As you like it

Composition Competition:

Compose or submit an original work

of any duration and scale,

from a solo work to chamber orchestra*.


For the seventh year running, the Álvarez Chamber Orchestra (ÁCO) is inviting composers of any age and nationality to submit works for an annual composition competition.

  • There is no specification as to the length or nature of the work.

  • If electronics are used, if not notated conventionally and fully in the score, a CD or mp3 should be supplied. .

  • A recording of the work should also be submitted if the score is notated graphically or in any other unconventional format. 

  • There is no restriction on the number of works submitted by each composer but each piece will incur the same entry fee of £26.

  • The work may be a new piece or may have been written at any time in the composer’s career.

  • Each piece should have only its title printed on the cover: the identity of the composer, including address, email, phone number, biography, photograph and programme notes should be placed in a separate sealed envelope also marked with the same title.

  • The scores may be submitted electronically as pdf files with the composer's pseudonym as heading to the following address:


          The accompanying details should be sent in another email with the same heading to the

          same address.

  • The deadline for posted entries has been extended to September 15th, 2017 - posted scores arriving after that date will be accepted if postmarked with the closing date.

  • Composers submitting their scores via a link on a file sharing site such as Dropbox should ensure the files remain uploaded until receipt of the written adjudication following the conclusion of the competition.

  • All entries that the ACO receives will be acknowledged prior to adjudication. Composers will be notified if any files of an electronic submission are corrupt or missing. If is the responsibility of the composer to provide the ACO with pdf files that can be opened. If the composer is unable to supply the requested downloadable and readable files within the time limits detailed above, the entry will be deemed disqualified.

  • Please contact the ACO at for further clarification.

  • The maximum* size of the orchestra is as follows:


    2 flutes (2nd doubling piccolo)

    2 oboes (2nd doubling cor anglais)

    2 clarinets (2nd doubling bass clarinet)

    2 bassoons (2nd doublng contrabassoon)

    2 horns




    timpani (doubling second percussionist)

    percussion (one player)



    any keyboard

    6 violins

    2 violas

    2 cellos

    1 double bass.

  • Minimum specification is a single performer  

There is a first prize of £1000

and the Mullord Award of £500


The main reason for entering the Competition each year is the excellent and detailed feed-back one gets afterwards.

Recently I had a request to perform the Song Cycle I had entered for ‘Going for a Song 2011’. I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of trying out (and adopting) the suggestions made by the judging panel.

Song Cycle ‘Seagull’ will be performed by Karen Harries – soprano and the Wymondham Symphony Orchestra on 5th July 2014 – the 30th anniversary concert for the orchestra in Wymondham Abbey Norfolk.

Thank you judging panel – long may the encouragement you are giving composers continue!


Kenneth Ian Hÿtch FTCL

ISM President (2009/10)


The entry fee is £26 per work which includes postage costs for return of scores. Payments may be made via Paypal by clicking below

If entering the details via paypal independently of this link, please use this email address, not the one given earlier for the submission of scores:


If you prefer, cheques may be made payable to The Álvarez Chamber Orchestra.


Scores should be sent to the ACO company address: 5 Rensburg Road London E17 7HL. There will be a prize of £1000 for the winning work and a performance by the Álvarez Chamber Orchestra at a future season.


Recordings of the works are not required.

The judging panel will be confirmed later in the year, but will include some of the following:


Edwin Roxburgh: Composer and conductor: awarded the Cobbett Medal for Services to Music.

                           Formerly Professor at the Royal College of Music and Birmingham Conservatoire.

Paul Patterson: Manson Professor of Composition, Royal Academy of Music  

Mtthew Schellhorn: visionary concert pianist

Giles Swayne: Composer in Residence, Clare College, Cambridge 

Richard Stoker: Formerly Professor at the Royal Academy of Music

Simon Campion: Publisher

Geoffrey Alvarez: Conductor, The Alvarez Chamber Orchestra


The competition will be administered by ÁCO treasurer Trevor Huntley, Audrey Ellison,

Ellison & Strømsholm International Artists' Management  and secretary Phillip Costen.

  • The decision of the jury will be final and binding.

  • All competitors whose entries comply with the competition regulations will receive a detailed report of the adjudication.

  • All printed submissions will be returned.

  • The jury reserve the right not to award a prize if the submissions are not of sufficient quality.


Further details:
Geoffrey Álvarez
Artistic Director/Conductor
The Álvarez Chamber Orchestra

Registered Charity No. 1120668
Company Limited by Guarantee No. 6227728.
Registered in England and Wales.
Registered Office: 5 Rensburg Road London E17 7HL
Telephone: +4420 8521 7642
Mobile: 07710 427 923