unsure where your preferences have set your new file, you can Get Info on that track, which should show you the location of the file.

(Please note that, since audio files are quite large, our judges are not downloading files in order to listen to them; we’re streaming them online. The audio player our site uses can’t accommodate other file formats.)


10.) How do I convert my bio/resume/score to PDF?

On Macs running OSX, select “Save to PDF” from your print dialog.

On PCs:


11.) My piece hasn’t been recorded yet, but I can’t submit a MIDI realization because it calls for extended techniques. What should I do?

Extended techniques aren’t necessarily a barrier to using MIDI. We’ve received a number of great applications over the years that include a mix of MIDI and live samples of extended techniques and/or improvised passages. These do take extra work, of course, but it may be worth it to you to record/obtain a sample library and edit realizations together if you often strongly prefer to submit new pieces that have not yet been recorded, and often use extended techniques. If that’s beyond your abilities or unsuitable for the piece, however, submitting a different piece would be best.


12.) My piece isn’t traditionally notated, and I don’t think a recording would represent it properly. What should I do?

If the nature of your piece is such that you feel a recording would be misleading in some way, please e-mail Jen Wang (jen@wildrumpusmusic.org) and describe your situation. (Please also see question #11, though, and make sure your issue isn’t described there!)

For pieces that are open-ended in some aspect of pitch/time (say, improvisatory or instruction-based pieces), it might be best to hear multiple realizations of the same piece, to get a sense of the range of possibilities for the piece. (Please make a note in your submission that the multiple recordings represent multiple performances, instead of movements in the same performance.)


13.) I’m having a problem with the submissions site.

Please visit Submittable’s tech support site for problems with using the online application system.

For other questions or problems, feel free to contact jen@wildrumpusmusic.org. Please do not e-mail your application materials as attachments unless asked to do so. (Our inboxes don’t have room for very many audio files!)