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The Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute brings seven talented emerging composers to Orchestra Hall for a week of seminars, rehearsals and a public performance of their music.

An Immersive Experience 

Through the Composer Institute, which has been led by Pulitzer Prize-winning composers Kevin Puts and Aaron Jay Kernis, selected composers participate in seminars on musical, career and professional development topics with industry leaders, as well as sessions with Minnesota Orchestra musicians and consultations with the Composer Institute director and Osmo Vänskä, the Orchestra’s music director from 2003 to 2022 who now serves as conductor laureate. At week’s end, their works are performed by the Orchestra under Vänskä’s direction. The most recent Composer Institute concert, called MusicMakers, was held on Friday, May 6, 2022. View concert program information, program notes, composer profiles and other information in the Composer Institute booklet.

Interested in applying?

A call for submissions for the next Composer Institute will be shared on this page at a future date.

Composer Institute History

The Composer Institute is an outgrowth of the Minnesota Orchestra’s “Perfect Pitch” program, an series of new music reading sessions for Minnesota composers launched in 1996 in collaboration with the American Composers Forum. Perfect Pitch was reformulated in 2001 as the Composer Institute, as the program’s focus broadened and national participation was invited. In 2006 the Orchestra added a public concert of the composers' new works conducted by Osmo Vänskä. Composer Aaron Jay Kernis directed the program for its first 11 seasons and was succeeded by Kevin Puts in 2015, who led the program through the 2022 Institute.

Composer Institute Alumni 

Since 1996, 155 emerging composers have participated in the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute and its predecessor, Perfect Pitch. Many have since gone on to impressive careers, earning prestigious commissions and high honors, including multiple Grammy nominations and four shortlists for the Pulitzer Prize. Learn about some of their achievements and connections with other local ensembles