International Composition Competition


July 4, 2018: Now accepting submissions for the 9th Composition Competition

February 2018: Congratulations to Balázs Kecskés, who is the winner of our 2018 Composition Competition. His winning piano quartet will be premiered by Garth Newel Piano Quartet this summer, August 11, 2018. Balázs will also be our composer in residence for that week, and will give a lecture demonstration open to the public on Friday, August 10th, at 7:15pm. All are welcome to participate in this interactive event called “The Relationship Between Composer and Performance”. Read more about Balázs in our press release here. And get to know more about him in this lovely interview of him on Ex-Pat Press.


Founded in 1973, Garth Newel Music Center is one of the most active chamber music organizations in the country. Its resident ensemble—the Garth Newel Piano Quartet—performs over 60 concerts annually both at the Center and on tour. Through this competition, the Quartet seeks to broaden the piano quartet repertoire and to support the Center’s ongoing commitment to contemporary music.

Past Winners


The Winner will receive:

  • A $3000 cash prize
  • A performance of the winning work by the Garth Newel Piano Quartet on the 2018 Summer Music Festival in July, 2018
  • A travel stipend to work with the Garth Newel Piano Quartet and attend the premiere in Hot Springs, Virginia
  • A high-quality audio and video recording
  • Frequent performances of their work by the Garth Newel Piano Quartet, and an eventual studio recording for public release by the quartet.
  • NEW! Winner will have the opportunity to also participate in a short-term residency during the time of the premiere. The residency will take place during Garth Newel’s prestigious Emerging Artist Fellowship chamber music program.
    • The winner will have the opportunity to work closely with the Garth Newel Piano Quartet and our Emerging Artist Fellows, with the possibility of readings and performances of additional chamber works by the composer.
    • Collaborate and network with talented musicians from the top music schools.


  • Submitted works must be for violin, viola, cello and piano. Piano trios and quintets are not accepted.
  • There is no time limit for works.
  • Submissions from any composer, regardless of age or citizenship, are welcome.
  • The work must be originally conceived as a piano quartet. Arrangements of previously completed work that have been performed or published are not acceptable


Compositions are ineligible if:

  • They require live electronics or cannot be performed with just stereo playback
  • The work has already received a professional premiere.
  • If they are a transcription or arrangement of another work that has been performed or published.
  • They have already been professionally recorded for commercial CD release;
  • The work, in any instrumentation, has been published.
    Refer to our FAQ for more clarification

Each composer must submit:

  • A legible score and parts of professional quality labeled with a pseudonym. No marks identifying the composer may appear anywhere on the score. The title of the work is permissible.
  • An envelope labeled with the composer’s pseudonym. Information within the envelope should include the composer’s name, address, telephone number, email address and one-paragraph biography.
  • A digital recording of the work labeled with the composer’s pseudonym (CDs or flash drives are acceptable). MIDI realizations are acceptable.
  • A self-addressed stamped envelope of appropriate size if the composer wishes to have their materials returned.

All materials should be mailed to:

Composer Competition
Garth Newel Music Center
403 Garth Newel Lane
Hot Springs, VA 24445

For electronic submission:

  • Email the score, instrumental parts, and audio file under a pseudonym to, along with the composer’s info in a pdf/word document labeled “do not open until after the results are determined”.
  • Recordings that are too big can be sent via Dropbox or google drive. Please label the titles of digital tracks with the composition name as well as the composer’s pseudonym.

For electronic submissions, email your score, instrumental parts, and audio file under a pseudonym to, along with your biographical info in a pdf/word document labeled “do not open until after the results are determined”.


All materials must be received by November 1, 2019.  Applicants will be notified of the result by e-mail no later than January 31, 2020.

For further information or questions, please call Garth Newel Music Center at 540-839-5018 or email