The Chelsea Symphony Composition Competition 2018-2019:
National Call for Scores

Application instructions

  1. Follow this link to complete the application form:
  2. Email a PDF of your composition and an MP3 (if including) to If your submission is too large to send as an email attachment, we recommend using a free file transfer service such as WeTransfer or Dropbox
  3. Applications and all materials are due by 11:59pm ET on January 15, 2019

  4. About the Competition

    The Chelsea Symphony invites submissions for its fifth annual competition for early-career composers. For the first time, the competition is open to early-career composers who reside anywhere in the United States.

    The winning entry will be performed on the orchestra’s concerts on June 29 and 30, 2019, at the DiMenna Center for Classical Music. The winning composer will also receive a professional recording of the performances and an honorarium of $250. The winning selection will be chosen by acclaimed conductor and composer Gerard Schwarz Conductor Laureate of the Seattle Symphony and Music Director of the All-Star Orchestra, in conjunction with a panel of musicians from The Chelsea Symphony.


    Applicants must reside in the United States. There are no age restrictions, but applicants should be in the early stages of their compositional careers. If a performance by The Chelsea Symphony would represent a significant professional development opportunity for you, then please apply!

    Submission guidelines

  • Works should not exceed the following maximum instrumentation: 2 flutes (1 doubling piccolo), 2 oboes (1 doubling English horn), 2 clarinets (1 doubling bass clarinet), 2 bassoons (1 doubling contrabassoon), 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani + 2 percussionists, piano, strings. Electronics are permissible
  • Space for the percussion section is limited, so large section requirements (e.g., more than 4 timpani, or multiple mallet instruments) are discouraged. The selection committee will take the feasibility of percussion needs into account when evaluating submissions
  • Works must be between 5-12 minutes in length
  • Works that have been published, commercially recorded, or previously performed by a professional orchestra are ineligible. Prior performances by amateur or student ensembles are permissible; please indicate any relevant performance history in your application
  • Works that include text must be accompanied by evidence that the text is either in the public domain, or if still protected, used with permission of the author or author’s representative
  • Submissions will be judged anonymously. Scores may not have the composer’s name or any other identifying information. Any scores that identify the composer will be ineligible for consideration
  • Scores must be in PDF format. Handwritten scores will be accepted, but are not preferred
  • A recording of the work (or an electronic simulation thereof) may be submitted. Submissions with an electronics component should be accompanied by a recording of the complete work, if at all possible. Recordings must be in MP3 format and should not contain any identifying information other than the title of the piece


The results of the competition will be announced by March 2019. The winning composer will be required to submit a complete set of performing materials to The Chelsea Symphony by May 3, 2019. The composer will be invited and encouraged to attend rehearsals of the work, which will take place May 24-30, 2019. Transportation and lodging are the responsibility of the composer.

Past Winners


Winning entry:
The Rest is Silence, Samuel R. Beebe

Finalists (in alphabetical order):
The Legend of Mulan, Esther Shuyue Cao
Listening Through an Open Door, Nicholas V. Hall


Winning entry:
Summer Mountains, Danny Gray

Aeolian Dust, Natalie Dietterich


Winning entry:
Dawn, Paul Frucht

Finalists (in alphabetical order):
Awake, Alan Hankers
Soundscape for a Century Past, Jared Miller


Winning entry:
Tightrope Walker, Michael Boyman

Finalists (in alphabetical order):
Arion, William Gardiner
Symphony in 3 Movements, Michael Gilbertson
Unhinged Carnival Fanfare Machine, Jonathan Russell