The Young Composers Competition will return in 2022. Lease check back later for more information.

Read more about the winners of the 2018 PYO Young Composers Competition.

Listen to the 2018 winning compositionManhattan Nights, recorded live in Verizon Hall on June 10, 2018.

The PYO Music Institute is issuing a call for orchestra scores for its third annual Young Composers Competition.  The winner will have his or her orchestral piece premiered by the PYO Music Institute (PYO), an ensemble which is now in its 79th season, in Verizon Hall at The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

For the 2018-2019 Young Composers Competition, only composers born between September 1, 1994 and September 1, 2000 may apply.  Composers must be US citizens, permanent residents, or current foreign students at American schools.  Composers must speak, write and understand English in order to dialogue with the orchestra, mentor composer and conductor about his or her work.  Proof of age and citizenship or legal status in the country will be required.

The performance of the composer’s work will be part of the orchestra’s Annual Festival Concert to be held this season on June 2, 2019.  The winning composer will be selected collaboratively by orchestra’s music director, Maestro Louis Scaglione, and the director of the Young Composers Competition, Sheridan Seyfried.  Mr. Seyfried is a Philadelphia-based composer, and is a graduate of The Curtis Institute of Music where he studied with Richard Danielpour, Jennifer Higdon and Ned Rorem. 

The winning composer will correspond with Mr. Seyfried to discuss his or her score and make revisions as needed.  The composer will be expected to travel to Philadelphia twice.  All expenses for travel and accommodations will be the responsibility of the composer.  The first trip will be in March for a reading/working rehearsal with the orchestra.  The composer will arrive on a Thursday or Friday to have a private coaching session with Mr. Seyfried prior to the orchestra reading rehearsal on a Saturday morning.  The composer will have time after the rehearsal to consult with the Maestro Scaglione and Mr. Seyfried to consider any revisions.  The composer will be mentored by Mr. Seyfried throughout the rehearsal process, as the orchestra encounters the work and necessary revisions are made.  The second trip will be in June for the composer to attend the world premiere, and will last approximately 3 days.  The composer will be furnished with a professional recording following the concert that will be suitable for his or her own non-commercial purposes.

All scores submitted are not to have been professionally recorded, published, and not have any performance history of any kind. Works should be between 5 and 12 minutes in duration and scored for a maximum of the following instrumentation: Perc/Harp+Piano+Strings (basses have no C extensions)

Standard doublings are acceptable in the woodwind sections (up to 1 piccolo, 1 English horn, 1 Eb Clarinet, 1 Bass Clarinet and 1 Contrabassoon). No works are accepted for string orchestra, wind ensemble, or works with a soloist (no instrumental concerti or works with vocal solo or vocal/choral ensemble). The maximum instrumentation need not be employed, but the work should use a full orchestra. The full battery of percussion instruments available is as follows:

bass drum; cymbals (crash and suspended); xylophone; vibraphone; marimba (4 octaves); orchestra bells; chimes; and various standard small battery instruments (i.e. triangle, gong, snare drum, field drum, claves, ratchet, whip, castanets, and etc.).

The grand prize winner will receive all the benefits outlined in the 2nd paragraph, as well as a cash prize of $2,000.  The premiere performance on June 2, 2019 may be subsequently broadcast/webcast by WRTI-FM and

The second place winner will have the opportunity to discuss his or her score with Mr. Seyfried and will also receive a cash prize of $1,000.

The third place winner will receive a cash prize of $500.

Deadline for submission of scores is November 15, 2019.  Submissions should be made electronically as an e-mail to and should contain the following information:

  1. Composer’s name, address, telephone number, e-mail address
  2. Composer’s age (required), country of citizenship and gender (optional)
  3. Composer’s current school with address and phone number
  4. Resume and bio
  5. A cover letter and/or statement explaining the composer’s work is optional
  6. A brief description on how you heard about this competition

The score should be attached as a PDF file, and a midi representation (.mp3) must accompany the submission. If an acoustic recording of the work or part of the work exists, that can be sent.

IMPORTANT: all score files MUST be anonymous—there should be no information in the file itself, in the file name, or on the title page, that gives away a composer’s name.  This will be considered a disqualifying factor as it may introduce bias into the judging process.

While the applicant will retain ownership of their submission, all submissions will be kept by the PYO Music Institute. No materials submitted as part of this competition will be returned. PYO Music Institute reserves the right to use submissions for publicity and/or display.