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ABRSM International Young Composers' Competition

Marking the 120th Anniversary of ABRSM in 2009

The ABRSM International Young Composers' Competition is open to anyone under the age of 18 who has ever taken an ABRSM exam. It's a great chance for you to have your music heard by our experienced panel of expert judges and possibly even performed live in a world-renowned concert hall.

We're open to all types of music for this competition, meaning that your piece can be composed in any style. Your piece can be for any solo instrument or voice, with or without piano accompaniment, and it does have to be written down, as other musicians may perform the winning compositions in concert.

There are two age categories: 14 or under, and 15-18. We'll award prizes to the winners and runners-up in both categories, with the winners both receiving £1,000, and the runners-up £500 each.

Live Performances
All four prize-winning compositions will be considered for performance at the ABRSM 120th Anniversary Gala Concert at the Cadogan Hall in the summer of 2009. The winning pieces will also be sent to our editors, with the possibility of them being published by ABRSM in the future. Just imagine having your music played by thousands of others!

How do I enter the competition?

1. To be eligible for the competition, you have to compose a new piece of music that:
  • is written for a solo instrument or voice, with or without piano accompaniment
  • lasts at least one minute and no more than five minutes
  • conforms to the technical parameters for one of the eight grades (for guidance, compare your piece with others on the syllabus)
2. Your final score can either be handwritten or typeset using computer music software. Please do not send a recording of any kind, as the panel will only consider the written scores they receive.

3. Read all competition regulations.

4. Download and complete the entry form, ask your music teacher to sign it too (see below, regulation 5 for details), then send it in with your score by post to:

Mr Leslie East
ABRSM International Young Composers’ Competition


24 Portland Place

United Kingdom

Closing Date
The closing date for entries is 31 March 2009.

ABRSM International Young Composers' Competition Regulations

1. The ABRSM International Young Composers' Competition is open to any person aged 18 or under on 31 March 2009 who has entered for an ABRSM exam in any subject. The object of the Competition is to recognize, showcase and celebrate the creativity of young ABRSM exam candidates who have an interest in and a gift for composition.

2. There are two age groups for entries:
  • up to 14 years of age (entrants must be 14 or under on 31 March 2009);
  • aged 15 to 18 (entrants must be 18 or under on 31 March 2009 ).
3. The closing date for entries is 31 March 2009. Entries received after this date will not be considered.

4. Adjudication of the competition will take place in April 2009 and the winning entries will be announced on 1 May 2009.

5. Entrants must use the official entry form and the form must be submitted with the composition. The form must be counter-signed by a teacher, head of department or other musical authority who is prepared to warrant that the entry is the sole work of the composer. Verification of the entrant's eligibility for the competition will be made by ABRSM.

6. Compositions must be written for solo instrument/voice, with or without piano accompaniment. The duration must be at least one minute and no more than five minutes. Pieces must conform to the technical parameters of one of the eight grades appropriate to the instrument(s). For guidance on technical parameters entrants should refer to and study pieces listed in the ABRSM syllabuses.

7. Compositions submitted must a) have been written specifically for this competition; b) not have been entered for any other competition; c) not have been published previously; d) be owned solely by the composer. In the case of a vocal composition, if a text is used, permission to use a copyright text must be obtained in advance by the composer and evidence of permission being granted submitted with the entry.

8. Compositions must be submitted either handwritten, clearly and legibly, or set using computer music software. The submission must take the form of a printed or photocopied score. Copies submitted will not be returned. Only one submission per entrant will be allowed. The copyright in the composition will remain with the composer. If ABRSM offers to publish a winning entry it will offer the composer a publishing contract (see below, regulation 12).

9. There will be two awards in each age group. The winner in each group will receive £1,000 and the runner-up £500. The awards will be made to the composers of the works judged to demonstrate the most originality and technical ability.

10. In the event of the adjudicators deciding that no suitable entries were received for any of the prizes, then prizes may not be awarded.

11. The winning entries will be considered for performance at a Gala Concert in the summer of 2009 in London, though performance is not guaranteed. A recording of the concert may be made, in which case ABRSM will supply the composers with a copy of the recording of their pieces. By entering the competition, entrants grant first-performance rights to ABRSM. ABRSM will use its best endeavours to ensure that any performance promoted by ABRSM will be declared to the appropriate performing rights society.

12. The winning entries will also be considered for inclusion in future ABRSM publications, though publication is not guaranteed. ABRSM reserves the right to publish the winning entries and, by entering the Competition, entrants grant first-publication rights to ABRSM. If an entry is selected for publication ABRSM will offer a contract to the composer on standard industry terms. ABRSM may waive its first-publication right at anytime, on receipt of a written request from the composer.

13. All entrants must provide ABRSM with their name, address and other contact details. ABRSM will only ever use contact details for the purposes of administering this competition, and will not publish them or provide them to anyone without permission.

14. Winners will be contacted personally by email, telephone or by mail. If a winner is unable to be contacted after reasonable attempts have been made, ABRSM reserves the right to offer the prize to another entrant.

15. Entrants must supply full details as required above, and comply with all rules to be eligible for the prize. No responsibility is accepted for ineligible entries or entries made fraudulently.

16. ABRSM does not accept any responsibility for late or lost entries due to the postal service. Proof of sending is not proof of receipt.

17. The competition is not open to employees of, or the close relatives of employees of ABRSM and its associated companies or anyone else connected with the creation or administration of the Competition.

18. ABRSM's decision as to who the winners will be is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

19. ABRSM reserves the right to cancel this competition at any stage, if deemed necessary in its opinion, and if circumstances arise outside of its control.

20. Winning entrants will be expected to take part in post-competition publicity if required.

21. Entrants will be deemed to have accepted these rules and to agree to be bound by them when entering this competition.