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Welcome to the NYSSMA Young Composers Honors Concert Application!  Students who submit a composition will receive a written evaluation of their piece, as well as consideration for inclusion in the 26th Annual Young Composers Honors Concert at the NYSSMA Winter Conference in Rochester.  Selected students will also participate in coaching workshops and a post-concert reflection with their fellow student composers, members of the NYSSMA Composition & Songwriting Committee, and the NYSSMA Composer-In-Residence.

  • Grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12.
  • Works by 12th graders will receive evaluations but will not be considered for concert performance.
  • Although composition quality is the primary criterion, NYSSMA will attempt to represent all three age categories and will seek to program a concert of varied style, genre and instrumentation.


  • Each K-12 student making application must be enrolled in a NYSSMA Participating School District in order to be eligible to submit compositions.
  • Compositions must not exceed five (5) minutes in duration.
  • Composition submissions shall include a score and an audio recording of the work.
  • Compositions may be for a solo instrument or voice or for an ensemble of instruments and/or voices.
  • If the composition is composed using electronic media and is intended to be performed in a recorded format, please submit to the Electronic Music Showcase.
  • Art songs utilizing poetry written by the student or another poet should be submitted to this Young Composers Honors Concert.  Songs in any style with original lyrics should be submitted to the Songwriters Showcase.
  • Each applicant may submit a maximum of two compositions, but each submission requires a separate application and payment of the $30 submission fee.
  • If a composition is selected for performance at the Winter Conference, NYSSMA will assist in recruitment of performers, but NYSSMA cannot guarantee that a performance will take place.
  • Students whose compositions are selected will be expected to attend the Winter Conference.
  • Travel, housing and other expenses for students who attend the Winter Conference are the responsibility of the students' family and/or sponsoring school.

The committee evaluates the submitted compositions based on three broad criteria:
Compositional Technique includes the following elements, where applicable:

  • Organization of pitch elements such as melody, harmony and counterpoint
  • Organization of rhythmic elements
  • Formal design
  • Accuracy and clarity of notation
  • Appropriate writing for instruments and/or voices

Overall Musical Appeal includes the following aspects:

  • Stylistic coherence, regardless of the particular style
  • Effective handling of unity/variety and tension/release
  • Effective use of dynamics, articulations and expressive marks
  • Interaction of all of the musical elements (atmosphere, mood, direction, flow of the work)

Creativity refers to aspects of the piece that reveal the composer's individual "voice" and distinguish the piece from a musical exercise or a direct imitation of another piece.
If some of these terms are not familiar to you, please discuss them with your teacher or contact the committee chairperson at comp@nyssma.org.
The criteria listed above are not intended as a "checklist" for each student to go through as they compose a piece.  Each work is unique.  The committee attempts to assess each composition on its own merit.


  1. Complete the Submittable Application Form and upload materials no later than June 9, 2024.
  2. Upload the score as a PDF file
  3. Upload an mp3 audio file recording of the composition.
  4. Submit the $30 payment as per Submittable.

For further information, please contact Dr. Rob Deemer, NYSSMA Composition Committee Chair at comp@nyssma.org.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.