<August 2019>

The Lebenbom Award

The Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award for Female Composers is granted annually to a living woman composer, of any age or nationality, in the spirit of recognizing and supporting the creation of new orchestral works by women.

The Award recipient will compose an original orchestral work for performance by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra on its Classical Subscription Series, as well as a cash prize. The Elaine Lebenbom Award is the only annual symphony sponsored award in the world exclusively for female composers.

The Award’s most recent recipient is Juliet Palmer, whose new work will be premiered by the DSO and Music Director Laureate Leonard Slatkin in June 2019. Click here to read the announcement of Palmer’s selection.

Application Process

Applicants must complete and submit the application form linked to below:


In addition to the completed form, applicants must submit a resume; sample scores of up to three completed works, including one scored for full symphony; and supporting audio and/or video representation of at least one, preferably the symphonic work.

All materials must be submitted by mail to the following address:

Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Attn: Elaine Lebenbom Memorial Award
3711 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201
United States

Works will be judged by a committee formed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Applications must be received no later than October 30, 2018. The winner will be notified by March 1, 2019.

Prize and Performance

The Award includes the commission of a new orchestral piece to be premiered by the DSO; a $10,000 cash prize; and a one-month residency at the Ucross Foundation, an acclaimed arts retreat in northern Wyoming.

The work composed by the winning composer will be performed by the DSO on its 2019-2020 Classical Subscription Series. The composer will be required to be in Detroit for all rehearsals and performances and will agree to participate in education activities, pre-concert lectures, symposiums, etc, as requested by the DSO. The composer's travel and housing expenses will be paid by the DSO

The winning composer will be responsible for professionally copying the work to specifications provided by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The composer (or publisher of the work) will be reimbursed for copying costs upon submission of receipts from the publisher.