The David P (’60) and Susan W. Wohlhueter Jazz Ensemble Composition Contest

Judges will use five criteria to assess submissions:

  1. QUALITY: The overall musical quality of the piece.
  2.  TRADITION: Compositions should be steeped in the traditions of jazz.
  3.  ACCESSIBILITY: Compositions should be musically accessible to both the audience and the performers.
  4.  DIFFICULTY: The difficulty level of the compositions should be such that they are playable by high school honor jazz bands, college bands, and professionals alike. Brass range should be considered in terms of the related aspects of (1) not being too high, and (2) allowing enough time for players to rest. Both aspects should be considered for brass playability.
  5.  NOTATION: Compositions must be professionally notated and clear. Clarity includes (but is not limited to) aspects such as:

                    I. Scores should be bound properly, and parts bound/taped with well-considered page turns.

                    II. Clear roadmap (repeats, D.S., D.C., coda, etc. should be easy for everyone to follow)

                    III. Commonly known/used chord symbols.

                    IV. Well-considered spacing, bars per system, etc.

                    V. Sufficient rehearsal letters/numbers (at least every 8 bars, or 12 bars perhaps for a blues)

                    VI. Page orientation and how it relates to page turns (scores should not turn vertically, for example).

                    VII. Clear style, with sufficient articulations and dynamics.

Winning pieces, composers and guest artists from previous years are listed at https://www.ithaca.edu/academics/school-music/ensembles/jazz-ensembles/composition-contest/previous-winners.

How to Enter

  1. Read the complete set of rules.
  2. Completely fill out an online entry form at the address https://form.jotform.us/71966297830166 and print the confirmation message or email you receive after submission.
  3. Enclose the printed confirmation message and $25 (US) entry fee in a sealed envelope. Write your name and the name of your piece on envelope.
  4. Enclose the sealed envelope (containing the printed submission form and entry fee) with the fully anonymous score and parts into a single envelope/package.
  5. Send the envelope/package to be received at Ithaca College no later than Friday October 4, 2019, to:

                    Jazz Composition Contest
                    Ithaca College School of Music
                    953 Danby Road
                    Ithaca, NY, 14850

Submission Deadline

All submissions must be received by Friday October 4, 2019, to be eligible for the contest. Pieces received after that date will be ineligible.


Questions can be addressed to Mike Titlebaum, Director of Jazz Studies.

Important Note

In any communication, do not name your piece or mention any specific aspects that would identify your piece to ensure that anonymity of all the entries is maintained. Please send questions before September 23, 2019. Questions received after that date may not be answered before the contest deadline.

I'm looking forward to hearing your music!