Music and Erotics: Call for Scores (Closed)

Music & Erotics

February 22-23, 2019

Department of Music, University of Pittsburgh

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Deborah Wong, University of California, Riverside

Performer in Residence: Anna Elder

Call for Scores


About the Conference

The erotic exists at the core of our being, at the peripheries of our consciousness, and is embedded in our senses. It is experienced in the body but is often unspeakable, or exists beyond recognition and conceptualization. As gender, sexuality, and their materiality remain central to music studies today, theorizing the erotic allows us to think through the embodied experience of listening to and producing music and sound. For this conference, we seek Compositions that ask how we might understand music across geographical and temporal distance in relation to the erotic. Audre Lorde famously theorizes the erotic as “a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self, and the chaos of our strongest feelings”, existing on a “deeply female and spiritual plane” (1978). In what ways is the erotic connected to both femininity and masculinity, or to non-binary notions of gender performance? How is the erotic expressed or policed along lines of race and ethnicity? How do these manifest in musical performance? Does this help us to address how  “particular musics may conspire with or against particular bodies, [and] ...constrain and/or enable particular desires and forms of conduct” (Tia DeNora 1997)?

All submissions relevant to the conference topic of “Music & Erotics,” are welcome. The program committee is particularly interested in those that address the following:

  • Trans- and queer-of-color critiques of music studies
  • Corporeality, im/materiality, and tactile experience
  • Music and erotics as an affective exchange
  • Expressions of love, romance, disgust, and rage in performance and listening
  • D/deafness, disability, and sexuality
  • Post/colonial sexualities and “the erotics of empire” (Wong 2015: 182)
  • Exoticism, orientalism, and the sexualization of Otherness

For this conference, we seek compositions for soprano vocalist Anna Elder that are related to the erotic.  The chosen composers must attend the conference or their pieces will not be programed. Prior to the conference the selected composers will have a Skype reading session with Anna Elder to work through their pieces. After the performance of their piece all selected composers will join a 20-minute roundtable discussion about their pieces and the connection to the conference theme.

Performer in Residence, Anna Elder

Soprano Anna Elder’s voice has been described as being, “ethereal” or “a voice that has blues, reds and purples in it” by The New York Times or “a voice that could match, pitch for pitch, the grumble of a truck’s engine or squeak of a scooter’s horn.”-  Wilmington Star News. She is a native of Pittsburgh, Pa and currently performs with the new music ensembles Kamratōn and wolfTrap. She has also appeared with Pittsburgh’s Alia Musica, Nat28, Opera On Tap and The Eclectic Laboratory Chamber Orchestra. Anna was the lead vocalist with Squonk Opera for three years and premiered Go Roadshow and sang in the Off-Broadway version of Mayhem and Majesty, where she was described as creating “a sort of persona that becomes tangible which takes shape and begins to define what unfolds on stage.” -Broadway World

 Other engagements have included performing Music for 18 with New Music Detroit and appearing as a guest vocalist with Quince Ensemble. She has appeared on Music on the Edge’s Beyond Microtonal Music Festival, The Pittsburgh Festival of New Music, Detroit’s Strange and Beautiful Music 2017, and The Cleveland Uncommon Sound Project’s Re:Sound festival. Anna graduated from The Eastman School of Music in 2006 and has since attended New Music On The Point in Vermont for two summers where she studied with Tony Arnold.

Ms. Elder intends to push the limits of the human voice and enjoys commissioning new contemporary works that take her there. She experiments and improvises with found objects such as fans, cat toys, aluminum foil, and her own heartbeat. Her repertoire includes works by Giacinto Scelsi, Georges Aperghis, Cathy Berberian, Charles Ives, Anton Webern, Kaija Saariaho, Arnold Schoenberg, Franz Schubert, and Claude Debussy. She has premiered works by Curtis Rumrill, Ryan McMasters, David Gerard Matthews, Laura Schwartz, Christine Burke, Lu-Han Li, and Brian Riordan. With Kamratōn, she will premiere a new piece by Elizabeth Brown in March and Her Holiness The Winter Dog, an opera by Curtis Rumrill for Kamratōn, Quince Ensemble, and Shana Simmons Contemporary Dance in May. Anna has pioneered the annual concert series She Scores, which features works by living women composers for Kamratōn. The ensemble has received support from The Opportunity Fund, The Heinz Endowments, and The Pittsburgh Foundation. As an administrator, Anna serves as the Development Officer for Nief-Norf, a contemporary music festival in Knoxville, Tennessee. Anna can be heard on the album Squonk Opera’s “Go Roadshow” and can be seen anywhere from a basement to a concert hall.


Performance Space

All performances will take place in the Frick Fine Arts building on the University of Pittsburgh Campus in Pittsburgh, PA.

All chosen composers must register and attend the February 23, 2019 conference.


There is no registration fee. Chosen participants will be sent a link to register online. Registration is for catering numbers. All others can register as conference auditors starting in January 2019, details to be announced later.

Conference cannot provide stipend for travel or housing for selected composers but is happy to provide documentation for travel grants. There is limited housing available to stay with University of Pittsburgh graduate students. If accepted information on travel and housing will be provided.


The University of Pittsburgh invites all submissions of scores for voice (University of Pittsburgh students are not eligible). Preference will be given to composers who do not hold tenure-track positions at Universities.

Only pieces for solo voice.

250 word proposals for new works that are 2-7 minutes will be considered. (Must submit 2-3 representative scores, one including voice (any type))


Pre-existing works for solo voice (G3-C6)  that are 2-10 minutes will be considered.

Submission Guidelines

All submissions must be sent by email. Hard copies will not be considered. Late submissions will not be considered.

The submitted pieces/proposals technical guidelines:

Range: (G3-C6)

Languages: English, Italian, French, German, and Spanish

If you are submitting a proposal for a new work:

Checklist for Google form submission

  1. 100 word Biography [PDF]
  2. 2-3 representative works (one must contain an example of vocal writing) [PDF and MP3s or streaming link if available, no MIDI please]
  3. Up to 250 word proposal on your vision for the piece and how it connects to the theme of the conference of Music and Erotics.
  4. A submitted Google form:

If you are submitting a pre-existing work:

Checklist for Google form submission:

  1. 100 word Biography [PDF]
  2. The pre-existing score for solo voice [PDF and MP3s or streaming link if available, no MIDI please]
  3. Up to 250 word explanation on how the piece connects to the theme of the conference of Music and Erotics.

There is no limit on submissions from individual composers, however, only one score will be chosen from your submissions. Please submit as many as you feel are applicable.

Please submit via Google Form:

Submission Deadline: Friday, October 26th by 11:59PM EST.

Notification: Applicants will be notified of acceptance or rejection by Monday, December 5.


A jury consisting of University of Pittsburgh Graduate Students will release decisions by November 2018.

Other Information

Questions? Email