Contest Guidelines

  1. Participation and entry are free.
  2. Entrants must be U.S. residents.
  3. Entrants must be between the ages of 13 and 18 years at the time of submission.


  1. Entrants may submit only one composition per Composium.
  2. Entrants must submit either a full-orchestra or a chamber ensemble composition.
  3. Compositions must be composed solely by the entrant.
  4. Compositions may not exceed 5 minutes in length.
  5. Chamber ensemble compositions may be written for a total of 2 to 6 instruments selected from the following list. The number of instruments of any given type must not exceed the numbers in parentheses.
  6. Flute/Piccolo (2), Oboe/English Horn (2), Clarinet (2), Bassoon (2)
    French Horn (4), Trumpet (2), Trombone (3), Tuba (1)
    Violin (6), Viola (4), Cello (4), Bass (2), Piano (1), Harp (1)
    Percussionists (3)
  7. Instrumentation for full-orchestra compositions may include only the instruments listed below. It is suggested but not required that you use all the instruments:
  8. Flutes 1&2, Oboes 1&2, Clarinets 1&2, Bassoons 1&2
    Horns 1,2,3,4, Trumpets 1&2, Trombones 1&2, Bass Trombone, Tuba
    Timpani, Percussionists 1&2, Harp
    1st Violins, 2nd Violins, Violas, Cellos, Basses.

    (Flute 2 may double on Piccolo. Oboe 2 may double on English Horn.)
  9. To view instructions for preparing the score and individual instrument parts for either chamber ensemble or full‑orchestra, click here.

Submitting Compositions

  1. Register to submit your composition by clicking here.
    Once you have completed the registration, you will receive an email containing a cover sheet in PDF form which must be included in your submission package. The email will also include a link which will allow you to go back at any time to revise your registration information, reprint your cover sheet, and upload an MP3 file of your composition for judging. It is very important that you retain this email in order to complete your submission by uploading your composition MP3 file.
  2. Create a MIDI-generated audio file of the composition in MP3 format. It should have a maximum bitrate of 192Kbps, and be titled with your name, and the composition title. Contact us if you need help creating this MP3 file.
    Alternatively, an audio recording played on piano, or a live recording. may be submitted as an MP3 file.
  3. Send four copies of your score, along with the cover sheet (see Step 1 above) to:
    National Young Composers Challenge
    PO Box 2023
    Winter Park, FL 32790
  4. Submission materials will not be returned.
  5. Entrants must submit their full packet postmarked no later than the submission deadline published in the schedule listed below.


  1. A panel of four judges will select six winning compositions to be performed at the Composium.
  2. Scores will be judged based upon artistic quality, and skill in orchestration, notation, and scoring.
  3. Entrants will receive recorded audio comments from the judges.


  1. The six winning compositions will include three compositions for full orchestra and three compositions for chamber ensemble.
  2. Winners must be present at the Composium.
  3. Winners must provide their own transportation and lodging for the Composium.
  4. All compositions will be performed by a professional symphony orchestra.
  5. Winners must provide one copy of each individual instrument part for the orchestra or ensemble players.
  6. Winners must upload a PDF file of the conductor's score to the same link as the MP3 file.
  7. Each orchestral winner will receive $1000 and each ensemble winner will receive $500.
  8. Each winner will receive a professional recording of their composition performed at the Composium.
  9. Each year, the live Composium recordings of the winning ensemble and orchestral submissions are posted on the National Young Composers Challenge website, along with the submitted audio files. Copies of the winning scores may also be posted for educational purposes.


  1. NOTE:The National Young Composers Challenge will continue accepting scores until October 1, 2021 for the 2022 Composium. Entrants must be between the ages of 13 and 18 years at the time of submission.
Activity Date
Score Submission Deadline October 1, 2021
Next Composium April 2022