Are you a composer with dreams of having a real orchestra play your work? Now's your chance! I'm excited to announce that I'll be offering one lucky winner the opportunity to have a 3-minute composition performed and recorded by the Northern Film Orchestra.
But there's a catch – this contest is only open to those who have never had their music performed by a full orchestra before. Whether you're a student, hobbyist, or working professional, as long as you meet this primary restriction, you're eligible to enter.
CONTEST ENDS ON MAY 1ST
From the moment I began composing at age 14, having my music performed by a live orchestra was a dream of mine. When I finally had the chance to live that dream, it was a profoundly moving experience for me. Having gone through the challenges of making this dream a reality, I'm eager to pass along the gift of this experience to another talented composer who shares this same ambition.
I look forward to hearing what you come up with!
Best of luck,
To be eligible for consideration, composers must not have had their music performed by a live orchestra with more than 7 musicians, excluding school orchestras below university level or a partial performance as part of a workshop. I want to provide this opportunity to those who haven't yet had the experience of hearing their music come alive through a full-scale orchestral performance.
You're only allowed to submit one score.
Your score must be written for a 34-piece orchestra with the following lineup:
1st Violins (6) 2nd Violins (6) Violas (4)
Cello (4) Bass (2)
Flute (1) Oboe (1) Clarinet (1) Bassoon (1)
French Horn (2) Trumpet (2) Trombone (2)
Timpani (1) Percussion (1 player)
For percussion the following instruments are available: Suspended Cymbal, Cymbals, Snare Drum, Bass Drum, Mark Tree, Triangle, Xylophone, Glockenspiel
You're not required to use all the instruments. You should not write for any instruments that aren't in this lineup. Be mindful of logistics when writing for percussion. There's only 1 player and so they can't play two things at once and need time to move between instruments.
Your composition will be recorded within a strict 15-minute time slot. During this time, there will be an initial rehearsal, takes of individual sections, and a final performance (curious about the process? Watch this).
Some pieces may be more complex than others. In order to be feasible to record within 15 minutes, the more complex the piece the shorter it should be. Your piece should not exceed 3 minutes in length regardless of complexity.
You must be able to produce a PDF and MP3 audio mockup of your score.
We are looking for the most musical, creative and realistically orchestrated composition that best utilizes the available orchestra lineup within the 3-minute time limit.
I'm drawn to music that tells a story and evokes emotions, taking me on a journey. Growing up, I was exposed to classics such as Stravinsky's Firebird, Holst's The Planets, Vivaldi's Four Seasons, and the symphonies of Mozart and Beethoven. However, what truly captured my imagination were the works of film composers like John Williams. Please don't take me sharing this to mean that I'm looking for you to copy another composer's style. Musical taste is very subjective so I'm just sharing a little about how my ears were trained. The best advice is to write something that your heart is in.
This piece will be performed by real players so a portion of the judging will be focused on practical things like:
Once all submissions have been received, I, Eric Turnnessen, will narrow down the group to a smaller pool of finalists before bringing in additional judges for the final decision. Joining in the final round will be Jack Hughes, Orchestrator Manager of the Northern Film Orchestra, and Melvin Tay, Conductor of the Northern Film Orchestra.
The winner of the contest will have their composition performed by the Northern Film Orchestra on May 26th or 27th at The Stoller Hall in Manchester, England.
The winner is invited to attend the session in-person. If that's not possible, the winner can attend the session via Zoom.
To capture the full scope of sound from the orchestra, a combination of up to 40 microphones will be utilized. This includes spot mics on every section for close-up detail, as well as room mics and outrigger mics to capture the unique sound of the space.
The winner will receive a ProTools session file which includes all the recorded takes of their composition.
The winner will receive a professionally mixed and mastered recording of the final performance of their composition.
The winner will receive video footage of the whole session captured from multiple camera angles.
Do we need to prepare individual parts for the instruments?
Not as part of the contest submission. To submit for the contest you just need to upload a concert score which includes all instruments. If you're selected as the winner individual parts will need to be prepared at that point.
Can my submission include instruments that aren't listed in the 34-piece lineup?
No. Scores that include instruments not a part of the 34-piece lineup will not be considered.
Follow the steps below to submit your score:
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