The Challenge

The National Young Composers Challenge is open to young musicians ages 13 to 18 who are U.S. residents.

The Challenge is simple. First, you write your own composition for small ensemble (2 to 6 instruments) or full orchestra. Then, a panel of judges chooses the top three orchestral and top three ensemble compositions to be performed and recorded by a professional symphony orchestra at the NYCC Composium. We are excited to announce that the 2017 Composium will be held at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on November 12, 2017.


At the Composium, each winning orchestral composer will be awarded $1000 and each winning ensemble composer will be awarded $500.

PLUS! Each winner will receive a professional recording of their composition.

2016 Winners

Normally, three ensemble submissions and three full-orchestra submissions are selected from the finalists. However, since this year we were overwhelmed with so many amazing scores, the judges decided to select six winning submissions from the ensemble finalists. In addition to the three winning orchestra submissions, two additional orchestra scores were awarded Honorable Mention prizes of $500 each, and performed and recorded during the first portion of the orchestra readings. From the finalists, the judges selected the following compositions to be performed at the 2016 Composium:

To listen to recordings of the winning compositions from the 2016 Composium, click here.

Ensemble Winners

Wind Quartet 1st Movement - William Shabecoff - Greenwich, CT - age 15

Violin Sonata op. 1, 3rd Movement - Daniel Cho - Wyncote, PA - age 14

On the Line - Elise Arancio - Tucker, GA - age 15

Elliptical Trinket - Calvin Yost-Wolff - Lawrence, KS - age 17

Letters Unwritten: A Short Brass Quintet - Tucker Johnson - St. Petersburg, FL - age 17

Piano Quartet no. 1 in B-Flat Major "Heroica" - Theodore Servin - Hollywood, FL - age 14

Full Orchestra - Honorable Mention

Colors of Spring - Isabella Dussias - Hillsborough, NJ - age 13

Prelude Serrate - Andrew Wang - Johns Creek, GA - age 13

Full Orchestra Winners

Spira - Julian Galesi - Brooklyn, NY - age 16

Largo for Orchestra - Daniel Zarb-Cousin - Huntington Beach, CA - age 16

Full Measure of Devotion - Robert Tindle - Miami, FL - age 18

2016 Finalists

Each year the National Young Composers Challenge receives a large number of submissions from every corner of the United States. The sophistication and quality of the scores has continued to grow each year. Because of the difficulty of picking only a few winners in each category, the judges also announce the list of finalists from which the winning scores will be selected. Each one of these composers deserves recognition as a winner, but unfortunately only a few scores can be selected from the finalists as winners.

To view the list of 2016 finalists, click here.


If you have a question regarding the National Young Composers Challenge, you can contact us at mail@ followed by


The National Young Composers Challenge is a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization supported by grants and in-kind donations from the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, University of Central Florida, Rollins College, Full Sail University, Timucua Arts Foundation, and the Goldman Charitable Foundation.