Chamber Music Composition Competition

Chamber Music Composition Competition

100 Years of Musical Innovation

In 2022 we are celebrating the centennial of "Pershing's Own" and our national heritage of creativity in American chamber music. With the inauguration of this new competition, we welcome the next century of innovation, diversity, and excellence.

The United States Army Band "Pershing's Own" is proud to announce the winners of its first chamber music composition competition, honoring and showcasing new and recent chamber works by American composers, carrying on a tradition of celebrating excellence for 100 years since the band's formation in 1922. During the pandemic especially, American composers from all walks of life have been creating new chamber music at a blistering pace, more music than can be heard or performed, and we intend to shine a light on such recent works that have gone unnoticed or underrepresented. We are proud of our nation's artistic achievements and are excited to illuminate and showcase them in new ways.

In June 2022, a panel of acclaimed composers and members of the U.S. Army Band "Pershing's Own" reviewed 209 submissions and selected the most exciting and innovative works. Two works were chosen as winners, with three runners up.

Rehearsal of the winning works will begin in August, recording will commence in September, and by the end of October, Pershing's Own Chamber Players will release a professionally produced video performance of the winning submissions across their social media outlets, including interviews with the composers.

Despite only being able to choose a few pieces to represent on this competition, there were many wonderful works that were reviewed. We look forward to performing from this cache of excellent new American music in seasons to come. We are grateful to all of the applicants, and congratulate you on your artistry!

Meet the Winners

Congratulations to Susanna Hancock and David Clay Mettens, the winners of the inaugural, centennial edition of the Pershing's Own Chamber Music Composition Competition! Check back in mid-October 2022 for video performances of these works and interviews with the composers.

Check back in October to watch our performances of the winning works!

Meet the Runners Up

Congratulations to our runners up, Sean Friar, Saad Haddad, John Liberatore! These composers' works were regarded in the highest esteem by our review panels. Please check out their work! We wish them a huge congratulations on their artistic achievements, and are grateful to become acquainted with their compositions.

Meet the Guest Review Panel

These esteemed composers reviewed our 48 semi-finalist submissions. We received 209 submissions from Americans living in 41 states, Puerto Rico, and four other countries!

Meet our Competition Advisor

In launching a new national competition, we sought expert input and perspective from a respected composer and educator who has organized many calls for scores: few are as accomplished, experienced, and effective in this regard as Dr. Baljinder Sekhon. His advice was critical in shaping a fair, inclusive, organized competition that yielded great results. From Pershing's Own: thank you, Dr. Sekhon!

Panel Review Methodology

Submissions are reviewed in three stages:

  • A preliminary panel of musicians and composers at Pershing's Own will review applications for eligibility and rules compliance. If the remaining submissions total at more than 50, a cursory quality review will reduce the pool to no more than 50.
  • An external review panel of four esteemed composers—unaffiliated with the military, but representative of American compositional prowess—will review the entries for the highest quality compositions.

    As a diversity of compositional styles are welcome, one of the panelists will be a composer with expertise in jazz and/or commercial music.

    They will adjudicate according to their own personal compositional value systems, adhering to a 0-3 numerical ranking system. Their results will be numerically tallied without discussion; the panel will not discuss works with each other except in the event that their numerical rankings do not yield a consensus. This panel will make a recommendation to Pershing's Own for the best quality compositions of the field.
  • Out of the external review panel's consensus recommendations, a final panel of Pershing's Own musical leadership will determine which works to schedule for video recording. These will be declared the winner(s) and the remaining recommendations will be honored as runners up. Our ensemble's pragmatic ability to learn, execute, and record the work well is a factor in this final review.

Eligibility

Carefully review the requirements below for submission eligibility. Then, please feel free to apply with your best submission or inquire further at the contact information near the bottom.

Composer Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States of America.
  • There is no age limit, but composers should be in the earlier stages of their careers (if in doubt: apply).
  • By submitting, composers waive their synchronization rights for US Army Band "Pershing's Own" video performances of the submitted work.
  • If chosen, composer agrees to participate in video interviews to support our production of their work.

Submission Eligibility Requirements:

  • Submitted works must not already be recorded by a major ensemble or available on a commercial record release.
  • Works should be composed within the most recent 15 years (on or after May 17th, 2007)
  • Parts must be ready and deliverable by August 1st, 2022.
  • Maximum of 1 (ONE) submission per composer.
  • Diverse styles of music are welcome for consideration, to include jazz or traditional music. The external review panel will have at least one jazz/commercial music composer. See section below on review methodology.
  • Works submitted should be primarily acoustic in nature, but electronic components are welcome. It is strongly recommended that composers submitting works with electronic aspects inquire ahead of time to be certain that we have the capability of translating the intended effect well over a videorecording.
  • Between 3-15 players. Standard doublings are acceptable (i.e. clarinet/bass clarinet). Here is a list of the types of instrumentalists available at Pershing's Own:
    • Flute/piccolo/alto flute
    • Oboe/English horn
    • Bassoon
    • Clarinet (alto/bass/Bb/A/Eb)
    • Saxophones (SATB available)
    • Trumpet/cornet/flugelhorn
    • French Horn
    • Trombone & Euphonium
    • Tuba
    • Violin
    • Viola
    • Cello
    • Harp
    • Percussion (inquire for specifics)
    • Drum set
    • Bass (acoustic or electric)
    • Piano / Keyboards
    • Guitar (all types, acoustic, electric, banjo, mandolin, etc.)
    • Voice (all styles and ranges)
    • Electronics (please inquire for specifics before applying)

Contact

Please direct all questions to Sergeant First Class Doug O'Connor, NCOIC of the Chamber Music Series and competition coordinator, at douglas.h.oconnor.mil@army.mil.

Email SFC O'Connor

Hear Pershing's Own Chamber Music


Under the Sun's Gaze: Concerto da Camera III


Chamber Concert: African American Composers' Celebration @ The Millennium Stage


United States Army String Quartet - Millennium Stage (August 30, 2017)


Saxophone Chamber Music @ The Millennium Stage (August 7, 2018)


Swamp Romp - Millennium Stage (September 22, 2018)


Strings & Saxes @ the Millennium Stage


Tuba / Euphonium Quartet @ The Millennium Stage


The U.S. Army Band Brass Ensemble



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