Guidelines & Rules

Eligibility (Four Categories):

Junior – Open to student composers enrolled through 8th grade as of May 1, 2019 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, 2019 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, 1989.
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.

Prizes:

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.

To apply, send as attachments to  office@modernmusic.org:

  • Completed (scan as pdf) application form.
  • Copy (pdf scan) of state ID, driver’s license, birth certificate, or passport for all but Professional Division entrants; sensitive data (license number, etc.) may be covered but birth date legible.

Use a service like Dropbox or Google Drive to share the following files as links in your email.

  • A score (pdf format) without composer name or other identifying information (scans of hand-written manuscripts must be legible, measure numbers provided at each system). Name files with format [Title].pdf
  • An mp3 sound file 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; MIDI acceptable). Name files with format [Title].mp3

Your entry fee may be paid through PayPal (links below); be certain to notify us in your email if the name will differ from the composer’s. Alternately, a check or money order payable to Foundation for Modern Music can be mailed by deadline to:

Foundation for Modern Music
3601 S. Sandman, Ste. 210
Houston, TX 77098

To maintain anonymity, all names should 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.

N.B.: All works must be free of exclusivity rights (for example by commissioning artists) by January 2020 unless composer agrees to fund travel expenses and performance fees above our normal compensation for Houston musicians. Any restrictions on performance of a work by performers, publishers, etc. must be waived or the place and prize may be forfeited.

Parameters:

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, 2014. If an excerpt, representative selection, or movement of a larger work is entered, only that portion is to be programmed.

SHORT FILM SCORES

Eligibility (Two Categories):

University/Emerging Artist – No age limit, but composer has not scored for more than three released full-length movies or documentaries.
High School and Junior – Open to student composers enrolled through 12th grade as of May 1, 2019 and not older than 19. Compositions should be of a mature level suitable for public performance.

Use of preexisting films, a time-honored tradition for students of film scoring, can only be allowed in instances in which the film has been made an open source for this purpose. All works must be free of exclusivity rights and available to present to the public in a theater venue without expense to FMM other than the prize award. Any royalties or restrictions on performance of a work by directors, performers, producers, publishers, studios, etc. must be waived or the place and prize may be forfeited.

Prizes:

University/Emerging Artist – First Place $750 award, Second Place $500 award.
High School and Junior – First Place $150 award, Second Place $75 award.

First places will be presented in an FMM program in the 2019-20 season; second if time allows.

How to Apply:

Send as attachments to  office@modernmusic.org:

  • Completed (scan as pdf) application form.
  • Copy (pdf scan) of state ID, driver’s license, birth certificate, or passport for High School and Junior Division entrants; sensitive data (license number, etc.) may be covered but birth date legible.

Use a service like Dropbox or Google Drive to share the following files as links in your email:

  • An mp4 video file without composer name; compressed sizes for computer viewing are encouraged but winners will need to provide files large enough for big screen resolution. Name files with format [Feature Title].mp4
  • If notated, musical score (pdf) without composer name or other identifying information (score is optional). Name files with format [Feature Title].pdf

Your entry fee may be paid through PayPal (links below); be certain to notify us in your email if the name will differ from the composer’s. Alternately, a check or money order payable to Foundation for Modern Music can be mailed by deadline to:

Foundation for Modern Music
3601 S. Sandman, Ste. 210
Houston, TX 77098

To maintain anonymity, all composer names must be removed from any scores and edited out of movie credits prior to adjudication. The judges will receive no information about the applicant, and the winning composition will be chosen solely on its artistic merit.

Parameters:

Instrumentation – Any solo or combination of voice, electronic, and/or acoustic instruments accepted.
Length – Maximum duration for any single entry is 10 minutes. Composition must have been completed after January 1, 2014.

Applications Deadline:

December 20, 2019 (payment and electronic submission deadline).

Public performance (with audio recording) of winning compositions from Professional, University, and High School divisions in 2019-20 season. Finalists are encouraged to travel to Houston for the rehearsals and concert, but are not required to.

Judges:

FMM will appoint a panel of at least two depending on the entry numbers. Internationally acclaimed composers and performers on past panels have included William Bolcom, Kyong-Mee Choi, Edmund Cionek, Colin Eatock, Carlisle Floyd, Gabriela Frank, Arthur Gottschalk, Daron Hagen, Ted Hearne, Laura Jackson, Anne LeBaron, Tania Léon, Carman Moore, Christopher Theofanidis, Juan Trigos, Mary Carol Warwick, and Barbara White.

Application Fee (non-refundable):

Funds received are devoted exclusively to competition activities, primarily to fairly compensating world-renowned composers for 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
High School – $30
University/Emerging Artist – $40
Career Professional – $75