Orchestra of the SwanOrchestra of the Swan, in partnership with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, has announced the ‘Shakespeare 400’ young composers’ competition. The competition is open to unpublished composers under the age of 25 living, studying or working in the UK, USA and China.

The Composition:

  • Will be 10 – 15 minutes long
  • Will be a setting of a Shakespearian sonnet, poem, soliloquy or other suitable text
  • Orchestration will be for solo voice (high or low), single woodwind, horn, strings (54332) and untuned percussion – 1 player
  • Please note: Scores exceeding this instrumentation will not be considered

Applicants must submit:

  • A full, complete score as a pdf
  • Non-returnable administration fee of £25.00, payment may be made via the orchestra’s website
  • A current resumé/biography and a hi res colour photo
  • A short programme note explaining their composition and choice of text
  • All materials should be submitted to gro.nawsehtfoartsehcro@ofni


For the 450 Competition and performance in Spring 2014:

  • Scores must be submitted by 1 September 2013
  • The winner will be notified by 1 December 2013
  • Winning parts must be received by 1 March 2014
  • The applicant must be under the age of 25 on 1 September 2013

For the 400 Competition and performance in Spring 2016:

  • Scores must be submitted by 1 September 2015
  • The winner will be notified by 1 December 2015
  • Winning parts must be received by 1 March 2016
  • The applicant must be under the age of 25 on 1 September 2015

The Judging Panel:

Judges will include David Curtis – Artistic Director, Kenneth Woods – Principal Guest Conductor, and a panel of distinguished composers and singers including Paul Patterson, Dobrinka Tabakova, April Fredrick and Pulitzer Prize winner, Paul Moravec


Composition Competition Winner receives:

  • A cash prize of £500
  • Certificate as Winner of the Orchestra of the Swan Shakespeare 450/400 International Composition Competition.
  • World Premiere of composition with Orchestra of the Swan
  • Recording – audio and film – of the performance, for the winners’ and orchestras’ archive and promotional use
  • Orchestra of the Swan will also pay UK travel and 2 nights’ accommodation

Terms and Conditions

  • Materials will not be returned
  • The decisions of the Jury are final
  • The Jury reserves the right to not select a winner
  • Entrants must warrant that their entries are original, entirely their own work and do not infringe copyright or other third party rights.
  • Winners hold harmless the Jury and Orchestra of the Swan from any damages, claims, liabilities, and costs, or losses of any kind or nature whatsoever, which may in any way arise from the rehearsals, performance and recording
  • Orchestra of the Swan does not accept any responsibility for late or lost entries due to the postal service. Proof of sending is not proof of receipt
  • Entrants must supply full details as required above, and comply with all rules to be eligible for the prize. No responsibility is accepted for ineligible entries or entries made fraudulently
  • Orchestra of the Swan cannot accept any responsibility whatsoever for any technical failure or malfunction or any other problem with any server, internet access system or otherwise which may result in any entry being lost or not properly registered or recorded. Proof of sending is not proof of receipt
  • Winning entrants will be expected to take part in post-competition publicity if required
  • Orchestra of the Swan reserves the right to cancel this competition at any stage, if deemed necessary in its opinion, or if circumstances arise outside of its control
  • Applicants accept the above rules unconditionally and without reservation


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