orchestra


The American Prize in Composition—Opera, Theater, Musical Theater, Film, Dance, 2021-22

REVISED DEADLINE: Tuesday, June 22, 2021, with extensions available by email request for those who need more time and request it before the June deadline. Questions? Email: theamericanprize@gmail.com


The American Prize in Composition recognizes and rewards the best composers in America of works for orchestra, chorus, concert band, chamber ensemble, theater, opera, dance or film that have been publicly performed, or read and recorded. COVID RULE CHANGE / RECORDINGS: Although readings or recorded performances of music in the composition contests is preferred, we will accept midi or computer generated performances this year in all divisions. A new, separate category for works composers themselves would consider "pops" may be accessed via the orchestra, choral and band music composition contest pages.

NEW CATEGORIES, OPPORTUNITIES for COMPOSERS in 2021-22:

 

1. The "Student Composer" category has been eliminated. Two new categories, one for College/University Composer and one for High School Composer replace it.

 

2. On the application form, two special categories have been added for 2021-22. One category allows you to designate your work "COVID related;" the other is for compositions you designate "SOCIAL JUSTICE related." These are subcategories of each main composition contest for which a separate prize will be awarded, should there be enough entrants.

 

For example, assuming enough entrants, The American Prize will select three separate winners in orchestral music in each of the divisions: professional composer, college/university composer, high school composer. Again, assuming enough entrants, two special additional awards will be selected in the orchestral category, for works 1) "COVID related", or 2) "SOCIAL JUSTICE related". In each composition category it is possible to win one, the other, both or all three prizes. There is no additional application fee required to be considered in the additional categories. Simply highlight the designation on the application form underneath the name of the composition(s) should they fit either category.

 

Works "COVID related" or "SOCIAL JUSTICE related" have a theme, text, title or emotional content appropriate for the designation. The works need not have been written within the last year, but should, at the very least, be appropriate in response to those important international traumas. Questions? Please email Maestro Katz at theamericanprize@gmail.com

 

3. In 2021-22, a new contest for VIRTUAL PERFORMANCES has been added to which composers may apply, should they wish. This is a separate contest requiring an additional fee. Please click "VIRTUAL PERFORMANCES" in the "COMPETITIONS" menu, above, for complete information.

 

4. Although the application itself does not specify it as a requirement, in addition to bios and photos, composers are invited to supply a short program note or other commentary (up to 150 words) about their work(s), including it as part of their application email. In some cases the judges may find the additional information useful.


5. Composers may also wish to apply for the ERNST BACON MEMORIAL AWARD for the PERFORMANCE of AMERICAN MUSIC, being offered in broader categories (including chamber music). The deadline for the Bacon contest is later. Details here.


WHAT WINNERS WIN:
The American Prize is more than monetary. The Prize grew from the belief that a great deal of excellent music being made in this country goes unrecognized and unheralded, not only in our major cities, but all across the country...in schools and churches, in colleges and universities, and by community and professional musicians. Laureates of The American Prize at all levels of achievement derive local, regional and national recognition to help generate jobs, build audiences and sustain careers. Semi-finalists, finalists and winners are announced to national arts media and on our websites, where winners are profiled. Semi-finalists, finalists and winners earn the right to use The American Prize logo and official seal on printed programs and other documents, and on the web. Thousands of artists have derived benefit from their participation in the contests of The American Prize.

SEMI-FINALISTS: All semi-finalists receive official certificates.

FINALISTS and RUNNERS-UP: All finalists receive certificates and short comments about their audition. Runners-up receive certificates and written, unbiased evaluations from our distinguished national panel of judges. When winners are announced on The American Prize blog, RUNNERS-UP are also profiled on the blog with their photos, biographies and website links.

WINNERS: A single winner in each category and/or division is selected. Winners receive certificates, written evaluations, personalized press releases sent by us to local media and other contacts you provide as part of your application, and cash prizes up to $500, depending on the year, the category and the number of entrants.
Only with your explicit permission, excerpts of winning performances may be posted to The American Prize channel on .

The judges reserve the right to award citations and honorable mentions as warranted, and to combine categories when necessary. The decision of the judges is final.



DOWNLOAD OPERA/THEATER/FILM/DANCE COMPOSITION APPLICATION HERE (PDF)


OVERVIEW:
The American Prize in Composition is offered in six divisions: works for orchestra, chorus, concert band, chamber ensemble, theater (including opera, dance and film), or pops, and in three categories, based on your education and experience. You may make application in any division or in all. Works for chorus and orchestra or chorus and concert band performing together should be submitted in the Choral Division. Works composers themselves would consider "pops" should be submitted using the "POPS" application on the band, orchestra or choral composition contest pages.


The three categories are:
    1. professional composer
    2. college/university composer (actively engaged in learning the art & craft of composition in a school or other educational setting)

    3. high school composer

ELIGIBILITY:
The competitions of The American Prize are open to all U.S. citizens, whether living in this country or abroad, and to others currently living, working and/or studying in the United States of America, its protectorates and territories. The American Prize does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, gender, age, spiritual or personal belief, disability, sexual preference or gender identification. All application fees must be remitted in U.S. funds.

HOW TO APPLY:

Every applicant must send certain required information by email.

