First Commission

This new program awards young composers with support aimed to encourage artistic potential and creative development. Pre-college aged composers from notable New York music programs (e.g., Luna Composition Lab, New York Philharmonic Very Young Composers) are nominated and reviewed by a jury. Selected composers receive a Composers Now commission and world premiere at the Composers Now Festival Opening Event.

This commissioning initiative is made possible through the generosity of Composers Now board member and composer Michael Minard and Phyllis Ross.

2022 First Commission

Ebun Oguntola

Interim for trio and electronics (2022)

New Thread Quartet
Jonathan Hulting-Cohen, soprano saxophone
Erin Rogers, alto saxophone & mentor
Zach Herchen, baritone saxophone

Ebon Oguntola
The recipient of the 2022 Composers Now First Commission Award is Ebun Oguntola. Ebun is a 16-year-old contemporary classical composer, violinist, pianist and saxophonist living in upstate New York. Her music was brought to the attention of Composers Now by the founders of Luna Composition Lab, Missy Mazzoli and Ellen Reid. With mentorship from composer/saxophonist Erin Rogers, Ebun will create a chamber work for the New Thread Quartet that received its world premiere as part of the Opening Event of the 2022 Composers Now Festival.


2021 First Commission

Paloma Alonso

Darian Donovan Thomas, violin
Shayna Dunkelman, percussion
Angélica Negrón, mentor

Paloma Alonoso

Paloma Alonso is a New York City native. She is 13 years old and attends the Léman Manhattan Preparatory School. Her parents, both classical concert pianists, were her first piano teachers. Alonso cites her Cuban father and Albanian mother as major inspirations for introducing her to music of all styles and genres. She began studying cello six years ago with Juilliard-trained teacher Yves Dharamraj and also pursues her passion for dance at the school of New York Theatre Ballet where she has trained rigorously since the age of four. Alonso joined the New York Philharmonic Young Composers Program in 2017. She commented that "This wonderful program opened a whole new world of expression to me. Composing is another tool that allows me to be expressive in a beautiful and artistic way". In December 2019, on a Young People's Concert, the Philharmonic performed Alonso's Sweating Bullets under the baton of its Music Director Jaap van Zweeden. The orchestral work was scheduled to be performed by the Philharmonic again in April of 2020 but, was unfortunately cancelled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.


2020 First Commission

Ilaria Loisa Hawley

Quando L'acqua riflette (When the Water Reflects)
Performed by Face The Music
Isabella Caurucci, flute
Yusei Hata, melodica
Oriana Hawley, viola
John Waller, triangle
Vasudevan Panicker, coach 

Ilaria Louisa Hawley

Born in 2009, Ilaria Loisa Hawley is the recipient of a 2019 ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award and the inaugural recipient of Claire Chase's Pnea Foundation Young Flutist Award. Ilaria's music has been performed by the New York Philharmonic and Face the Music, and she is a composition student of Mathew Fuerst and a flute student of Zara Lawler. She attends PS 314 Muscota New School and enjoys drawing, drama, reading, rock climbing, and making earrings.

video by Nan Melville