CASH PRIZE OF $5,000
The American Bandmasters Association (ABA) and John Philip Sousa Foundation are proud to announce the 65 th Sousa-ABA-Ostwald Composition Contest. Since 1956, this composition contest has stimulated the creation of many important new compositions for concert band and is responsible for more original band music than any other competition of its kind.
The 2023 Award Committee will consider concert band compositions with a completion date no earlier than August 1, 2020, with a maximum difficulty rating of grade 4.
The Sousa-ABA-Ostwald Committee (Committee) consists of ABA members who screen and judge the entries according to the rules listed below.
The winning composition will be performed at the 2024 American Bandmasters Association Convention, which will be held in Washington, D.C., March 6-9, 2024.
Rules and Entry Information
- Entries must be emailed to the Committee Chair (address below) no later than 11:59 p.m. CDT on August 1, 2023.
- Submissions must be original compositions for band with a completion date no earlier than August 1, 2020 and that have not previously been submitted. No transcriptions or arrangements are allowed, with the exception of works transcribed for band by the composer. (For these entries, the completion date of the transcription will serve as the date of eligibility).
- There is no prescribed instrumentation for this award, but entries should be scored for an ensemble that consists primarily of winds, brass, and percussion. The conventional symphonic band instrumentation is approximately as follows: Piccolo, Flutes, Oboes/English Horn, Bassoons/Contra Bassoon, E-flat Clarinet, B-flat Clarinets (3 parts), Bass Clarinet, Contra Bass Clarinet, Alto Saxophones (2 parts), Tenor Saxophone, Baritone Saxophone, Cornets/Trumpets (at least 3 parts), French Horns (4 parts), Trombones (3 or 4 parts), Euphoniums, Tubas, String Bass, Percussion. The score may also include Piano, Harp and/or other keyboard instruments and may also include electronic elements produced by a synthesizer or computer. Works for solo instruments with wind accompaniment are also eligible for consideration.
Reasonable instrumentation limits for grades 1 & 2 will be considered.
- There is not a maximum/minimum length for entries, nor is there a limit on the number of movements. The number of works submitted by a composer is limited to three per year, and each entry must be sent separately. ABA members are not allowed to submit a work for consideration.
- Candidates should submit their entries via email to the address below. Submissions should include a PDF of the full score and an MP3 recording utilizing the instrumentation indicated on the score. Please do not send paper scores and/or parts and note that MIDI-type realizations will NOT be accepted; recordings MUST be produced from a live performance or recording session. All scores and recordings must be redacted of any information identifying the composer, consortium
members, dedications, performing group, or any other pertinent information. Scores that have not been sufficiently redacted will be returned to the composer, but can be resubmitted once the redaction is complete. Scores not resubmitted by the August 1 deadline will not be considered.
- The ABA would like to release the title and composer information for the Sousa-ABA-Ostwald Award finalists. Please note on your entry email your approval/disapproval to share this information with the public. Consent will not impact the committee’s evaluation.
Please submit the following information to the committee chair. Identifying information will not be disclosed to the
committee until the final award has been made.
*Date of Completion
*Recording Conductor and Ensemble
*Composer Biography (This should include private teachers and schools attended)
- Receipt of entries will be verified by an email reply from the Committee Chair. Candidates who have not received a confirmation within one week are encouraged to resubmit or contact the Committee Chair.
- After the final round of judging is complete in September, the winner will be notified by a member of ABA and an announcement will be posted on the ABA website. The winning work will be performed at the 2024 American Bandmasters Association Convention in Washington, D.C. Depending on the length of the work, the ABA may decide to use an abbreviated version of the winning composition at this performance.
- The winning composer will receive a cash prize of $5,000. The prize entitles the ABA to performance rights at future ABA conventions. The composer must furnish a score and a set of parts at no charge to ABA, as well as the rights to release a recording of the ABA convention performance. Winning Composers are encouraged to attend the convention performance. Some travel expenses will be paid by the ABA in order to help facilitate the composer’s attendance at the convention.
- The Committee reserves the option of withholding the award, a decision that would be reached by no less than a 75% majority.
- All rights to the work, including copyright and publisher negotiation, remain with the composer, except for performance rights at ABA conventions (see #9 above).
- PDF and MP3 files should be emailed to the Chair of the Committee, Dennis Fisher ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) no later than 11:59 p.m. CDT on August 1, 2023.