New Music on the Bayou 2021

Our 2021 Call-for-Scores is now open. The submission period runs from February 1 to March 7. Notifications of acceptance will be made on April 5. Below are the submission categories and guidelines. N.B. the scholarship application is to be submitted separately.


 (For scholarship eligibility and guidelines, see here.)




Live Performers
Duo Per Se (piano and clarinet)
Black Bayou Brass (brass trio)
Delamo Duo (single reeds and keyboard percussion)
NMB Percussion Group (up to 4)
Solo or Mixed Ensemble (performers provided)

  • flute (2)

  • oboe

  • bassoon

  • all clarinets/saxophones (2)

  • trumpet (2)

  • horn

  • trombone (2)

  • tuba

  • guitar

  • piano

  • soprano (2) 

  • percussion (5)

  • violin

  • cello

Digital Media

  • Digital Media - two-channel with or without video; with or without live performers

  • Live Improvisatory Self-Performed - acoustic, electronic, or combined allowed; maximum performers: 3 (composer must be a performer)

  • Installation Works - Self-contained works of sound art, sound sculptures, sonic multimedia, or related works; these works can be continuous, looping, interactive, etc., but should not be site-specific and should be suitable for exhibition in both galleries and non-traditional exhibition spaces.


Digital Media Guidelines

  • New Music on the Bayou can provide two-channel playback and video playback; composers are responsible for providing all other technical requirements/needs. Feel free to contact us about the possibility of our assistance in meeting additional requirements.

  • For works without a score, a recording must be submitted.

  • For Live Improvisation works, a written explanation of the improvisation path (one-page maximum uploaded under program notes) as well as a recording of the work (or a recording of a previous work using a similar process) must be submitted.

  • For Installation works, a project description (one-page maximum uploaded under program notes) and any other applicable supporting documentation must be submitted.

  • For all Digital works, a document listing all technical requirements must be submitted.

Additional Guidelines

  • Composers must be present at the festival in person or virtually to have their piece performed. We are mindful of the fact that the most likely scenario for June 2021 includes some level of risk or discomfort for some travelers. Selected composers that want to take part in the festival but cannot attend will be asked to 1) make a short video presentation (5 -10 minutes) discussing their piece; 2) virtually attend all streamed concerts; and 3) virtually attend all composer activities including “flash presentations” and panel discussions.

  • Pieces of any length are eligible, but priority will be given to pieces under 15 minutes.

  • Works composed within the previous three years are encouraged.

  • Composers must be able to provide computer-generated parts for performers as PDF files.

  • For purposes of impartiality during the judging process for the Black Bayou Composition Award, composers’ names must be removed from the score when submitted.

  • Two works will be selected and set by professional choreographers. Indicate your desire for consideration in the appropriate box during the application process.

  • On the application form, you will be required to submit a score and you have the option of submitting a link to a recording (live or electronically generated); to be included in the adjudication process for the Black Bayou Composition Award, the recording must also be anonymous, i.e. no names in the file or on profiles such as SoundCloud in which the composer could be identified.


COVID-19 Protocols

Given that we are working with unknowns regarding the health situation as it might exist in June, we want to assure those that are able and want to travel to the festival that we will do everything we can to make sure it is a safe environment for all in-person attendees. This will most likely include caps on attendance at all events, social distancing in all indoor venues, and the possibility of mask mandates at times. We will follow all guidance given by the CDC, the state of Louisiana, and the institutions of ULM, Louisiana Tech, and Grambling State University.



Black Bayou Composition Award
The Black Bayou Composition Award will be presented to the piece “that best reflects the connection between music and nature.” This award is sponsored in part by Friends of Black Bayou, and will be adjudicated by composers and performers outside of the festival staff. The winner will receive $500 and a commission for next year's festival. Two runners-up will receive $100 each.


Travel and Lodging
The primary goal of the festival is to bring new music from composers around the world to members of our communities and to engage in a dialogue about the future of new music. We hope health and safety protocols are such that travel is possible in June. We will publish a travel guide that includes hotel(s) with a special rate and a transportation schedule for commuting between venues and the hotel. Lyft, Uber, and Ez-Rydr are available options.


Travel Scholarships

We now have three travel scholarships of $800 each available to encourage a broad spectrum of diversity at the festival. The scholarship application is submitted separately. These scholarships are meant to bolster participation in our festival by underrepresented communities, whether defined by gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, or other. One of the three scholarships is specifically designated for a Black composer to address historical and systemic racial inequality in the field of American composition. This scholarship was approved in June of 2020. Our statement on equality can be found here.


Professional audio recordings will be provided at no charge to composers after the festival. New Music on the Bayou reserves the right to use recordings and images from the festival on our website and promotional materials.