Composition Contest

The 2019 Composition Contest will be for String Orchestra Grade 1-3.
2019 Submission Deadline is March 1, 2019
Application Fee $50

Click here to download the 2019 Contest Application


Prizes

The contest winner will receive $1,000 and the piece will be performed at the 2019 TODA Convention.
New this year - Honorable mention will receive $250.

Guidelines and Specifications

Manuscripts for this contest are evaluated by score analysis and by performance. The length of the composition should be appropriate to the age level. The manuscript must be clear and legible and include the title and rehearsal numbers or letters. The parts should be thoroughly edited with bowings and/or fingerings appropriate to the age level. Submissions must be the original music of the composer and no arrangements, in part or whole, of any published, unpublished or known traditional melodies should be included. Allow for page turns. Piano and harp parts are optional. The score must have separate staves for all instruments.

Submission Of Manuscripts

The manuscript and parts must not contain any identification of the composer. Scores must be submitted in PDF form, no other formats will be accepted or considered. If your work is selected then hard copies of the score and parts will be requested.

  • An MP3 of your composition must be submitted, no other formats will be accepted or considered. (It may be a live recording or computer generated)  
  • Only one entry per composer will be allowed.
  • Previous winners may enter again after three years.
  • The composition must be an original non-published, non-commissioned or debuted composition.

Liability

Although every effort will be made to protect and safeguard all manuscripts, neither TODA nor anyone connected with this contest will assume responsibility for loss or damage. It is strongly recommended that contestants keep the original copies of the score and parts.

Full Orchestra Requires:

  • All five string sections
  • A minimum of 5 woodwind instruments
  • A minimum of 3 brass instruments
  • A minimum of 2 percussion instruments

String Orchestra Requires:

  • All five string sections
  • Harp and piano may be included

Judging Guidelines

  1. The TODA Composition Contest shall have a five-member judging panel for up to 10 submissions appointed by the Composition Contest Chair (TODA Past-President).  For 10 or more submissions there will be two rounds of judging.  The first round of judging will be with a three-person panel and the second round will be with a different five-person panel.
  2. Compositions shall be judged using the Olympic Scoring System. Judges will rank-order all compositions. The high and low scores will be dropped. The winning composition shall be the one with the lowest composite score.
  3. Only the winning composer's name will be announced. The identity of all other contestants will be held in strict confidence. TODA reserves the right to declare that a winner does not exist if the entry requirements and the musical standards are not fulfilled.
  4. Feedback will be provided only upon request in writing to the current Past President.  The judging panels will remain anonymous.

Composition Requirements by Grade Level 

Grade 1

Keys:
Through 2 sharps

Little to no chromaticism

Meters:
4/4, 3/4, 2/4

Positions:
Violin, viola, and cello parts must be playable in
first position
Bass parts must be playable in ½ through third positions

Expressive Guidelines
Dynamics: pp, p, mp,
mf, f, ff and simple crescendo and decrescendo markings permitted
Mixing of arco and pizzicato
Articulations: Detaché, staccato, two- and four-note slurs, slurred staccato
Parts may be independent; 2nd violin/viola, cello/bass may be doubled throughout
Tempos limited to moderate range

Grade 2

Keys:
Key signatures through 2 sharps and one flat

Only limited chromaticism permitted

Meters:
4/4, 3/4, 2/4, 6/8

Positions:
First violin parts may require
third position but will remain mostly in first position.
Second violin and viola parts will require only first position.
Cello parts may require forward and backwards extensions.
Bass parts may require ½, first, second, and third positions.

Expressive Guidelines:
Dynamics: pp, p, mp,
mf, f, ff and simple crescendo and decrescendo markings permitted
Mixing of arco and pizzicato
Parts are independent, with some doubling of 2nd violin/viola, cello/bass
Tempo ranges moderate (extreme slow and fast tempos not permitted)
Detaché, staccato, slurred staccato, louré permitted

 

Grade 3

Keys:
Key signatures through 3 sharps and 2 flats permitted

Heavy chromaticism avoided.

Meters:
4/4, 3/4 ,2/4, 6/8, alla breve

Positions:
First violin parts require shifts into
third position, with possible harmonic extensions permitted
Second violin and viola parts should be mostly in first position with brief passages in third position permitted.
Cello and bass parts may require 1/2 through fourth positions

Expressive Guidelines:
All dynamic ranges

Mixing of arco and pizzicato
Parts are independent
Tempo ranges can be wide
Bowings are mostly detaché, staccato, long slurred patterns, slurred staccato, louré, spiccato
Grace notes, tremolo, and trills permitted.

Grade 4

Keys:
Key signatures through 3 sharps and 3 flats permitted

Meters:
4/4, 3/4, 2/4, 6/8, 3/8, 9/8, alla breve.

Positions:
Violin and viola parts may use 1st-5th positions

Cello parts may use 1st-4th positions and thumb position
Bass parts may use 1st-4th positions and thumb position

Expressive Guidelines:
All dynamic ranges

Mixing of arco and pizzicato.
Parts are independent
Tempo ranges can be wide
Advanced articulations may be included, such as detaché, staccato, long slurred patterns, slurred staccato, louré, spiccato, collé, martelé.
Grace notes, tremolo, trills, and other ornaments permitted

Grade 5


Keys:
Key signatures through 6 sharps and flats permitted

Meters:
All simple and compound meters permitted.

Positions:
No limitations. Follow standard practice, with consideration of typical advanced high school student technique.

Expressive Guidelines:
All dynamic ranges

Mixing of arco and pizzicato.
Parts are independent
Tempo ranges can be wide
Advanced articulations may be included, such as detaché, staccato, long slurred patterns, slurred staccato, louré, spiccato, collé, martelé.
Grace notes, tremolo, trills, and other ornaments permitted

Contest Rotation 

2016 Full Orchestra (FO)
2017 String Orchestra (SO) Grades 3-5
2018 SO - SKIPPED
2019 SO – Grades 1 - 3
2020 FO
2021 SO - Grades 3-5
2022 SO - Grades 1-3
2023 FO
2024 SO - Grades 3-5
2025 SO - Grades 1-3
2026 FO
2027 SO - Grades 3-5
2028 SO - Grades 1-3
2029 FO
2030 SO - 3-5