Alvarez Chamber Orchestra 'Voice your opinion': 9th Annual Composition Competition:

Alvarez Chamber Orchestra

'Voice your opinion':

9th Annual Composition Competition:

Compose an original vocal work

of any duration and scale,

from a solo sung piece to chamber orchestra* with voices.

First prize - £1000

Mullord Award - £500

Closing Date 15th September 2018

For the ninth year running, the Álvarez Chamber Orchestra (ÁCO) is inviting composers of any age and nationality to submit works for an annual composition competition.

There is no specification as to the length or nature of the work apart from the inclusion of a vocal element.

The voice part may be a setting of any text or pure vocalisations: an English translation should be provided for any non-English text.

If electronics are used, if not notated conventionally and fully in the score, a CD or mp3 should be supplied.

A recording of the work should also be submitted if the score is notated graphically or in any other unconventional format.

There is no restriction on the number of works submitted by each composer but each piece will incur the same entry fee of £26.

The work may be a new piece or may have been written at any time in the composer’s career.

Scores may be submitted electronically as pdf files to the address of competition administrator Trevor Huntley:

Each piece should have only its title displayed on the cover. The identity of the composer, including address, email, phone number, biography, photograph and programme notes should be placed in a separate email marked with the same title and sent to the same address.

Scores may also be submitted as hard copies which should be sent to the ACO company address:

5 Rensburg Road London E17 7HL

In addition to the two awards mentioned above, there is the prospect of a performance by the Álvarez Chamber Orchestra at a future season.

The deadline for posted entries is 15th, 2018 September - posted scores arriving after that date will be accepted if postmarked with the closing date.

Composers submitting their scores via a link on a file sharing site such as Dropbox should ensure the files remain uploaded until adjudication has been completed.

All entries that the ACO receives will be acknowledged prior to adjudication. Composers will be notified if any files of an electronic submission are corrupt or missing. It is the responsibility of the composer to provide the ACO with pdf files that can be opened. If the composer is unable to supply the requested downloadable and readable files within the time limits detailed above, the entry will be deemed disqualified.

Entries should not contain a pseudonym; all entries will be allocated a unique reference number by the ACO competition administrator to ensure the composer's identity remains unknown. Identities will only be revealed to the adjudicators once their final decision has been made.

Please contact Trevor Huntley if further clarification is needed.

The maximum* size of the orchestra is as follows:

2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo)

2 oboes (2nd doubling cor anglais)

2 clarinets (2nd doubling bass clarinet)

2 bassoons (2nd doublng contrabassoon)

2 horns




timpani (doubling second percussionist)

percussion (one player)



any keyboard

6 violins

2 violas

2 cellos

1 double bass.

The vocal component can range from a solo voice

to a chamber choir of mixed or single-sex voices.
Minimum specification is a single voice.

The entry fee is £26 per work. Payments may be made via Paypal by clicking below

PayPal – The safer, easier way to pay online.

If entering the details via paypal independently of this link, please use this email address:

If you prefer, cheques are accepted, payable to The Álvarez Chamber Orchestra.

Alternatively, we accept payment by bank transfer to the ACO account:

The Alvarez Chamber Orchestra

Account NO. 65268120

Sort Code 089299

The judging panel will be confirmed later in the year, but will include some of the following:

Silvina Milstein: Professor of Composition and Analysis,

University of Cambridge and King's College, London

Edwin Roxburgh: Composer and conductor: awarded the Cobbett Medal for Services to Music.

Formerly Professor at the Royal College of Music and Birmingham Conservatoire

Giles Swayne: Composer in Residence, Clare College, Cambridge

Richard Stoker: Formerly Professor at the Royal Academy of Music

Robert Walker: Composer, conductor, writer, broadcaster (including the BBC Promenade concerts)

and formerly lecturer at Mahidol and Silpakorn Universities.

Geoffrey Alvarez: Conductor, The Alvarez Chamber Orchestra

The competition will be administered by ÁCO treasurer Trevor Huntley, Audrey Ellison,

Ellison & Strømsholm International Artists' Management and secretary Phillip Costen.

The decision of the jury will be final and binding.

All competitors whose entries comply with the competition regulations will receive a report of the adjudication.

All printed submissions will be returned.

The jury reserve the right not to award a prize if the submissions are not of sufficient quality.

Geoffrey Álvarez
Artistic Director/Conductor
The Álvarez Chamber Orchestra

Registered Charity No. 1120668
Company Limited by Guarantee No. 6227728.
Registered in England and Wales.
Registered Office: 5 Rensburg Road London E17 7HL

Comments from previous participants

This was the most gracious and welcomed rejection that I have yet received! Truly, I think that it is a wonderful idea to send constructive feedback to composers. Often, it feels like the decision is political - or mostly arbitrary on account of the unthinkable amount of work it takes to fish through [sometimes] hundreds of applications. A commentary proves that careful, genuine consideration was made. Please relay my thanks to Dr. Alvarez for his time and comments. My chamber group hosts regular composition competitions, and I wish now to adopt this model.

I will gladly apply for future competitions with the ACO!

David Matthew Brown

illumine, director, violinist, composer
Merion Mercy Academy, orchestra director

The main reason for entering the Competition each year is the excellent and detailed feed-back one gets afterwards.

Recently I had a request to perform the Song Cycle I had entered for ‘Going for a Song 2011’. I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of trying out (and adopting) the suggestions made by the judging panel.

Song Cycle ‘Seagull’ will be performed by Karen Harries – soprano and the Wymondham Symphony Orchestra on 5th July 2014 – the 30th anniversary concert for the orchestra in Wymondham Abbey Norfolk.

Thank you judging panel – long may the encouragement you are giving composers continue!

Kenneth Ian Hÿtch FTCL

ISM President (2009/10)

15 Sep 2018
British Pound (GBP)