Composition Contest

Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble 2015-16 Composition Contest

The Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble announces the 2015-16 Jazz Ensemble Composition Contest.  The culminating concert for the contest will feature world-renowned guest trumpet artist Tony Kadleck, and will be held on March 8th, 2016 at 8:15PM in Ford Hall at the Ithaca College School of Music, and also be web streamed live.

About the contest

The contest has been created to encourage the composition and performance of the highest possible quality of jazz ensemble literature playable by high school, honor bands, college bands and professional bands alike.  Therefore, the winners of the contest will receive a concert recording of their piece performed by Tony Kadleck with the Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble, an honorarium ($300 for category 2, $150 for category 1).  

All contest submissions must feature trumpet soloist, or at least contain a significant trumpet solo portion. Mr. Kadleck will perform and record the winning piece(s) with the IC Jazz Ensemble at this concert.

Entries will be accepted in two categories:

  1. High school students (have not yet started full-time college study), and 
  2. Professional/collegiate/all other composers.

Pieces will be judged in three areas: (1) overall musical quality, (2) playability/appropriateness for high school, college-age and professional bands alike, and (3) proper/professional notation, score/part preparation and readability.

Submission deadline

All submissions must be received by January 20, 2016 to be eligible for the contest.

Contest Rules

1.     Entries must be original, unpublished compositions for instrumental jazz ensemble, featuring trumpet solo, utilizing the following instrumentation:

a.     5 saxophones, AATTB.  1st alto sax may also double on soprano sax.  Any/all woodwind doubling parts must be optional, and the chart must be playable without the doubles.  Non-doubling parts must also be provided.

b.     4 trombones (3 tenor + 1 bass trombone). 

c.     4 or 5 Bb trumpets or flugelhorns. Common mutes (plunger, straight, cup, harmon, or bucket) are usable. The 1st trumpet range should go no higher than a written D above the staff to maximize playability for younger bands. The solo trumpet can be a separate solo part, or in one of the existing trumpet parts.

d.     Rhythm section of piano, guitar, double bass and drum set.  A vibes or extra percussion part may also be possible but should be optional.

e.     In addition to trumpet soloist, other members of the jazz ensemble may also be given solos.

f.     Although the trumpet is to be a primary soloist, the featured trumpet part/portions may be solo, or can be orchestrated to be in unison, harmony or counterpoint with other soloists or groups within in the ensemble. Creativity in this regard is encouraged.

g.    Entrants in the high school category (category 1) may submit pieces with reduced instrumentation.  Entrants in category 2 must submit pieces for full jazz ensemble.

2.     No transcriptions or arrangements (except arrangements of the composer's own works) will be eligible. Ithaca College students, faculty or staff (or direct family members of a student, faculty or staff member) are not eligible to enter the contest.

3.     The composition may already have been performed, but shall have been written in the past three years of the contest deadline.

4.     The purpose of the prize is to encourage the composition and performance of the highest possible quality of jazz ensemble literature.  Therefore, the composition should be conceived and constructed to ensure an effective performance by professional, university and high school honors jazz ensembles.  Pieces will be judged on (1) overall musical quality, (2) playability/appropriateness for high school, college-age and professional bands alike, and (3) proper/professional notation, score/part preparation and readability.

5.     Entries shall be no longer than 10 minutes in length.

6.     Compositions must be submitted with a full score, full set of parts and compact disc recording.  Compositions without recordings or complete parts will not be considered. Computer / MIDI recordings will be accepted, but a recording of a live reading/rehearsal or performance is preferred.

7.     The submissions must be completely anonymous. Therefore, the composer’s name must not appear on score, parts or CD, nor be audible on the enclosed CD (if the composer's name is announced at the recorded performance, that portion should be edited out).  The envelope containing the printed entry form confirmation email (see "How to enter the contest" below for the link to the online entry form) and a check or money order for $25 made out to "Ithaca College" should be included in the envelope.  The date of composition must appear on the title page.  Entry fees will not be returned for any reason.

8.    Entrants in the high school category (category 1) must be currently enrolled in high school, with a maximum age of 18.  Entrants in category 2 can be any age.  In both categories, composers of any national origin are eligible.  Composers may submit as many pieces as they like, but each piece must be submitted separately with a separate entry fee, printed entry form and outer/inner envelopes for each.

9.     The winning compositions will be selected and the composers notified no later than February 3, 2016.

10.   The winning composer in Category 1 (high school-age) will receive an honorarium of $150, and the Category 2 winner (pro/collegiate/all others) will receive $300. Both winners will receive a concert recording of their piece with guest artist Tony Kadleck, from the performance which is scheduled to occur on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 in Ford Hall at the Whalen Center for Music, Ithaca College. In the unlikely event that an unforeseen situation prevents Mr. Kadleck from performing, the piece will still be recorded, but with a different soloist. The winner is strongly encouraged to attend the performance. Travel is at the composer’s own expense.

11.   The Ithaca College School of Music has the option of withholding the awards in either category if no entries are found to be suitable.

12.   If the composer does not opt to let Ithaca College keep their piece (an option indicated on the entry form) for consideration for future performance, they must provide a self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of their materials.  All precautions will be taken to ensure that manuscripts and CDs are returned safely, but Ithaca College cannot assume responsibility for loss or damage in transit (the winning piece will be kept by Ithaca College regardless).

13. Composers should send their scores, parts, CDs and inner sealed envelopes containing the printed entry form (see web link below under "How to enter the contest") and entry fee of $25 (NO entry fee is required for high school composers in Category 1) in the form of check or money order payable to Ithaca College, to Jazz Composition Contest, Ithaca College, School of Music, 953 Danby Road, Ithaca, NY, 14850. All inquiries should be sent to the same address.

14. Composers must not attempt to contact any of the members of the Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble or IC faculty to exert influence over the outcome of the contest. Any attempt to do so will immediately disqualify the composer and all their submissions from the contest.

How to enter the contest

  1. Read the complete set of rules (above).
  2. Completely fill out an online entry form, and print out the email confirmation you receive.
  3. Enclose the printed email confirmation, entry fee (fee only applicable for category 2 composers), fully anonymous score, parts and CD recording in a single envelope/package.
  4. Send the envelope/package to be received at Ithaca College by January 20, 2016 to: Jazz Composition Contest, Ithaca College, School of Music, 953 Danby Road, Ithaca, NY, 14850


​Questions can be addressed to Mike Titlebaum, director of jazz studies, at

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