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A Far Cry's Young Composers Competition, 2017-18

A Far Cry is delighted to host its inaugural Young Composers Competition, a call for string orchestra scores by composers 18 years of age and under. The winning entry will be performed on A Far Cry’s program Fresco which features works connected to the city of Naples, home of the first music conservatories.

The Concert

"Fresco" will feature the following works:

  • Alessandro Scarlatti: Sinfonia from La caduta de’ Decemviri
  • Luciano Berio: selection of Violin Duos
  • [AFC Young Composers Competition winner]
  • Gioachino Rossini: String Sonata No. 3 in C Major
  • Nicola Porpora: Calcante ed Achille

The premiere will take place in Boston, MA, April 28, 2018 at St. John’s Church in Jamaica Plain, and the program will be repeated April 29, 2018 at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Calderwood Hall. The winner will receive professional audio recordings of both performances.


  • Compositions should be written for string orchestra of the following size:
    • Violin I (5)
    • Violin II (4)
    • Viola (3)
    • Cello (3)
    • Bass (2)
  • Compositions should not exceed 10 minutes in length
  • Compositions must be composed solely by the entrant
  • Entrants must be 18 years of age or under on February 1, 2018
  • Entries must have been written in the last year (since February 2017)
  • Entrants must submit:
    • an online entry form
    • PDF score and parts of the work in its final form, as well as a brief bio emailed to with the subject line “AFC Young Composers Competition"
    • For reference, these guidelines may be downloaded here


Judging and Timeline

  • A committee of A Far Cry musicians will meet to review submissions and select finalists
  • Musicians from A Far Cry will play and discuss finalists to decide the winner
  • All submissions must be received by February 1, 2018.
  • Entrants will be notified of results on or before April 1, 2018.


A Far Cry, Inc. (AFC) is a conductorless string chamber orchestra, founded in 2007 by a collective of 17 young professional musicians. The ensemble strives to ignite a love for great music, producing top level concerts and recordings with innovative programming, bringing classical music to life with its energy and deep commitment, and sharing its joy for unconventional music making with audiences locally and internationally. To do this AFC employs a uniquely democratic model, rotating leadership roles and engaging in artistic decision making collaboratively, a design that strengthens and affirms the sense of commitment within the group, and acts as a vast source of creative potential.

The core of the ensemble's work lies in its Boston programming which comprises its neighborhood series in Jamaica Plain at St. John's Episcopal Church; a series at Jordan Hall; and a series at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. The latter two are part of formal residencies held by AFC at those institutions.

AFC frequently undertakes concert tours of the United States, and recently completed its second tour of Europe in July 2016. Domestic tours for the current season include a collaboration with Simone Dinnerstein featuring a new piano concerto by Philip Glass, and The Blue Hour, a new feature-length song cycle, co-composed by Rachel Grimes, Sarah Kirkland Snider, Angelica Negron, Shara Nova, and Caroline Shaw, and sung by Luciana Souza.

AFC also operates its own record label, Crier Records, which allows the ensemble to bring its innovative programming to a wider audience. The label has released three albums so far: Dreams & Prayers, Law of Mosaics, and a limited release of a live performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s "Transfigured Night." These releases have brought AFC national attention and critical acclaim, including a Grammy nomination.

AFC is committed to the commissioning of new works, with 20 world premieres, plus dozens of arrangements for string orchestra. These commissions include works by composers such as Derek Bermel, Philip Glass, Ted Hearne, Vijay Iyer, Mehmet Sanlikol, and Caroline Shaw.

A Far Cry’s performances of Fresco and the 2017-18 Young Composers Competition is supported in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which receives support from the State of Massachusetts and the National Endowment for the Arts.