How to find a real performance of my piece

• Aug 23, 2016 - 22:23

Hi everyone. You all know that I made my first Symphony in A Minor that you can check out here:

All I need to do is to find a REAL performance of this piece performed by a REAL ORCHESTRA. Every time I tried to search "Arianna Cunningham - Symphony No. 1 in A Minor" on Google or YouTube, Not a single thing or video of a performance of my piece is available. I published that piece on another website called "Free-Scores":

I can't keep on listening to a soundfont playing my piece. Speaking of soundfonts, here are different versions of soundfonts playing my piece that you can listen to hear:

GeneralUser GS Soundfont Version (Original):

Sonatina Symphonic Orchestra Version:

Squidfont Orchestral Soundfont Version (Make sure to turn your volume up a little bit):

And the Bellatrix Orchestra Version:

Is there any way for me to find a REAL performance of my piece with a REAL orchestra and how I should let an orchestra play my piece? Please comment below for answers and results.


PS: You can get the attachment of my Symphony below.

Attachment Size
Symphony No. 1 in A Minor.mscz 564.67 KB


You might have success contacting a local community orchestra or a university orchestra to see if they accept unsolicited submissions. Some have special concerts just for new works. Also look into competitions sponsored by different orchestras or other organizations. Good luck!

In reply to by Arianna2001

Which orchestras are you contacting? Major ones almost certainly won't have time to deal with unsolicited submissions. Start with small local community orchestras. Ideally, meet the music director in person at a concert or perhaps a presentation they do at your school. As I said, there are way more people writing music than there are opportunities to have it performed, so you need to be patient and persistent.

In reply to by Arianna2001

Definitely not the right place to start. Find our what local community orchestras are in your area and start there. You want to compete with a few other composers in your area, not with thousands and thousands in the whole world. And definitely check out sponsored competitions - probably.your best bet. Check online or ask your music teachers for advice but I know they are out therem especially for students.

What Marc said is correct. You will have to find an orchestra that would play it.
One way, that might work is that you use a high-quality personal orchestra like Garritan. Personal orchestras like that are usually spot-on in sounding very realistic (sometimes, one can not tell the difference).
I think your symphony is amazing!

In reply to by Elwin

You know Elwin, I think that would be a great idea. But the problem is is that, I can't find a way to download this software. And I can't buy it either because I'm only 15 years old. Maybe you can please try to get that software and maybe use it for my Symphony?


In reply to by Arianna2001

Arianna, you need to understand that even if you had the best and most expensive soundfont in the world, the artistic directors of the major symphony orchestras get SO many submissions from amateur composers that they simply can't listen to them all, and they don't have the time to try. In addition, at that level of musical expertise, the soundfont you use doesn't make any real difference; the artistic director of a world-class symphony orchestra could take a quick look at a PDF of your score and hear it in his head without needing to listen to an MP3 of it. So you don't need to spend your money on a fancy sound font. The basic soundfont provided on is more than good enough for most purposes. What's really important is the music itself, not the synthesised audio.

The reality of the music business is that, no matter how much native talent an unknown composer like you might have (and I listened to your symphony, and you do have talent although you need a lot of seasoning), no conductor at the level of the London Symphony is going bother with you until you've earned recognition at the lower levels. Marc is right: Start by submitting your work to local community orchestras and open composition competetions. Once you've 'made your mark' at that level, you can move to the next level--local 'small-city' orchestras such as Buffalo or Cincinnati. If you get performances from a few of them, you might then be in a position to get a hearing from one of the majors.

In reply to by Recorder485

Recorder485, I know what you are discussing about. Since I contacted some orchestras in my area for my piece, How am I supposed to open composition competitions for them? All though, you and marc are right. I need to submit my work to a local community orchestra. But how am I going to do that? And if they performed my piece, can you please send me a link of that performance?


In reply to by Arianna2001

We need to define a few terms first of all, so that we're all on the same page.

