Composers Forum

Remarkable Tutoring and Developmental Opportunities
What we are offering

Composers Forum

The Vienna Summer Music Festival Composers Forum provides developing and emerging composers the chance to develop their compositional skills, and have their music premiered and recorded in Vienna.


Composition students will have the opportunity to bring their in progress compositions for chamber orchestra and mixed chamber ensembles, for further workshopping and development by the Composers Forum faculty. Composition students will take private composition lessons with Viennese composers, attend lectures on contemporary music and advanced theory topics, and will have the opportunity to have their original works coached, and ultimately performed in the culminating Vienna Summer Music Festival Contemporary Music Concert.

Composers will have their pieces performed by PHACE, a professional contemporary music ensemble residing in Vienna. Participants can write for any combination of instruments including: Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass, and Piano.

Students who have works for other instrumentations including voice will be considered for performance and should contact us at

At the end of the festival, there will be the VSMF: Contemporary Music Concert where all Composer Forum participants will receive a performance of their works.

our Visiting Guest Contemporary Music Ensemble

PHACE has been active in the contemporary music scene for many years, and is one of the most innovative and versatile Austrian ensembles for new music. Alongside the focus on classical contemporary chamber music, the artistic range reaches from music theatre productions all the way to multidisciplinary projects comprising dance, theatre, performance, electronics, video, DJs, turntablists, installation art and many more. The ensemble has commissioned and premiered more than 200 compositions thus far.


The ensemble, currently comprised of ten active members, regularly invites musicians and guests from a variety of artistic backgrounds for collaborative performances.


Since the mid-1990s, the ensemble has appeared in the most renowned concert halls and festivals in Austria and abroad, including Wien Modern, Klangspuren Schwaz, deSingel, rainy Days Luxembourg, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam, Festival d’Avignon, Le Parvis Scène nationale Tarbes Pyrénées, Festival d’Automne à Paris, Salzburger Festspiele, King’s Place, Carinthischer Sommer, Philharmonie Luxemburg, Osterfestival Tirol, Osterfestival Krems, Wiener Festwochen, generator, Wiener Konzerthaus, Transart Bozen, Berliner Festspiele, Ultraschall Berlin, Salihara Festival Indonesien, SonEMUS Festival, Bludenzer Tage zeitgemäßer Musik, Festival Musica Strasbourg, Thaliatheater Hamburg, MarchMusicDays Ruse, etc.


Since the 2012-13 season, PHACE has produced its own concert cycle at the Wiener Konzerthaus. Beginning in 2015, the ensemble releases recordings under a label of the same name, PHACE.

Remarkable Tutoring


Composition Lessons

Composition students will receive private composition lessons with prominent Viennese composers.  

Master Classes

Composers will have the opportunity to have their works critiqued by visiting guest artists. Master Classes will be conducted with visiting guest artists and are open to all festival participants to observe.


Composers will have their own compositions coached by one of our instrumental faculty or visiting guest artists.



Composition students will attend a lecture series on spectralism that cover a variety of techniques ranging from the practices of Grisey to digital techniques utilized in modern composition.


Music and Human Physiology

Composition students will attend a lecture series will occur on the impact of discrete musical structures and their impact human physiology. Students will learn about the past several decades of empirical research including how music affects the brain and the body and how this knowledge can help develop innovative compositional techniques.

Composition students will also have the opportunity to attend additional lectures by distinguished visiting artists who will lecture on their specialized areas of research.

Form and Structure in Contemporary Music

Composition students will learn how contemporary composers achieve formal development outside traditional common practice tonal music.

Works by Schoenberg, Bartok, Cage, Feldman, and Reich, amongst others, will be discussed.

A Day in the Life

Vienna Summer Music Festival Schedule


June 10th  – Arrive in Vienna

June 11th – Orientation: Experience Vienna


Typical Daily Schedule

9:00am – 12:00pm – Private lessons and seminars

12:00pm – 1:30pm – Lunch

1:30pm – 5:00pm – Afternoon Session: Coachings and master classes

5:00pm – 6:30pm – Dinner

6:30pm – 10:00pm – Night Session: Rehearsals or free time



Weekend in Salzburg


Performance Schedule

The Vienna Summer Music Festival Contemporary Music Concert will occur the week of June 24th.



July 1st  – Depart for US

What Do I Need?

Application Requirements

Applicants for the Composition Forum should submit two original scores representing that best represent their skill as a composer, there are no stylistic restrictions. Please also include a typed document in your submission indicating which type of ensemble you would like to write for. Chamber ensembles between 3 – 7 performers are most accessible with this program with the exclusion of percussion. Opportunities to have orchestral scores read are possible.


All application materials including YouTube links, audio files and scores should be submitted via a single link to an approved file sharing site such as Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, or iCloud, or by mail to For questions regarding submitting via file sharing visit the application section of the FAQ page.


Scores should be submitted in PDF format, and recordings of these works should be submitted in MP3 or MIDI files.


Files names should include the applicant’s first and last name, program of interest, and the creation date of the score and recording.(Example: Emily Brown_Composition Forum_08/16.MP3)


All applicants should receive an initial response in 3-5 business days.


An application fee of $35 is required for submission.



Scholarships are available, and will be awarded up to $1,500 to select applicants. For those applicants that are interested in applying for scholarship, a brief scholarship application essay of no more than 500 words answering the question, “What are your career goals, and how would a scholarship to the Vienna Summer Music Festival help you achieve those goals?”, a letter of recommendation, and a copy of the applicant’s unofficial transcripts (if applicable), should be sent in addition to application materials. The subject line should contain the applicant’s first and last name, program of interest, and the text “Scholarship Essay.”


Interested applicants will receive scholarship funds based upon their submitted audition materials and essay.


Scholarship Application Requirements:


1) 500 word Scholarship Essay answering, “What are your career goals, and how would a scholarship to the Vienna Summer Music Festival help you achieve those goals?”

2) A letter of scholarship recommendation (separate from general application letter of recommendation)

3) A copy of unofficial transcripts (If applicable)


All scholarship application materials should be emailed to


Letters of recommendation can be emailed by the recommender to

  • 3500/M
  • Composers Forum
    •       Four private composition lessons
    •       Composition critique
    •       Master classes
    •       Seminars
    •       Housing
    •       Weekend in Salzburg
    •       Cultural excursions
    •       Local Transportation