Symphony sponsoring two competitions this season

The mostly volunteer Columbus Symphony Orchestra, marking its centennial year celebration season opening Oct. 23, will host two competitions this season: The Laura Showalter Youth Concerto Competition and the Composition Competition.

Here is an overview of each:

Laura Showalter Youth Concerto Competition

The competition is for high school-aged musicians to prepare a musical piece and audition for an opportunity to perform with Indiana’s oldest continually active symphony orchestra. The winner of the competition will receive a $500 scholarship. The deadline to apply is Jan. 6.

Applicants must be enrolled in high school or homeschooled; reside in or attend school in Bartholomew, Brown, Jackson, Jennings, Johnson, Decatur or Shelby counties; younger than 20; and pledge to be available, if chosen, to rehearse prior to and perform with the orchestra.

Type of musical pieces

• Concertos, show pieces or similar scored for a solo instrument with orchestra

• Less than 15 minutes in duration

• Must be in print and accessible to the orchestra

• Applicants are encouraged to consult with their teacher in selecting an appropriate piece

Eligible solo instruments

• Strings: Violin, viola, cello, bass

• Winds: Flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, trumpet, horn, trombone, tuba

• Percussion: Mallets and other orchestral percussion

How to apply

• Complete an online application at

• Submit an unedited recording of the applicant playing the piece to [email protected]

• If selected, perform an in-person audition for the judge(s)

• The winner will rehearse and perform with the orchestra at the Hometown Talent concert Feb. 19.

Composition Competition

This marks the second Composition Competition.

The competition is part of the symphony’s recent strategic priority to champion music by living composers. In addition to a $1,000 monetary prize, the winning composer, who must be 18 or older, will receive a world premiere performance of their composition with the orchestra at the June 4 concert.

The deadline for submissions is March 3. Finalists will be notified by March 17 and must submit parts by March 31.

Reading of the finalist’s scores will occur April 7. The winner will be announced April 14.

Applicants must be eligible to work in the United States in order for orchestra to provide payment of the $1,000 cash prize.

The work must be a world premiere original between 4 and 12 minutes in performance duration. The winning composer must attend the concert and minimum of two rehearsals, including the dress rehearsal the day of the concert.

Compositions must be scored for symphony orchestra (winds, brass, percussion, strings) and within the following guidelines: No more than three flutes (one doubling piccolo or one piccolo/two flutes OK); no more than two oboes (one doubling English horn OK); no more than three clarinets (one bass, two clarinets OK); no more than two bassoons; no more than four horns; no more than three trumpets; no more than three trombones (one bass); no more than one tuba; no more than one set of timpani; no more than four percussionists (in addition to timpani); full string section (violin I, violin II, viola, cello, bass); and works with one harp and/or one piano part(s) are eligible.

The orchestra is comprised of 60 volunteer musicians of moderate to high skill level. Samples of works performed over the last three years include George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero,” Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” and Ludwig von Beethoven’s “Fifth Symphony.”

The difficulty level of submitted works will be a consideration in the selection process. While challenging works are doable by the orchestra, due to the limited rehearsal time and the unfamiliar nature of recently written compositions, composers are cautioned not to send works of exceptional difficulty level.

All materials should be submitted electronically via email to [email protected] with score, fully realized (no piano reductions), in PDF format. There should be a link to recording of submitted work (YouTube, SoundCloud, etc.). MIDI is acceptable.

Plus, there should be a current résumé that includes applicant’s current address, telephone number and email address. The deadline for submissions is March 3.

For information, email Rachel Wilken, symphony board president, at [email protected].