6TH International Jazz Composers’ Symposium

May 16-18, 2024
Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music
Nashville, TN USA

Sponsored By:
The International Society of Jazz Arrangers & Composers


Call for Scores & Papers

The sixth International Jazz Composers’ Symposium, co-sponsored by Vanderbilt University and the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers (ISJAC), will be held at the Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music in Nashville, TN from May 16-18, 2024. The Symposium is designed as a forum to bring jazz composers of all ages and nationalities together for an informal exchange of ideas, information, and inspiration. This year’s Symposium will include noted master artists in a series of concerts, lectures, master classes, panel discussions, research presentations, and industry sessions. 

Call for Scores

Composers of all ages and nationalities are invited to submit scores and recordings for inclusion in one of several featured new music / master class sessions as well as consideration for ISJAC’s “SONIC” Awards. Works selected will be aired for listening by the open Symposium audience (along with projected score whenever possible) with each composer offering brief insights into his/her compositional concepts. 

Applicants may submit only one work and must elect to submit in one of three categories:

  • First Takes
  • New Music Master Class Workshops
  • Student/Young Artist Master Class Workshops

First Takes (formerly New Music Presentations) is open to all; but has been renamed and redesigned to provide a setting for more accomplished composers to share their latest projects directly with the audience – including works that have yet to be released or are still in the production stage.  Presenters are encouraged to share scores, recordings, or videos of their work while offering insights into their creative process & new conceptions.  Feedback may be requested from those in the audience, but there will be no clinicians. While these works must have been composed within the last 3 years, they MAY have already been commercially released or published. Applicants to this category are NOT eligible for SONIC Award consideration.

New Music Master Class Workshops offer composer/arrangers the opportunity to share their new works with Symposium attendees while receiving constructive feedback from one or more of our featured master artists.  To be eligible, all works must have been composed or originally arranged within the last three years and must NOT have been commercially published or released. Applicants to the New Music Workshops ARE automatically entered into consideration for the SONIC Awards and, therefore, must further select the category that best defines their submitted work.

    • Large ensemble,
    • Small ensemble (9 instruments/parts or less),
    • Arrangement (Large or small ensemble)

Student/Young Artist Master Class Workshops offer those applicants 26 years old or younger OR actively enrolled in a university program the opportunity to share their works with Symposium attendees while receiving constructive feedback from an accomplished team of jazz composers/educators. Students may submit works for either big band or combo with all submissions entered into consideration for student SONIC Award.

All composers/arrangers are asked to submit:

  • a completed application form (found on the ISJAC website),
  • a PDF of the score(s),
  • a MP3 recording (we STRONGLY recommend composers submit the very best recording possible)
  • a bio (no more than 100 words)

IMPORTANT!!  Note:  Scores and recordings should exclude any information that might identify the composer but must include title of work, instrumentation, and duration.

SONIC Concert
One work in each category will be recognized with the 2024 SONIC “Symposium Outstanding New Instrumental Composition/Arrangement” Award – that work being featured in a performance on the Symposium’s SONIC concert. Large ensemble compositions will be performed by our resident jazz orchestra, The Ryan Middagh Jazz Orchestra, with small group personnel culled from this group. (Composers of selected small group works that would prefer to supply their own ensemble may do so.)  To be considered for this opportunity, large ensemble compositions must be scored for standard jazz big band (5,4,4,PBGD).  Typical doubles are permitted. Only works of less than 10 minutes will be performed in their entirety.  Longer works may be submitted but will have to be excerpted for the performance.

Call for Papers

The Symposium welcomes proposals from scholars and composers of all ages and nationalities for presentations of their own research related to aspects of jazz composition: analyses, historical perspectives, the creative process, business/audience models, criticism, etc. Presentations will be limited to 25 minutes – inclusive of time for questions and comments from the audience. 

Research papers must not have been presented at any other conference or forum. While they may have been submitted for publication, they must not have appeared in print prior to the Symposium. Composers may present analyses of their own composition but are encouraged to do so only if their work has been widely disseminated through recordings and/or publication. (Works that have already been disseminated ARE eligible for consideration for the Poster Sessions. See below.)

Interested researchers should submit:

  • an application form (found on the ISJAC website),
  • An abstract of the paper (250 words or less)
  • a bio (no more than 100 words)

Poster Sessions

The poster session at the Jazz Composers’ Symposium is designed to be a flexible and informal way in which presenters can share their work (whether compositions, papers, original research/analyses, or any other related work) with interested individuals, readily engaging in conversations that lead to greater understanding and/or new opportunities.

Here’s how it works!  Selected individuals will be assigned a poster board (cork backed upon which scores or papers may be pinned up) and/or table space (where laptops with head sets, CDs, or print-outs maybe displayed).  Symposium attendees will have two hours in which to stroll through the hall, taking in the new projects/papers, while engaging in discussions with the artists/scholars themselves.

In this format:

  • Composers may present any works they deem of interest including works:
    • written more than 3 years ago, as well as
    • published or commercially recorded works.
  • Papers presented at other conferences will be considered for poster presentation. However, a statement specifying the particulars of any prior presentations must accompany the submission.

Interested Poster Session applicants should submit:

  • an application form (found on the ISJAC website),
  • a brief description of your presentation (250 words or less)
  • a bio (no more than 100 words)

Submission Date For All Presentations

Membership in ISJAC is required in order to apply to present at the Symposium. To be considered, submissions must be received by ISJAC on or before Thursday, October 20th, 2023 at 11:59 PM EST.

The application deadline has passed.

Review/Notification Procedures

Submissions will be reviewed by a panel of highly qualified composers/scholars.  Notification of acceptance will be made by ISJAC on Monday December 4, 2023.  Presenters will be notified by email.  If multiple works are submitted in the Call For Scores category, only the latest submission will be considered.



All participants must register for the Symposium. Expenses for attending the symposium are the sole responsibility of the participant. To register for the symposium, click below to go to the registration page.