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Luna Composition Lab

Watch the World Premieres of the 2019 Fellows' pieces at Merkin Hall.

Congratulations to Luna Lab co-founder Ellen Reid on her 2019 Pulitzer Prize for her opera p r i s m!

About Luna Composition Lab

Kaufman Music Center has teamed up with acclaimed composers Missy Mazzoli, Ellen Reid, Reena Esmail, Kristin Kuster, Gity Razaz and Tamar Muskal to launch the third year of Luna Composition Lab, a program founded with the intention to encourage self-identifying girls and young women to compose. In its first year the program garnered attention from the New York Times, The New Yorker, Musical America, The Huffington Post and NY1 News, fostered the creation of three ambitious new works by our fellows, and culminated in a sold-out concert of their works at Brooklyn venue Roulette. Encouraged by this successful launch, Luna Lab has expanded to include five young composers and five mentors, and has expanded its scope to include promising young female composers from all over the country. 

Female composers continue to make up the small minority of professional composers who are consistently performed, recorded and celebrated. We experience a lack of role models and a lack of encouragement to compose at an early age. To address this gender imbalance, Luna Composition Lab provides aspiring young female, non-binary, and gender non-conforming composers with:

  • One-on-one mentorship and bi-monthy lessons with an established female composer
  • Performance opportunity in New York City as part of the Face the Music concert season
  • High-quality recording of their work
  • Instant access to a network of professional performers and composers as well as the chance to meet other aspiring young female, non-binary, and gender non-conforming composers.

Luna Lab recognizes that we live in a society characterized by a complex web of inequities – racism, sexism, homophobia, classism and ableism among them. All of these forms of discrimination are intolerable, and we acknowledge the many ways they contribute to inequality. Luna Lab has determined that we must focus our efforts to heighten our effectiveness and therefore our current priority is providing an opportunity for applicants who self-identify as female, non-binary or gender non-conforming. (Thank you, Grantmakers In the Arts.)



  • New Amsterdam Records
  • National Sawdust
  • New York Philharmonic's Very Young Composers Program
  • Contemporaneous Ensemble

Who Can Apply

Self-identified female, non-binary, and gender non-conforming young composers from 8th grade through college first years are invited to apply. Composers who have already participated in Luna Lab are asked to wait a year before applying again.

Get application info.


Tuition covers a small part of the total cost per Fellow to run Luna Lab, and remaining costs are covered by our generous funders. Luna Composition Lab is made possible, in part, by the Augustine Foundation, Calliope PR LLC, The Cheswatyr Foundation, The Patrina Foundation, and the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. Tiffany Cuaresma is the recipient of the James R. Rosenfield Fellowship. Yuri Lee is the recipient of the Patrina Foundation Fellowship. Joanna McDonald is the recipient of the Sydney Striker Fellowship.

What We Do

Luna Composition Lab is divided into three cycles within Face the Music's own season. Over the course of the three cycles, Luna Lab Fellows will create a new piece of music to be performed at a concert the end of the third cycle.

First Cycle | Exploration: November - December
The mentors and mentees will meet via Skype or another online platform every two weeks for 45 minutes. The work of this cycle centers around sonic exploration and education. Through early sketches, conversations, directed listening and score study, the composition teacher will guide the student in the early stages of exploring a new sonic landscape that will develop into a piece.

Second Cycle | Workshop: January - March
The mentor and mentee will continue their bi-monthly meetings that will shift the focus to more tangible results. In this cycle, the Luna Composition Lab participant will hear the sketches of her composition realized through a series of workshops with Face the Music ensembles. The workshops will help illuminate what areas of the new piece need work. The mentor will work with the young composer to move the piece toward a state of completion during this cycle.

Third Cycle | Refinement / Performance: April - June
At the beginning of this cycle, the Luna Composition Lab participant must have a first draft. The focus of this cycle will be toward refining the piece for the concert at the end of the term. The mentor will give directed feedback to coach the student toward the best possible end result. The Luna Composition Lab participant will be able to make two revisions before the final score is due. The third cycle will culminate in a concert where all Luna Composition Lab students will be able to hear their work realized at the highest level.

"We cannot live in a world that is not our own, in a world that is interpreted for us by others. An interpreted world is not a home. Part of the terror is to take back our own listening, to use our own voice, to see our own light."    - Hildegard von Bingen, 10th century composer & philosopher