NOI+F Composition Academy


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About • Apply + Audition • Fellowship & Commission • Faculty


The NOI+F Composition Academy is dedicated to furthering the training and development of emerging composers, especially those historically excluded from the orchestral repertoire. Composition Academy participants receive individual mentorship from NOI+F composition faculty members and benefit from seminars, intensive score study, masterclasses, community engagements, new work readings and performance opportunities with NOI+F faculty and orchestral fellows.

  • Each fellow receives a $500 mini-commission to write a 10-minute work for sinfonietta. This will be rehearsed by two NOI+F conducting fellows under the guidance of NOI+F Music Director Marin Alsop. Each fellow’s work will be recorded and performed twice in a mainstage concert hosted by Maestra Alsop.  

  • Fellows will take part in several one-on-one masterclasses, work-sharing sessions and informal coffee table discussions with visiting composition faculty.

  • NOI+F composition faculty member Nathan Lincoln De-Cusatis will host a variety of industry sessions with professionals in music publishing, programming and other pertinent areas. Past sessions have included Philip Rothman (NYC Music Services), Jessie Montgomery, Marcia Farabee (Librarian, National Symphony), Bob Neu, (VP of Artistic Planning, Utah Symphony), Allison Weissman (Dworkin Management) and Mason Bates.

  • All who are 18 or older by May 29, 2024 may apply. The typical age range for NOI+F is 18 - 30 years old. 

Key Dates

  • Wednesday, November 4, 2023 – Application opens

  • Wednesday, January 10, 2024 – Applications due

  • Thursday, February 1, 2024 – Applicants notified of results

  • Friday, May 10, 2024 – Commissioned work due (parts & score)

  • Saturday, June 22 – Sunday, June 30, 2024 – Composition Academy Dates


Apply + Audition

2024 Application Requirements

  • Early Bird Fee (Before Dec 15, 2023): $50

  • Standard Fee (Dec 15, 2023 and later): $70

  • University of Maryland students apply with no fee! Email for further instructions.

  • Submit a résumé and two letters of recommendation

  • Letters of recommendation may be submitted directly with your application OR emailed to by your recommenders. Please have them include the subject line, "Letter of Recommendation, 'Your Name'." 

  • Submit PDF scores of two recent works along with their corresponding AUDIO or VIDEO recordings (required). Live or studio performances of works are strongly encouraged, although MIDI files will be accepted. Works can be for any instrumentation, but instrumental chamber or orchestral music is strongly preferred.



Fellowship & Commission

Award & Stipend

  • Composition academy fellows receive a full tuition fellowship, a $1,000.00 housing & travel stipend and a $500.00 commissioning fee for their 10-minute work.


  • Each composition academy fellow is provided with a $1000.00 housing & travel stipend. Composition academy fellows are responsible for finding their own housing in College Park, MD during their residency. Sublets for the duration of NOI+F Composition Academy near the University of Maryland campus can be found through a variety of websites. A list of resources will be provided to all fellows upon acceptance. Other housing options may be available through UMD Greek Life Housing.


  • Participants that wish to park their car on the University of Maryland campus will be required to purchase a parking permit from the University. Campus parking fees are set by the University’s Department of Transportation and are not under the purview of NOI+F. Discounted satellite parking options will be made available closer to the festival. More information will be made available regarding the cost and specific parking locations upon acceptance.



Each year our composition faculty include luminary composers from diverse backgrounds. Past faculty have included Clarice Assad, Mason Bates, Anna Clyne, Nathan Lincoln DeCusatis, Vivian Fung, Jennifer Higdon, Wang Jie, James Lee III, Jessie Montgomery, Brian Nabors, and Carlos Simon


