2018 Young Composer Contest

 Deadline: March 23, 2018


“The Young Composer contest is, in other words, much more than a contest, not unlike the way the Pittsburgh Philharmonic is much more than an orchestra. It is nothing less than a gift to young composers, and to music in general.”

~ Chris Massa, winner of the 2017 Young Composer Contest


The Pittsburgh Philharmonic invites applications from residents of the Greater Pittsburgh Tristate Area. The Contest Winner will have their piece performed at The Pittsburgh Philharmonic’s May 11 and 12, 2018 Concerts and will receive a $250.00 prize.


Download Your Application Here 


Rules and Policies of  The Pittsburgh Philharmonic Composition Contest 2018


  1. Applicant must be no older than 35 at time of submission.
  2. Applicants will be residents of the Greater Pittsburgh Tristate area or graduates of area schools.
  3. The Pittsburgh Philharmonic reserves the right to determine eligibility.


Application Rules and Requirements:

  1. Applicants must submit a PDF score and a PDF of a first violin part of their work to plus a recording or audio rendering in MP3 format postmarked or emailed to the addresses found below by March 23, 2018. MIDI realizations must also be in MP3 format.  There is no application fee.
  2. Applicants will send a completed, signed application with their submitted work (score, parts and audio) postmarked no later than March 23, 2018 to:

The Pittsburgh Philharmonic, 7501 Church St., Pittsburgh, PA 15202

  1. The Pittsburgh Philharmonic Audition Panel will consist of highly qualified music educators and professional musicians.
  2. Three Finalists will be notified by March 25, 2018.
  3. The three Finalists must provide a full set of parts with sufficient string count (8-8-6-6-2) by April 6, 2018. Parts are acceptable on letter-sized paper.  Staff sized for parts is between 7 and 8.5mm
  4. The Finalist pieces will be given a reading by the Pittsburgh Philharmonic on April 16, 2018 at their rehearsal at 7:15 at Scotus Hall on the Mt Alvernia campus in Millvale. Reading will be the determinant of the winner.  You are welcome to attend the reading of your composition.
  5. All three Finalists will have a recording given to them of their individual reading.
  6. All decisions of the Audition Panel will be final.
  7. Winner will be notified by April 18, 2018


Piece Rules and Requirements:

  1. Duration of work should be no longer than 12 minutes.
  2. Entire piece must be completed at time of submission
  3. Piece may not be extreme or virtuosic in demands.
  4. No concerto will be considered
  5.  Score is to be on legal or tabloid sized paper in portrait orientation only.
  6. Parts are acceptable on letter-sized paper.  Staff sized for parts is between 7 and 8.5mm
  7. Previously performed works are acceptable
  8. Orchestration will not exceed the following:

Strings  8-8-6-6-2 with only up to 2-part divisi in string parts
2 flutes, one may double piccolo
2 oboes, one may double English Horn
2 Bb/A clarinets, one may double Bass
2 bassoons
4 F horns
2 Bb trumpets
2 trombones
1 bass trombone
1 tuba
1 timpani
2 percussion (Snare drum, triangle, bass drum, glockenspiel, cymbals, bongos, sleigh bells, whip cracks, claves, tambourine, castanets, finger cymbals, maracas, train whistle, police whistle, cow bell, wood block, shakers, ratchet, djembe, xylophone, whip, cabassa, wind chimes, timbales, finger cymbals, maracas) if composer writes for any percussion not on this list and is selected, they must provide that instrument at performance and rehearsal


Competition Winner Information:

  1. The Winner will receive a $250.00 prize.
  2. Winner will be provided with a professionally performed recording of their piece from the March concerts.
  3. The competition winner will provide a short biography and publicity photo for use in the program and media outlets.
  4. The competition winner will be available for rehearsals with the orchestra on one of the following rehearsal dates: April 23, 30, May 7, 2018 at 7:15 at Mt. Alvernia.
  5. Performances will be held at on Mt. Alvernia May 11 and Butler County Community College on May 12, 2018.


The Pittsburgh Philharmonic:

Now in its 42nd season, The Pittsburgh Philharmonic is Southwestern Pennsylvania’s premier volunteer orchestra. Approximately 70 musicians from throughout the tri-state area, ranging in age from 15 to 80, perform great works of classical music at various venues in the region. Members of the orchestra include business executives, retirees, students, teachers, and other professionals, some who have been performing with the Philharmonic for over 20 years, several who teach or play music professionally, and some who have advanced music degrees.

Music director for the Philharmonic is Edward Leonard.



For more information about the Pittsburgh Philharmonic and the Young Composer Contest, please feel free to contact the Philharmonic by email or phone at 412-223-7501.