Dream American 2024 application

Pacific Chamber Orchestra is pleased to announce the fourth annual reading and performance workshop for emerging composers of new works representing/emanating from/dedicated to an aspect of the cultural heritages and diversity that constitutes our American tapestry. Dream American is open to composers who are U.S. Citizens, permanent U.S. residents or are establishing themselves as such and able to provide supporting documentation. BIPOC, ALANA, and LGBTQIA and all URG applicants are strongly encouraged to apply. PCO is committed to inclusiveness.

Up to five composers will be selected for participation. Selection is based upon two factors: the quality of the work submitted and the potential benefit and growth for the composer. Each participating composer will receive a $500 award. All decisions are at the discretion of the judges and final. Selected composers must attend and are responsible for all their own expenses. PCO may be able to host individual composers.

Reading/workshop date: Sunday Oct 27 in Livermore, CA.


  • Deadline for applications and score submissions: August 25, 2024 @ 11:59 PM
  • Notification of winners September 1, 2024
  • Parts must arrive by October 1, 2024; if parts are not received by this date, there is no guarantee that the composer will be allowed to participate, the work read or the award granted.

Opportunities and process once selected:

  • Each composer will have a zoom meeting with the conductor prior to the workshop.
  • A google doc forum with orchestra members will allow for technical matters to be addressed.
  • During the workshop the work will be read, discussed with conductor & Composer Mentors and rehearsed. A public performance of all works with an audience Q&A followed by a celebratory dinner will conclude the day.
  • A zoom panel discussion with all workshop participants, the composer mentors and conductor reviewing each work and the readings will be held a week or so following the workshop.
  • The public performance will be videotaped and recorded for private study purposes, applications, and resume portfolios for seeking other commissions.  All other uses must be first approved by PCO. All public displays and sharing including website, social media, YouTube, etc. are expressly prohibited.

Submission requirements:

Duration: Preferably 6-8 minutes of music, with 4 minutes as the minimum amount, and 10 minutes as the maximum amount.


 Submission may be a complete piece, a movement or section of a larger work. It must not have been read or performed by a professional orchestra. It is not a work for soloist and orchestra. No piano. If it is a version of another work, it must be substantially different. If the instrumentation of the submitted work is somewhat different from the required instrumentation below, it must be able to be modified to fil the requirements with the parts and score to arrive by October 1. All selections made are at the discretion of the judges.

Instrumentation parameters:

  • Maximum: 1 flute (pic), 1 oboe (EH), 1 clarinet (b.cl), 1 bassoon, 1 French horn, 1 trumpet, 1 trombone,     1 harp, 3 percussion: 4 timpani, vibraphone (for a large mallet part), various drums and small percussion instruments,  4 Violin I, 3 Violin II, 3 Viola, 2 Cello, 1 String Bass. Please inquire as to the availability of other specific percussion instruments.       
  • Minimum: 4 Violin I, 3 Violin II, 3 Viola, 2 Cello, 1 String Bass plus at least 5 other non percussion instruments.

Dream American 2024 Application

Please fill out the application completely. Upload your completed score as a PDF file. If you have an MP3 file of your work, you may also upload it, but this step is optional. If you have any questions, email administrator@pacificchamberorchestra.org

Pacific Chamber Orchestra

The Pacific Chamber Orchestra (PCO), now in its 34th season, is dedicated to sustaining and extending the rich heritage of classical music for chamber orchestra through inspiring performances and engaging educational programs designed to enrich local communities.

PCO musicians perform in the San Francisco Symphony, Opera or Ballet Orchestras, touring Broadway shows and feature films recorded at Skywalker Ranch. PCO is a resident company of Livermore’s Bankhead Theater and also performs concert series in Lafayette. 

Maestro Lawrence Kohl

Frequently noted by critics for his creative programming and bold interpretations, Kohl was awarded special recognition in 2016 by the Cultural Arts Commission of Contra Costa County for his contribution to the arts.