Nathan Lincoln-DeCusatis is a jazz and classical composer based in New York City. His music encompasses a wide variety of media and styles including his jazz piano trio MOB RULE, the 10-piece improvising ensemble Micro-Orchestra, and classical pieces for orchestra, sinfonietta and chamber ensembles with a special emphasis on music evoking natural landscapes and wilderness spaces. His music has been described in Gramophone as “a dazzling, often momentous slice of life…” All About Jazz calls him “a musician that has absorbed the stylistic vocabularies of the greats and distilled them into his own personal approach both muscular and lyrical.” His music has been performed by The Utah Symphony, The National Orchestral Institute Philharmonic, The Chesapeake Orchestra, Inscape Chamber Orchestra, The Atlantic Reed Consort, Balance Campaign, Corvus, and by members of the St. Louis, and National Symphony Orchestras. In June, 2021 violinist Madeline Adkins gave the premiere performance of his violin concerto The Maze under the baton of Marin Alsop at the Filene Center at Wolftrap. Since 2015 he has served as composer-in-residence for the Pikes Falls Chamber Music Festival in Vermont, in 2018 he was the inaugural composer-in-residence for the Jackson Hole Chamber Music Festival in Wyoming. Awards and accolades include a 2019 New Music USA Project Grant, an American Music Center CAP award, the Walsum Prize, an Atlantic Center for the Arts residency under composer/musician Henry Threadgill, and the Ithaca College Smadbeck Prize.  His music was released on the Inscape Chamber Orchestra’s Grammy-nominated release Sprung Rhythm on the Sono Luminus label. Nathan holds degrees in composition from Ithaca College (BM) and the University of Maryland (DMA). He currently serves as Assistant Professor of Music at Fordham University where he teaches classes in music theory, jazz, and music production.

Jennifer Higdon is one of America’s most acclaimed and most frequently performed living composers. She is a major figure in contemporary Classical music, receiving the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto, a 2010 Grammy for her Percussion Concerto, a 2018 Grammy for her Viola Concerto and a 2020 Grammy for her Harp Concerto. In 2018, Higdon received the Nemmers Prize from Northwestern University which is given to contemporary classical composers of exceptional achievement who have significantly influenced the field of composition. Most recently, the recording of Higdon's Percussion Concerto was inducted into the Library of Congress National Recording Registry. Higdon enjoys several hundred performances a year of her works, and blue cathedral is today’s most performed contemporary orchestral work, with more than 600 performances worldwide. Her works have been recorded on more than seventy CDs. Higdon’s first opera, Cold Mountain, won the prestigious International Opera Award for Best World Premiere and the opera recording was nominated for 2 Grammy awards. Her music is published exclusively by Lawdon Press.

Latin Grammy-nominated Gabriela Ortiz is one of the foremost composers in Mexico today and one of the most vibrant musicians emerging on the international scene. Her musical language achieves an extraordinary and expressive synthesis of tradition and the avant-garde by combining high art, folk music and jazz in novel, frequently refined and always personal ways. Her compositions are credited for being both entertaining and immediate as well as profound and sophisticated; she achieves a balance between highly organized structure and improvisatory spontaneity. 

Gustavo Dudamel, the conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, called her recent work Téenek “one of the most brilliant I have ever directed. Its color, its texture, the harmony and the rhythm that it contains are all something unique. Gabriela possesses a particular capacity to showcase our Latin identity.” 

Ortiz has written music for dance, theater and cinema, and has actively collaborated with poets, playwrights, and historians. Indeed, her creative process focuses on the connections between gender issues, social justice, environmental concerns and the burden of racism, as well as the phenomenon of multiculturality caused by globalization, technological development, and mass migrations. She has composed three operas, in all of which interdisciplinary collaboration has been a vital experience. Notably, these operas are framed by political contexts of great complexity, such as the drug war in Only the Truth, illegal migration between Mexico and the United States in Ana and her Shadow, and the violation of university autonomy during the student movement of 1968 in Firefly.


  • Nathan Lincoln DeCusatis

  • Jennifer Higdon

  • Gabriela Ortiz


  • Marin Alsop

  • Mei-Ann Chen

Questions + Additional Information

If you have additional questions or would like additional information, contact us at or 301.405.2317.