Pacific Chamber Orchestra is pleased to announce a new reading 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. BIPOC, ALANA, and LGBTQIA and all URG applicants are strongly encouraged to apply. PCO is committed to inclusiveness. Workshop participants may work with a Composer Mentor. Composer Mentors are Jean Ahn and Kurt Rohde.

  • Reading/workshop dates: Saturday Oct 30 and/or Sunday Oct 31
  • Locations: Lafayette and/or Livermore, CA
  • Submission may be a complete piece, a movement or section of a larger work. This version must not have been performed by a professional orchestra.
  • Composers must attend and participate in the reading workshop covering their own travel costs.
  • Duration: Preferably 6-8 minutes of music, with 4 minutes as the minimum amount, and 10 minutes as the maximum amount. All works will be rehearsed, played, discussed with conductor Lawrence Kohl and a Composer Mentor, and then rehearsed again and read through in full  All sessions will be recorded for study use by participant guest composers.

Instrumentation parameters:

  • Maximum: 1 flute/piccolo, 1 oboe/English horn, 1 clarinet/bass clarinet/e-flat clarinet, 1 bassoon, 1 French horn, 1 trumpet, 1 trombone, 1 harp, 2 timpani/percussion (one may be timpani, and/or one large mallet, plus smaller percussion instruments); 4 Violin I, 3 Violin II, 3 Viola, 2 Cello, 1 String Bass.
  • Minimum: full strings plus at least three other instruments


  • Applications acceptance opens July 12
  • Deadline for applications and score submissions: August 20 @ 11:59 PM
  • Notification of winners (3 per workshop) September 3
  • Parts must arrive by October 1; if parts not received by this date, there is no guarantee that the work will be included in the reading session

Application to include the following in PDF format and emailed to

  • Your contact information and Bio; either a standard bio format or a narrative form telling us about yourself and your creative & personal life (200 words or less),
  • Statement about your work and why this opportunity is important to you (200 words or less),
  • Completed score.

Jean Ahn, Composer Mentor

A native of Korea, composer Jean Ahn’s creative output ranges from solo instruments and chamber music to full orchestra, as well as choral, dance, and electroacoustic music. She is the director of Ensemble ARI, a Lecturer at UC Berkeley and the music director for CHIM Studio, specializing in music for special needs students.

She received First Prize at the Renée Fisher Competition and the Sejong Korean Music Competition as well as awards from the Korean National Music Composers Association, the De Lorenzo Prize in Music Composition, and the Isadora Duncan Award for Saltdoll. Last year, she was a Finalist for the League of American Orchestra Women Composers Commissioning Competition, and for the American Prize.

Her works have been performed by the Berkeley Symphony, Oakland East Bay Symphony, Memphis Symphony, Diablo Symphony, California Youth Symphony, Contemporaneous Ensemble, Dinosaur Annex, Earplay, Enhake, Ensemble Sur Plus, Invoke String Quartet, Khasma Duo and Aspen New Music Ensemble.

Commissions include works for the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Volti, SF Bach Choir, SF Choral Artists, Ong Dance Company, New Arts Collaboration, Gayaguem Soloist JUL, Locrian Chamber Players among others.

Her research into Korean folk songs, “Folksong Revisited”, has been presented at the College Music Society Symposium, the National Association of Singers Convention, and the Symposium for New Music in São Paulo, Brazil. With her folk song collection, she introduces Korean songs and techniques to professional performers in the US.  The recording, with a pronunciation guide, will be published this year.

Kurt Rohde, Composer Mentor

Musician Kurt Rohde [h/h/t/t] plays viola, teaches and composes. He lives in San Francisco on unceded Ramaytush Ohlone land with his husband Tim and their dog Hendrix. In addition to enjoying double IPAs, off-beat films, and long distant running, he plays viola and is Artistic Advisor with the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Artistic Director of the Composers Conference, a curator at the Center for New Music, and teaches music composition at UC Davis. He 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.

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.