Family Fest

Storytime Composer Commission

Presented by Adrienne Arsht Center and Greater Miami Youth Symphony


Applications are closed.

The Adrienne Arsht Center and the Greater Miami Youth Symphony announce the Storytime Composer Commission, in which a Florida composer will develop a score inspired by a picture book by a Miami author. The program celebrates the Sunshine State’s tropical culture and Florida-made music and literature, educates young musicians in the practice of new work and provides an accessible and engaging musical experience for families. 

Florida-based composers are encouraged to apply for this opportunity to create new work that reflects Florida’s unique cultural communities and experiences. The project will be based on The Ocean Lives There: Magic, Music, and Fun on a Caribbean Adventure by MJ Fievre. The selected composer will be awarded a commissioning fee of $7,500 for a 20-minute orchestral piece that meets the requested criteria and timeline. The work will premiere during the 2022-23 season with a performance by the Greater Miami Youth Symphony accompanied by live narration of the book at an Arsht Center Family Fest concert.


Selection Criteria

The Storytime Composer Commission intends to elevate the Sunshine State’s tropical culture, diverse populations and community life richly informed by and inclusive of immigrant and global experience. Applications will be reviewed for musical excellence, responsiveness and connection to and handling of the content of the picture book and Grade level 5 accessibility for a full, standard youth orchestra according to Florida Orchestra Association Standards.

Instrumentation is as follows: 4 flutes (1 doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (1 doubling English horn), 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba, timpani, 3 percussionists and strings. 


Application Process

Applications are closed. All applications will be carefully reviewed by a panel of peer performing arts professionals. The panel will select one winner. Notifications will be made by mid-August 2022.


About The Ocean Lives There: Magic, Music, and Fun on a Caribbean Adventure by MJ Fievre

Imane is a curious girl with a big question. What is behind the magic door inside her Miami house? Her sister Caroline says it’s a door that goes everywhere and nowhere. Sometimes, it’s red. Sometimes, it’s blue and it smells like coffee beans and the ocean. Imane can only imagine what’s on the other side: a beautiful Caribbean island full of magic, music and fun. But Momma keeps the door locked tight, and no one is allowed to open it! 

With breathtaking illustrations by Polina Hrytskova, this charming children’s book follows Imane on her adventure through the magic door to the beautiful Caribbean island of Haiti.


About M.J. Fievre

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, M.J. Fievre moved to the United States in 2002. She currently writes from Miami. M.J.’s publishing career began as a teenager in Haiti. At 19 years old, she signed her first book contract with Hachette-Deschamps, in Haiti, for the publication of a young adult book titled La Statuette Maléfique. Since then, M.J. has authored nine books in French that are widely read in Europe and the French Antilles. In 2013, One Moore Book released M.J.’s first children’s book, I Am Riding, written in three languages: English, French and Haitian Creole. In 2015, Beating Windward Press published M.J.’s memoir, A Sky the Color of Chaos, about her childhood in Haiti during the brutal regime of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

M.J. Fievre is the author of Happy, Okay? Poems About Anxiety, Depression, Hope, and Survival (Books & Books Press, 2019) and Badass Black Girl: Questions, Quotes, and Affirmations for Teens (Mango Publishing, 2020). She helps others write their way through trauma, build community and create social change. She works with veterans, disenfranchised youth, cancer patients and survivors, victims of domestic and sexual violence, minorities, the elderly, those with chronic illness or going through transition and any underserved population in need of writing as a form of therapy — even if they don’t realize that they need writing or therapy. A longtime educator and frequent keynote speaker (Tufts University, Massachusetts; Howard University, Washington, D.C.; the University of Miami, Florida; and Michael College, Vermont; and a panelist at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference, AWP), M.J. is available for book club meetings, podcast presentations, interviews and other author events.


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