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Rules & Guidelines

Eligibility (Four Categories):

Junior - Open to student composers enrolled through 8th grade as of May 1, 2016 and not older than 15. There is no lower age limit, but compositions should be of a mature level suitable for public performance.

High school - Open to student composers enrolled through 12th grade as of May 1, 2016 and not older than 19. Compositions should be of a mature level suitable for public performance.

University/Emerging Artist - Open to composers born on or after June 1, 1986.

Career Professional - no age limit.

Any individual may enter a higher category, but must choose only one. Past winners are not disqualified if entering different works. Multiple submissions are acceptable if remitting a separate entry fee for each piece.


Professional - First Place $1000 cash award, Second Place $750 cash award.

University/Emerging Artist - First Place $750 cash award, Second Place $500 cash award.

Junior and High School - First Place $150 cash award, Second Place $75 cash award.

How to Apply:

Send to
Foundation for Modern Music
1915 Commonwealth, Ste. 204
Houston, TX 77006

  • 3 copies of musical score, 2 of which must be free of any identifying information including composer name (no originals, hand-written manuscripts must be legible, measure numbers provided at each system). One copy may remain in the FMM library.
  • 3 copies in CD format of rehearsal or performance of the work marked only with composition title, no composer name (required for University and Career Professional entries, strongly encouraged for High School and Junior Divisions).
  • Copy of state ID, driver's license, birth certificate, or passport for all but Professional Division entrants
  • Printed application fee payment receipt from PayPal if you paid online, or check or money order payable to Foundation for Modern Music if you prefer to mail your application fee
  • Appropriately stamped return package envelope for return of scores and recordings (required if return of materials is desired)

To maintain anonymity, all names will be removed from scores and recordings prior to adjudication. The judges will receive no information about the applicant, and the winning composition will be chosen solely on its artistic merit.


Instrumentation - Solo or chamber work not to exceed 5 performers. Any solo or combination of voice and/or standard acoustic instruments accepted. Non-standard and electronic are acceptable only if arrangements for the performers and any equipment needed in the finals concerts are provided by the composer. Organ and extensive prepared piano cannot be accommodated at this time.

Length - Maximum duration for Junior Division entries is 10 minutes. All others should be 5-15 minutes in length. Composition must have been completed after January 1, 2011. If an excerpt, representative selection, or movement of a larger work is entered, only that portion is to be programmed.

Application Deadline:

All application materials (in their entirety) must be postmarked no later than July 15, 2016.

Public performance (with audio recording) of winning compositions from Professional, University, and High School divisions in Fall 2016. University and Professional finalists must be prepared to travel to Houston for the concert. Judges may award Honorable Mentions (without monetary prizes or performances) at their discretion.

Email office@modernmusic.org to alert the competition organizer of entries and to facilitate communication.

Application Fee:

All funds received are devoted to competition activities, primarily to fairly compensating world-renowned composers for their ample time and effort in judging new works. For a listing of former judges and competition winners, please see the competition history.

We are pleased to offer secure online application fee payment through PayPal for your convenience. You may also mail payment as described above.

Junior Division
- $30 non-refundable
High School
- $30 non-refundable
University/Emerging Artist
- $40 non-refundable
Career Professional
- $75 non-refundable