A 'community orchestra' is generally a semi-professional group made up of enthusiastic amateur players (as well as the better players in the local high-school orchestra). I played in such a group when I was in high school (about a million years ago), and it is a very rewarding experience. The orchestra is most often directed by the head of the local high-school music department, and it will give two or three concerts each year. It may also play to support the high-school's drama department's annual production of a Broadway musical. Orchestras such as these are not generally on the look-out for new compositions--their stock-in-trade is the standard repertoire that everybody knows and likes--but the musical director of such orchestras is a person who is MUCH more likely to actually listen to one of your compositions and get in touch with you about a possible performance.

An 'open composition competition' is a contest sponsored by any one of a number of different musical organisations. There are amateur player organisations for many specific types of instruments (such as the Viola da Gamba Society of America--VDGSA--or the American Recorder Society (AMS)), and these organisations will often sponsor 'open' composition competitions for their instrument(s). For instance, the VDGSA sponsors the annual Traynor competition for new music for viols; there is no entry fee, and the winner of the competition receives a (modest) cash prize and has his piece published by VDGSA for the benefit of the members. There are many competitions of this sort; try running an internet search for 'composition competition' and see what you turn up.

As to getting a 'link to a performance,' first you would have to persuade a musical group to perform your work, and second, that group would have to record or make a video of the performance and then upload that to a website such as YouTube or whatever. This does not happen automatically. (Making a professional-quality video is expensive; same goes for making a professional-quality sound recording.) If you are lucky enough to get a local community orchestra to perform one of your pieces, and IF they (or you) have the resources to record or video the performance, you should be able to get the link to the upload from them.

I have taken the trouble to listen to a few of the scores you have posted on your MuseScore account. From what I hear in your arrangements of standard works such as the Bach Toccata and Fugue in d, and the Pachelbel Cannon, you have a good grasp of basic harmony, but you also have a lot to learn about orchestration and most importantly about music history. I would suggest most strongly that when you have graduated from high school, you apply to a good music conservatory and see how far your talent can take you.

Good luck!

In reply to by Arianna2001

"Open" is an adjective here, not a verb :-). You don't ask orchestras to "open" (create) a competition; you do some research to find out about "open" (anyone can submit) competitions tyat already exist. Any orchestra itself might sponsor one, but also there are various organizations around the world that do.

As for how to submit to a local orchestra, step one is to find out what ones exist in your area and who their music directors are, then call or email them but also more important attend their concerts and try to make personal connections.

In reply to by Arianna2001

You're 15?!?!?! Wow! I'm only 17 as well. I actually might get it sometime in the future, though. Like Recorder485 stated; the most important thing is the music itself. You can have the best SoundFont in the world, but if there isn't a lick of music in the piece, then it's not a good piece. A great composer with an okay SoundFont will sound better than an okay composer with a great SoundFont.

Now, You DO have a lot of talent. You're very prodigious. Where do you intend to go in music if you don't mind me asking?

I will back up what the others have stated. Start locally at first, and then slowly climb up the ladder. Also, you might want to meet a lot of people and let them know about your talent and all that, and possibly let them listen to your work. Who knows, in the future one of them might ask you to work with him/her in regards to composing music. One example could be a film producer, who would need someone to write the music.

Now, I only give this advice to people I can see a lot of potential in. When I stated that you should learn orchestration and all that, I was not joking around or flattering. Learning the principles of orchestration will give your composing skills a large boost. Principles of Orchestrating include but are not limited to (1) Balancing (2) Color (3) Capabilities and limitations of each instrument.
One great YouTube channel that talks about orchestration would be "Orchestration Online". It is run by a professional composer named Thomas Goss. You can learn a handful of principles from him. Right now, he's working on teaching about string scoring and all that. However, he does give principles in some videos early on. I do have to let you know, though, he does have a list of videos that review the software Sibelius (he's not a MuseScore user), and eventually starting a petition to save it (I was just letting you know).

