2019 Composition Competition for Young Composers - Call For Scores

2019 West Cork Music Composition Competition

String Quartet Composition Competition
for Irish citizens/residents under 35

The winning works will be premiered at
The 24th West Cork Chamber Music Festival 28 June – 7 July 2019


We are delighted to announce that the 12th West Cork Chamber Music Young Composers’ Competition is now open for entries. We welcome submissions from all Irish and Irish-resident composers Under 35. Past judges of this competition include Donnacha Dennehy, Lera Auerbach, Brett Dean and Deirdre Gribbin. The adjudicator for the 2019 Competition will be announced in due course.

Past winners of the Competition include Seán Doherty (commissioned to write a chamber opera for the 2012 Olympics), Solfa Carlisle and Amanda Feery, (both winners of the Seán Ó Riada competition), Robert Coleman (NCH Jerome Hynes competition winner) and Finola Merivale (a Benjamin Franklin fellow at the University of Pennsylvania). Congratulations again to the 2018 winners, Darragh Kelly, Daragh Black Hynes, Omar Zatriqi and Lisa Robertson.



The work:

  • Scored for string quartet (2 violins, 1 viola and 1 cello). Works requiring other instruments, pre-recorded sounds or electronics are not eligible for consideration.
  • 5-8 minutes duration
  • Has not been performed in concert before a ticket-buying public audience prior to its performances at the 2019 West Cork Chamber Music Festival

The competition will be judged anonymously and the international judge will select four winning scores on equal footing.

Each of the four composers will receive:

  • €750 prize money
  • 3 nights’ accommodation at the festival
  • 2 public performances of their work by a conservatoire quartet at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival. The second will be the official World Premiere played at the quartet’s Town Concert (a date in early July).
  • The first performance will be at a workshop attended by all four composers and the public. The composer will have a chance to discuss their work with the international judge and the musicians.  The assigned conservatoire quartets will perform the works as they are workshopped and experiment with compositional suggestions. 
  • Each composer will have an opportunity to work the performers prior to the work’s first public performance.

Conditions of entry:

1. Entrants must be under the age of 35 on 1st January 2019.
2. Entrants must either hold Irish nationality, be born in or resident on the island of Ireland, have an Irish-national parent, be an International student at an Irish third-level institution, or have lived in Ireland for at least one year.
3. Competition entry is free.
4. Each entrant can submit one work only each year.
5. We can accept submissions from previous entrants and past winners under the age limit. Any works entered in previous years cannot be resubmitted.
6. Works that have been performed in concert before a ticket-buying public audience prior to the Festival (28 June – 7 July, 2019) are not eligible for consideration.
7. Scores must be submitted to West Cork Music by 23:59 on Tuesday 19th March 2019. All scores must be submitted electronically.
8. Compositions will be assessed by an adjudicator chosen by West Cork Music. West Cork Music reserves the right to change the adjudicator in extremis.
9. This competition is adjudicated anonymously. Any indication of the composer’s name or address on the score would lead to disqualification.
10. Winning compositions will be announced on www.westcorkmusic.ie by 24th April 2019. The four winning composers will be notified directly by email.
11. All winning composers must submit instrumental parts by 2nd May 2019 for distribution among members of the conservatoire quartets.
12. It is a condition of entry that composers agree to attend the workshop in Bantry on Sunday 30th June at 14.00. In the event of non-attendance, prizes will be withheld. The festival will offer 3 nights’ accommodation to facilitate the composers’ attendance. All other expenses incurred are the responsibility of the winning composers.
13. West Cork Music reserves the right to alter dates and times of the Young Composers Forum and subsequent performances.

How to Enter:

This competition only accepts entries by email.

Email subject: QCC 2019

Attachments: an anonymous pdf of the score. Please check headers, footers, etc. do not contain your name. Any text that identifies the composer could lead to disqualification.

In the body of the email please list:
- Composition title
- Composer’s name
- Composer’s date of birth
- Details of Irish citizenship/residency
- Current address
- Phone number
- Current place of study (where applicable) and study level (undergraduate, masters etc.)
- Where you found out about the competition (website name, word of mouth, email circulated etc.)

Please send the above to Mary-Ellen Nagle at this email.

Good luck!


To view previous winners, from 2008 - 2018, click here.