2018 Categories

Youth Symphony Gr. 2.5 - 3

Postmark Deadline is January 8, 2018

James Madison University’s School of Music has a long history of reaching out to young musicians and fostering the early careers of emerging musical artists.  New Music for Young Musicians Composer Competition combines JMU’s strong legacy of producing talented and creative educators and aspirations to engage and support emerging voices in writing music for young musicians. The James Madison University New Music for Young Musicians Composer Competition recognizes and encourages young composers 28 years of age and younger to compose music for younger ensembles in middle school through high school.

Five finalists will be chosen by a panel of composers and directors. Finalists will also have their scores bound and deposited in the JMU Music Library Special Collections and will receive a second similarly bound copy for their own collections.

In addition to a premiere performance recorded by an age-appropriate ensemble from within several highly recognized programs in the Commonwealth, First Place composer will be eligible for a travel stipend to work with the premiering director and ensemble. During the preparation period, winners will have the opportunity to interact with the director of the ensemble to refine their piece and will have access to a professional music editor to assist in the preparation of their score and parts, if needed.

Additional Information

Rules and Eligibility
Composition Requirements
How To Apply
Entry Form (pdf)
Adjudication
News and Updates (facebook)
Poster for printing (pdf)

For more information, please contact:

Brian Cockburn
James Madison University
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
e-mail: briancckbrn@jmu.edu
Phone: 540.568.6978


Rules and Eligibility

  • Applicants must be no more than 28 years old as of the postmark deadline.  The postmark deadline is usually in early January and applications are normally available the preceding October.
  • Only U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and foreign students currently enrolled at U.S. schools may apply.
  • Winner will be required to furnish proof of age (driver’s license, birth certificate, etc.).
  • Composers may submit only one composition.
  • Previous winners are not eligible.
  • Works that have been previously performed more than once are not eligible.
  • Works which have previously earned awards or prizes in any other national competition are not eligible.
  • Rights to text must be cleared and evidence of copyright holder's permission must be shown OR text must be in the public domain (see below).
  • All works entered must be the applicant’s own unpublished original compositions.  Arrangements are permitted provided they are of works in the public domain or are of other works of which the applicant is the sole copyright owner.  Applicants who are unsure of whether a work is in the public domain are advised to consult a book such as The Public Domain or to use informative websites such as Cornell’s Copyright Term and the Public Domain http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm
  • Winning composers will be required to add the following dedication to their score if published:
    Winner of the [Year] James Madison University New Music for Young Musicians Composer Competition and premiered by [Ensemble] directed by [Director Name] 

How To Apply

Send materials electronically or via mail.

  • To send electronically via email:

Send pdf of score, audio file (mp3 only) from the music writing program or previous performance, and completed entry form to briancckbrn@jmu.edu by the postmark date.

  • To send through mail:

Send a copy of score, audio file on a CD, and completed entry form to:

New Music for Young Musicians Composer Competition
c/o Brian Cockburn
James Madison University
School of Music
880 South Main St. MSC 7301
Harrisonburg, VA 22807



  • The Score:  Email a pdf file; or, if your entry is mailed, an unbound paper score, 8 1/2” x 11”.  The composer's name or other identifying information must not appear anywhere on the score.
  • The Audio Recording: Audio recording may be either derived from the music writing program or from the previous performance.  Email your audio recording as an MP3 file or mail it on a CD.

Composition Requirements

  • Youth Orchestra with parts for: 2 flutes, 1 oboe, 3 clarinets, 1 bassoon, 2 F-horns, 2 tpts, 2 trombones, 1 tuba, strings (violin 1, violin 2, viola, violoncello, double bass) and 2 percussionists
  • Brass Parts (2 F-horns, 2 tpts, 2 trombones, and 1 tuba) MUST be optional - doubled or cued in other parts
  • Recommended duration 3 - 8 minutes
  • Works of all styles and genres are encouraged
  • Original works or arrangements acceptable
  • Rights to any text must be cleared, and evidence of copyright holder’s permission must be shown OR text must be in the public domain (see below)
  • All works entered must be the applicant’s own unpublished original compositions.  Arrangements are permitted provided they are of works in the public domain or are of other works of which the applicant is the sole copyright owner.  Applicants who are unsure of whether a work is in the public domain are advised to consult a book such as The Public Domain or to use informative websites such as Cornell’s Copyright Term and the Public Domain http://copyright.cornell.edu/resources/publicdomain.cfm
  • Difficulty:  Grade 2.5 - 3, playable by second to third year youth orchestras.  Ranges should be consistent with the ability of middle school students. Lists of representative pieces can be viewed at FJH Music Company (http://www.fjhmusic.com/strings/full_orch.htm)
  • Any questions about the requirements should be directed to Brian Cockburn, at 540.568.6978 or briancckbrn@jmu.edu

Adjudication

  • The decision of the judges is final.
  • The judges reserve the right to award ties, to revise number of finalists, and to make no award.

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