Red Note New Music Festival
Red Note New Music Festival

Red Note New Music Festival in the US

Red Note New Music Festival at the Illinois State University in the US is calling on composers around the world to submit entries for its composition competition.

The week-long festival features outstanding performances of contemporary concert music. The competition is open to all composers regardless of age or nationality. The competition has two categories: Category A (Works for Chamber Ensemble) and Category B (Works for String Orchestra).

Interested composers should submit their scores here under the ‘How to Enter’ section. The deadline for submissions is 1 November

General guidelines (applicable to both categories)

  • Works may include non-interactive electroacoustic elements (e.g. CD playback).
  • Works may have been performed before, but should not have been composed before the year 2000.
  • An entry fee of $25 must be included with the first score submitted, regardless of category.
  • There is an entry fee of $20 for each additional score submitted, regardless of category. For example, a composer who submits one score to Category A and another to Category B must submit a $45 entry fee. Composers may submit as many works as they like in either category.
  • Previous winners in any category of the Red Note New Music Festival Composition Competition may not enter.
  • Students, faculty, staff and alumni of Illinois State University may not enter.
  • In the unlikely event that no entry is worthy of the award in a given category, the university reserves the right to award no prizes or prize money in that category.

Additional guidelines

Category A (Chamber Ensemble)

  • Submitted works may be scored for any combination of one to seven instrumentalists (no vocalists).
  • Works must not exceed 15 minutes in duration.
  • The final round of the competition will be judged by nationally and internationally recognised composers.
  • The results will be announced on 15 December.
  • The composer of the winning work in Category A will receive a $1 000 prize, and the winning work will be performed by faculty members of the Illinois State University School of Music at the Red Note New Music Festival in Normal, Illinois, in February 2021. In the event that a performance is not possible in February 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the work will be performed during the 2021-22 season.
  • The winning composer must agree to provide parts by 1 January 2021, in order to guarantee performance.

Category B (String Orchestra)

  • Submitted works should be scored for wind ensemble, with the following maximum instrumentation: eight first violins, eight second violins, six violas, 10 cellos, six double bass keyboards and two percussionists. 
  • The composer of the winning work in Category B will receive a $750 prize, and the work will be performed by the Illinois State University Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Glenn Block, in Normal, Illinois, on 7 February 2021. In the event that a performance is not possible in February 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the work will be performed during the 2021-22 season.
  • While the ISU Symphony Orchestra is an advanced graduate and undergraduate ensemble, judges reserve the right to consider playability in their deliberations.
  • Works must not exceed 12 minutes in duration.
  • The final round of the competition will be judged by Glenn Block, conductor of the ISU Symphony Orchestra.
  • Results will be announced by 1 December.
  • The winning composer must agree to provide parts by 10 January 2021, in order to guarantee performance.

How to enter

  • Entrants should submit an anonymous PDF and audio file (MP3 or MIDI) of each score to the Red Note website here
  • The submitted PDF and audio files must be free of all names and identifying marks, other than the work’s title.
  • Questions may be addressed to Professor Carl Schimmel at rednote@ilstu.edu