International Composition Competition


2/4/2020: Congratulations to Jordan Kuspa, winner of our 9th International Composition Competition!

11/2/2020: Submissions are now closed for the 9th Composition Competition.

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:

  • Glovie and Dick Lynn New Music Prize ($3000 )
  • A performance of the winning work by the Garth Newel Piano Quartet on the 2020 Summer Music Festival in July, 2020
  • A travel stipend to work with the Garth Newel Piano Quartet and attend the premiere in Hot Springs, Virginia
  • A high-quality recording of the premiere
  • Frequent performances of their work by the Garth Newel Piano Quartet, and an eventual studio recording for public release by the quartet.
  • 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 her/his/their other chamber works.
    • 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 works 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. (A student performance within the school community is allowed).
  • 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 submissions:

  • 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 11:59pm on 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 email