5th Annual Jazz Composition Contest for Women Composers!

5th Annual Jazz Composition Contest for Women Composers!

Entries will be accepted from women only.

All entries for the 2017 contest must be a drum feature.

The winning and honorable mention compositions will be performed and recorded live by the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra with special guest Sherrie Maricle as part of the Earshot Jazz Festival in Seattle.

The winner of the contest will receive a $400 honorarium, an audio recording of her composition performed live, and the winning piece will be published by SWOJO or their designated publisher.

Honorable Mention will receive a $100 honorarium and an audio recording of her composition performed live.

Winner will be announced at the end of July.

The contest was created to encourage the composition and performance of the highest possible quality jazz ensemble literature playable by high school, college and professional bands alike.

Entries must be received by June 18, 2017 -- Apply Now!


Entries must be original, unpublished compositions by women composers for large jazz ensemble featuring a drum solo. Entrants must submit a transposed score and parts for full jazz ensemble in PDF format utilizing the following instrumentation:

5 saxophones, AATTB. Any/all woodwind doubling or soprano saxophone parts are fine, but must be optional. The chart must be playable without the doubles. Non-doubling parts must also be provided.

4 trombones (3 tenor + 1 bass trombone). Tuba may be used in place of bass trombone, but the chart must be playable with bass trombone instead of tuba.

4 Bb trumpets or flugelhorns. Common mutes (plunger, straight, cup, or harmon) are usable. The 1st trumpet range should go no higher than a written D above the staff (indicate optional higher notes) to maximize playability for younger bands.

Rhythm section of piano, acoustic bass and drum set. Any auxiliary percussion part must be optional.

Although the drummer is the primary soloist, other members of the jazz ensemble may be given solos.

The featured drum part/portions may be orchestrated to be in unison, counterpoint, or "trading" with other soloists or groups within in the ensemble. Creativity in this regard is encouraged.

No transcriptions or arrangements (except arrangements of the composer's own works) will be eligible.

The composition may already have been performed, but shall have been written in the past three years of the contest deadline and must be unpublished.

Entries shall be no longer than 10 minutes in length.


The purpose of the prize is to encourage the composition and performance of the highest possible quality jazz ensemble literature written by women. Therefore, the composition should be conceived and constructed to ensure an effective performance by high school honors jazz ensembles.

Compositions will be judged on:

Overall musical quality
Playability/appropriateness for high school, college and professional bands alike
Proper/professional notation
Attention to detail on all rules and guidelines

The winning composition will be selected by a panel of three judges. Composers will be notified by July 31, 2017.

The Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra has the option of withholding the awards if no entries are found to be suitable.


The winning composer will receive a $400 honorarium. The honorable mention composer will receive a $100 honorarium. Winner and Honoralbe Mention composers will receive a live concert recording of her composition performed by SWOJO with a guest artist as part of the 2017 Earshot Jazz Festival in Seattle, Washington. The winner is strongly encouraged to attend the performance. Travel is at the composer's own expense.

The winning composer must provide print-ready parts in PDF form for SWOJO in order for us to publish the piece by September 5, 2017. The composer agrees that the piece shall bear the subtitle "Winner of the Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra 2017 Composition Contest."

Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra will either publish the winning composition or secure another publishing company to publish the winning piece at SWOJO's sole discretion.

The composer must permit Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra to keep the submitted composition for consideration of future performance, recording, and publishing.

In the unlikely event that an unforeseen situation prevents the guest artist from performing, the piece will still be recorded, but with a different soloist.

How To Apply

All materials should be submitted electronically.

The submission must be anonymous. Therefore, the composer's name must not appear on score, parts, or mp3 recording, nor be audible on the mp3 recording. If the composer's name is announced at the recorded performance, that portion should be edited out.

Upon submission of the application form and payment, please send a zip file or link to a folder with your score, parts, and recording to compcontest@swojo.org. You are strongly encouraged to use Dropbox, Google Drive, or other free cloud storage for your contest materials as they may be too large to send as attachments in email.

Complete the composition contest application online and pay the entry fee through PayPal as provided below. Entry fees will not be returned for any reason.

Composers may submit as many pieces as she wishes, but each chart must be submitted separately with its own application form, entry fee, and email with link to all composition materials.

If you must send contest materials by mail, send a single package containing score, parts, CD recording, printout of the entry form, and entry fee of $20 USD check or money order payable to SWOJO.
Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra
Jazz Composition Contest
PO Box 31611
Seattle, WA 98103 USA

Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra's Board of Directors, Executive Director, Musical Directors, and band members are not eligible to enter the contest.

Composers must not attempt to contact any of the members of the Seattle Women's Jazz Orchestra or SWOJO Board to exert influence over the outcome of the contest. Any attempt to do so will immediately disqualify the composer and all her submissions from the contest.

18 Jun 2017
U.S. Dollar (USD)