Three musicians seated playing stringed instuments

2020 Composition Competition

To celebrate the creation of new music, and to encourage beauty out of chaos, ClefWorks is calling for new compositions for the 2020-2021 Season. We are looking for pieces that explore themes related to The Year 2020: Life, Headlines and the Soul of America. This year’s Composition Competition is open in two categories: String Quartet and Classical Guitar Solo.

String Quartet:

Deadline for submission – November 30, 2020

Prize – $1,000

Judges – Samford Quartet

Tentative Performance Date – February 2021

Classical Guitar Solo:

Deadline for submission – January 14, 2021

Prize – $500

Judges – Doug Back and Kevin Manderville

Tentative Performance Date – April 2021

Guideline and Details –

Eligible Compositions: Compositions must be for a string quartet OR a solo guitar.  Works must be original, unpublished, and not professionally recorded or performed. You may submit more than one composition, but an entry fee must accompany each submission.

Composer Age Limit : 18 -35

Composition Length: Six minute maximum.

Electronic Submissions: Please submit an e-mail to with the full score attached in PDF format. Do not include the composer’s name on the PDF attachment, so that the judging may be blind. In the body of the e-mail, please state your name, email address, phone number, mailing address, the title of the composition and confirmation of payment. We will ask finalists for additional biographical information and program notes prior to announcement.

Recordings: If an mp3 or MIDI recording exists, you may attach the electronic file. A recording might be helpful for the judges, but it is not required. Some previous winners submitted recordings and others did not, so use your judgement about how well the recording showcases your composition.

Deadline for submission:

String Quartet Compositions must be received by 11:30pm CST, November 30, 2020

Classical Guitar Solo Compositions must be received by 11:30 pm CST, January 14, 2021


Entry fee: The competition fee is $20, payable to ClefWorks, Inc. Entry fees must be received by November 30, 2020 for String Quartet and January 14, 2021 for Guitar Solo. A separate fee must accompany each submission.  Please visit our Composition Competition page to submit the entry fee.

Tentative Performance Date:

In the past, ClefWorks has invited the winner to travel to Montgomery for the premiere. We will not be doing that this season, but we hope to reinstate that portion of the program in the future.

String Quartet – The winning piece will be premiered either virtually or in a small setting in late early February 2021.

Classical Guitar Solo – The winning piece will be performed in April 2021.

Announcement of Winner: ClefWorks will publicly announce the winner at and on social media in January for String Quartet and in February 2021 for Guitar Solo. The winning composers will also be contacted personally.

ClefWorks Acknowledgement: Programs for future performances of the winning work must acknowledge the Composition Competition award.

Questions? Go to, or contact Jenny Brown at 334-603-CLEF