Kohl’s creative work led to the marketing firm AKQA receiving a Silver Lion award from the 2013 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Kohl was chosen to premier a new work for the 60th Anniversary of the United Nations held at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. Awarded the UCLA Music Department’s first University Chancellor Fellowship, Kohl did his doctoral work in Systematic Musicology while also holding the position of Conducting Teaching Associate under Samuel Krachmalnick, Leonard Bernstein’s chosen conductor of his original Broadway production of “Candide.” Kohl later also worked with Goffredo Cordietti, Arturo Toscanini’s only conducting assistant. A consummate clarinetist, Kohl has performed chamber music internationally and toured with the San Francisco Symphony. Videos about PCO and Kohl can be seen on our website: www.pacificchamberorchestra.org

Kurt Rohde, Composer Mentor

Kurt Rohde [they/he] plays viola, teaches and composes, and lives in San Francisco on unceded Ramaytush Ohlone land with spouse Tim and dog Hendrix. Kurt is fascinated with finding ways to incorporate notions of failure and catastrophe as part of the pursuit of making something beautiful. Kurt is Artistic Advisor with the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Artistic Director of the Composers Conference, and teaches Music Composition at UC Davis. Kurt has received the Rome Prize, Berlin Prize, fellowships from the Radcliffe-Harvard Institute for Advanced Study and Guggenheim Foundation, and awards from American Academy of Arts and Letters, Barlow, Fromm, Hanson and Koussevitzky Foundations, Chamber Music America and Creative Capital.

Recent projects include new works for Hidejiro Honjoh, the Lydian String Quartet, the Grossman Ensemble, and Ensemble Échappé. His CD, It wasn’t a dream… , was released on Albany Records in Spring 2020. A recipient of a 2021 Creative Capital Award, Kurt is working on a collaborative project with artist Marie Lorenz and writer Dana Spiotta. Newtown Odyssey will be a floating opera addressing environmental catastrophe and justice. He is a recipient of a 2021 NEA grant to collaborate with poet Donna Masini on a micro-opera based on her collection 4:30 Movie.

Kurt has spearheaded two initiatives to help create opportunities for composers: The Kurt Rohde Composers Fund is an ongoing commissioning project supporting composers at different stages of their creative life, and Kurt Rohde’s Farewell Tour Project – PARTS 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6 targets underappreciated creative voices in the new music community by commissioning new works for viola.

Laurie St. Martin, Composer Mentor

Laurie San Martin (she/her) writes music that creates a compelling narrative by exploring the intersection between texture and line. Critics have described her music as exuberant, colorful, forthright, high octane, tumultuous, intricate, intense, and rumbly. She writes concert music for chamber ensembles, chorus, and orchestra but has also written for theater, dance, and video. Her music has been performed across the United States, Europe, and Asia. 

Laurie has written for numerous ensembles including the Daedalus Quartet, Berlin Piano/Percussion, Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Radius Ensemble, Eighth Blackbird, Earplay, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, SF Chamber Orchestra, the Lydian Quartet, Magnetic South Ensemble, Washington Square Contemporary Chamber Players, and others. 

Recent accolades include a Barlow Commission in 2023, an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2018, and a 2016 Guggenheim Fellowship. Past recognitions include a fellowship from the Fromm Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, League of Composers-ISCM, the International Alliance for Women in Music, and the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer’s Awards. As a composition fellow, she has attended the MacDowell Colony, the Montalvo Artist Residency, Yaddo, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Norfolk Contemporary Chamber Music Festival and the Composers Conference at Wellesley College. In summer, 2023, Laurie participated as a faculty mentor with the Cortona Sessions for New Music. 

Laurie holds a PhD from Brandeis University in Theory and Composition. She has taught at Clark University and is currently Professor of Music at the University of California, Davis. Her music can be found on the New Focus Recordings Label of Music from the Association for the Promotion of New Music (APNM), Left Coast Chamber Ensemble’s “San Francisco Premieres” CD, released in 2005 and a recent Ravello CD “Tangos for Piano” performed by Amy Briggs.

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