P.S. One of the currently open doors would be Viola music composition. The Viola is probably the string instrument with the least available of original pieces for it and all that. Thomas Goss explained that Violists are looking for a good composer who knows what he/she is doing. Goss does have a video on Orchestration Online about unaccompanied viola scoring which is a good watch. If you could hone your skills for viola music composing, and you do follow the advice of starting locally and then working your way up, then you might make your composing name known throughout.

In reply to by Elwin

Speaking of the Viola, I actually wrote a Viola Solo THROUGHOUT the ENTIRE 2nd Movement!!!!!
And WHY do a lot of Symphonic Pieces have VERY VERY VERY SHORT Viola Solos when mine has a Viola Solo THROUGHOUT the 2nd Movement? I think ALL my Symphonic Pieces should have a Solo Viola throughout each of the 2nd movements!!!!!!!!!!

Just a note that the Box links don't seem to be available publicly—you may want to check the privacy/sharing settings for those files. But I listened to the MSCZ in MuseScore with FluidR3, and it sounds amazing. I have to ask: does the "2001" in your name mean you're fifteen? If so—respect. I'm 19 and I haven't done that or anything like it yet.

In reply to by Elwin

Here is a completely different idea. Do you have friends who play an instrument well--at least reasonably well? I assume you play one (or several?) yourself. Write a piece for whatever combination of instruments you can find players for (if "only" a duet) and ask them to join you in playing it! Try to make the parts not too difficult for your friends!

This is not to replace your symphony but as a means to get some music of yours played since getting the symphony played by someone is going to be an uphill battle. It is hard--and expensive--to get 80 or 100 people together for the purpose, much easier for a smaller group.

Maybe you have been doing this all along and I apologize for shoving my oar in, but maybe this is an idea that may help you.

In reply to by azumbrunn

This is indeed a fantastic idea. There may also be smaller ensembles that already exist and they might be more open to new music than the average orchestra. For instance, here in Colorado we have the "Playground Ensemble" ( that specializes in 20th & 21st century music, doing new works pretty regularly and sponsoring an annual composition competition (I think for Colorado residents only), plus doing lots of educational outreach programs. An organization like this is much easier to approach and build a relationship with than a typical orchestra.

The basic idea of first identifying an ensemble - whether a string quartet, choir, clarinet duo, or whatever - that is open to performing new music, and then writing music specifically for them - that's usually a much better path to take than to write a symphony then hope to find an orchestra to play it. And Once you've built up a name for yourself in the area through those types of things, orchestras might come looking for you rather than you need to be looking for them.

In reply to by Marc Sabatella

When I was still at university (1980s) I had a friend with whom I played in the orchestra and also chamber music. He studied composition as a hobby.
Once he gave me a sonata for solo violin he had written so I would play it and give him feedback (I still have it).
This is where the idea came from. People Alexa's age are often encouraged to play ensemble together so I think--if she is not too fussy about perfection--she has a very realistic chance with an ensemble of her friends. Which does not foreclose any of the other avenues suggested in this thread.
Maybe one should remember that people like Mozart routinely knew the performers of new works they wrote and "tailored" their compositions to their strengths and weaknesses (say if a singer had great low tones and was sounding forced in higher pitches Mozart would give them music that let them sound their best notes; if an orchestra had clarinetists he would use them, if not he would do without). And I believe this is largely true for other kinds of music (Jazz?) as well.

Getting your music performed by a REAL orchestra is a very long and tiring process. (I speak from experience!) I wrote a 2min long piece and asked the conductor of a local youth orchestra that I play in to see if we could try it out. Due to MANY complications and concerts we needed to prepare for instead I still haven't heard it. At the moment we have not much on the schedule and so we'll try it out soon (hopefully). So after a whole year of waiting I might finally hear it played by a real orchestra. Good orchestras are even more in demand and will probably take even longer.

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