Applicants can then complete their application either of two ways:

 

A. ONLINE PRIMARILY: pay fees online, submit the downloaded application as a PDF or scan, along with the required emailed information (see application form), include links to performances of your music online. Application forms for The American Prize can be filled out on computer, saved and emailed by using Adobe Reader 11. Download it free here.

Send scores by mail or consider if the new PDF option is right for you (See below.)

or
B. BY MAIL & EMAIL: mail the completed, downloaded application form, send scores, and recordings of your music on disc to the office, and email the required information (see application form), pay fees online, or by check, money order or credit card.

 

COVID RULE CHANGE / NEW PDF OPTION: Although sending two hard copies of scores to The American Prize office for each application submitted is still preferred (enclose a stamped self-addressed envelope minimum size 11x14 inches to have scores returned at the end of the contest) we understand that is not possible for everyone this contest year. We will accept PDFs of scores attached to online applications. Identify them clearly. Questions? Email us at theamericanprize@gmail.com

 

PROCEDURE:  

   1. Download the application form for The American Prize in Composition—Opera/Theater/Film/Dance Division. On the form, select the category which best identifies the applicant.
    2. MAIL the completed application form by the deadline date or EMAIL it as a PDF attachment with your required email.

    3. If providing recorded selections of your music ONLINE, include the links to them in your required email (see application form.)

    4. If providing recorded selections of your music BY MAIL, include two identical recordings of the composition(s), with the composer, conductor, ensemble and work clearly indicated both on the recording and on the sleeve or box. Be sure both list applicant's name.

    5. All applicants: SEND BY MAIL TWO identical bound copies of each complete score (no reduced or short scores.) Provide a self-addressed envelope (minimum size 11x14 inches) and proper postage if you would like scores returned. See "NEW PDF OPTION", above, for exceptions to this rule.
    6. Be sure to sign the form and pay the application fee. Pay ONLINE, if you wish, (click "FEES/GIFTS" in the menu bar, above), or use this link: "Pay competition fees", or send check, money order or credit card information by mail.
    7. Be sure to email the required information (see application form.)

The application fee is $50 per application. Pay ONLINE (click "FEES/GIFTS" in the menu bar, above) or use this iink: "Pay competition fees" pay by credit card, or make checks payable to HCMT/The American Prize (see application form.) Application fees are nonrefundable. No incomplete applications will be accepted. When paying online, BE SURE to identify the applicant with the payment.Parents, teachers and others interested in applying for a David Daniels Scholarship, which covers up to 80% of application fees to The American Prize contests for high school-age students only (currently enrolled or home schooled in any U.S. state, territory or protectorate), please write to David Katz, chief judge of The American Prize, at theamericanprize@gmail.com. Place the words "Daniels Scholarship Endowment" in the subject line of the email. To learn more about David Daniels and the scholarship created in his memory, please click to visit the article on our blog.


REQUIREMENTS for the RECORDED AUDITION

The American Prize in Composition—Opera/Theater/Film/Dance Division

The American Prize in Composition—Opera/Theater/Film/Dance Division is designed to evaluate and reward composers of works for "theater" which have already been performed or read and recorded. The performance may be by students, community, or professional musicians. See "COVID RULE CHANGE / RECORDINGS" above, for exceptions to this rule.) Do not block out your name on scores. Composers do not remain anonymous.

 

A "work for theater" is defined as any composition that is intented for theatrical (staged) performance, including opera, chamber opera, music theater, performance art, dance, installations, incidental music for plays, film, television or internet. (This definition is purposely broad to allow the largest number of potential contestants to be eligible.) We seek to welcome the greatest variety of composers of theater music from throughout the country, including those that may feature electronic elements, either prerecorded or performed live. If you have questions about eligibility for a particular work, please email theamericanprize@gmail.com.

Complete works should be submitted when possible, or, at minimum, a major segment, scene or act. If sending recordings by mail, performers, works and composer must be clearly identified on the disc and on the cover or box. Because the judges wish to be able to experience both the visual and/or dramatic aspects of the work in relation to the musical, we prefer (but no longer require) online links or DVD recordings of the music in theatrical performance. COVID RULE CHANGE: We will accept, audio-only, "concert-only" or computer realized recordings. There are no other restrictions. No scores will be returned without a self-addressed envelope (minimum size 11x14 inches) and proper postage.

There is no restriction as to when the composition was created.


A. If sending recordings BY MAIL, performers, works and composer must be identified on the disc and on the cover or box.

 

B. If submitting ONLINE links to your recordings, include in your required email. Be sure to identify the links by composer and title of the selection and provide any passwords necessary, so judges can easily access your materials. Links must remain active until the end of the contest year. PLEASE NOTE: The responsibility for the viability of links rests with the contestant. Please double-check that they work correctly.

 

SEND required email to: theamericanprize@gmail.com


GENERAL TIMELINE for this competition:

Completed applications will be confirmed by email.

 

In general, the competition process is completed over a number of months. Semi-finalists are announced in the fall and winter, finalists in the winter & spring, followed by winners—after which all certificates, evaluations and prizes are mailed. Specific dates for the announcement of each stage of the competition are posted in regular updates to the competition's blog and facebook pages. Find those links on the homepage of this website.

 

The American Prize competitions are administered by Hat City Music Theater, Inc. (HCMT), the 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in Danbury, CT.