Two winners of the international contest will have their music accompany ballet performances in 2021.

The Colorado Symphony is hosting an international competition to pick two original compositions to be performed in two ballets next year.  

The Symphony has partnered with ballet company Wonderbound in an effort to get up-and-coming composers to submit their work. The two have collaborated for around five years and decided to try the competition idea as a way to do something new and innovative next season.

Composers who would like to enter will be provided two narratives, and the piece must fit one of them.

Narrative One is about a woman, her radio, a man looking for love, an orphaned bird, and a life-changing event. Choreography will be done by Sarah Tallman, who has written two poems to share as inspiration for the piece and to give depth and insight into the characters.

Narrative Two is about a young car mechanic who wanders the city of Chicago on an afternoon off from work at the Ideal Garage. Choreography will be done by Garrett Ammon, who hopes to offer a new perspective on the tale of The Afternoon of a Faun by novelist Edna Ferber. She was inspired to write the 1921 story after an afternoon at the symphony. Ferber’s story, along with a collection of writings, music, and dance are shared on the website to provide inspiration and background.

Here are some must-know details for anyone interested in entering the contest:

  • Those interested in entering need to submit an 8- to 10-minute recording of the composition and a full score.  
  • Compositions must fit into one of the two narratives.
  • Pieces need to be able to accommodate 1 flute, 1 oboe, 1 clarinet, 1 bassoon, 1 horn, and strings (
  • The initial composition should be 8-10 minutes in length. The complete work, if selected, will be 35-45 minutes in length.
  • Applicants may enter up to one original composition of their own that is an unpublished work and does not infringe upon the copyright or other right of another work or person. (Arrangements will not be accepted). Previously written work may be submitted only if it is unpublished and premiered.
  • Plagiarism of copyrighted material is illegal.
  • The contest is open to everyone.
  • The deadline is December 11, 2020.

Compositions will be reviewed anonymously by the International Compositions for Dance Competition Panel and winners will be selected in February 2021.

Two winners will be selected, one for each narrative. The winners will receive a $7,500 cash prize, a roundtrip ticket to Denver, and a hotel for the premiere on October 15, 2021. Full rules can be found here.

We wish the best of luck to all who enter!