Composition Contest

The University of Louisville School of Music Announces
the Frank Robert Abell Young Composers Competition for New Chamber Music

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This Award was established by a generous bequest from the estate of Frank Robert Abell, a longtime Louisville philanthropist with close ties to the University of Louisville School of Music. He had a deep love for contemporary music and a strong desire to help younger composers.


Any composer residing anywhere in the world, age 18-26 on the date of the deadline for submission. Faculty and staff of the University of Louisville or Indiana University Southeast, and their spouses and children, are not eligible to enter. Current and former students of the University of Louisville or Indiana University Southeast, and their spouses, are not eligible to enter. Winners will be required to confirm their date of birth before the Award is conferred.


First Prize, $10,000 USD
Second Prize, $6,000 USD


June 1, 2016

Submission requirements:

  • Only one entry per composer
  • Works must have been completed within three years of the submission deadline
  • Minimum length: 12 minutes; no restriction as to maximum length. The minimum length will be strictly enforced, and will be based on the actual length of the submitted recording, regardless of what is indicated in the score.
  • Single or multi-movement works welcome
  • For 3-8 performers. Works may include voice(s) and/or electronics (fixed media and/or live). In the case of live electronics, performers required must be included in the total of 3-8 performers. In the case of fixed media, personnel required merely to turn on playback must not be counted in the 3-8 performers.
  • A score and recording (mp3 format only), as well as a brief bio in English must be submitted digitally. The recording must be of the exact forces indicated in the score. Both live performances and studio recordings are welcome. No MIDI realizations or other artificial playback will be accepted.
  • Winning composers are required to verify their age and residency before the Award is made official and announced publicly.

There is no entry fee.

Additional Information

Winners agree that the University of Louisville School of Music may perform and/or record the winning works without fee or royalty in perpetuity. The winners agree to the use of their names, photo, video and audio recordings for publicity purposes.
The Committee reserves the right to withhold either or both prizes.
The University of Louisville School of Music will seek out opportunities to perform the winning works, especially at the annual New Music Festival (mid-November), but such performances are not guaranteed. In the event of a performance, the Award Committee will underwrite the composer’s expenses (travel, lodging and meals) to Louisville in order to attend rehearsals and the performance. The winning composers agree to give a presentation about their music to the Composition Seminar, speak briefly at the performance about the winning compositions, and engage in other similar activities while in Louisville.
Note to prospective entrants: This Award is for contemporary concert chamber music, intended for live performance, especially music which is forward-looking or progressive. The Selection Committee will take an expansive view of what constitutes concert music, but the Award is not intended for music in standard pop or jazz genres. Music with pop, jazz or other non-classical influences is eligible, however.
For more information contact email Daniel Worley


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Previous Abell Contest Winners