Gardner Competition Guidelines

The 2024 Gardner Competition for Composers is now open!

Submission Deadline: December 1, 2023

The American Viola Society proudly announces the 2024 Maurice Gardner Competition for Composers, seeking new works for the viola. The winning composition will be performed at the 2024 American Viola Festival, to be held at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, CA, USA on June 19-22, 2024, in conjunction with the 2024 Primrose International Viola Competition.

2024 Maurice Gardner Comp

Anyone is welcome to submit a composition to the Gardner Competition. You may submit more than one composition for review. A $10 entrance fee will be charged for each submission.

The American Viola Society seeks to address the systemic and structural inequities that are part of the classical music world. We especially want to hear from composers who identify as BIPOC/ALAANA/LGBTQ. During the submission process we have made it possible to self-identify as a member of an underrepresented community.

All compositions will be anonymized and reviewed by a panel of judges which will be announced in October and will include internationally known violists and composers.

Prizes to be awarded:
First Prize – $1000, plus:
A performance at the American Viola Society Festival June 19-22, 2024 at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, CA, USA
Reimbursement of travel expenses to the festival (amount up to $500)
Second Prize – $500

Submission portal open October 1 – December 1, 2023.
Please click here to access the submission form.
Composers of winning compositions will be notified via email or phone call by February 15, 2024.

Competition Rules

  • Entries must not have been commercially recorded or previously received an official world premiere (although prior workshop performances are permitted)
  • Entries may not exceed 15 minutes in length
  • Entries may be for solo viola, viola and one other instrument, or viola and interactive media. Compositional elements beyond the classical music canon are encouraged, including jazz idioms and other improvisatory elements, electronic media and non-orchestral instruments.
  • The competition is open to composers of all ages, racial and ethnic backgrounds, gender expressions and identities, sexual orientations, nationalities, or religious beliefs.

Application Guidelines

  • The application period is October 1 – December 1, 2023.
  • The following application materials will be collected electronically via online entry form (accessible via the AVS website beginning on October 1):
    • A legible score in PDF format of the work submitted
    • A live or MIDI recording of the complete work submitted
    • An application fee of US $10 per submission, payable by credit card or PayPal 
  • Application fee waivers may be granted upon request
  • All submissions must be anonymous. The composer’s name and any other identifiable features must be removed from scores and recordings and from file names submitted. Pseudonyms are permitted.

Direct questions and inquiries to:  Martha Carapetyan, Competition Chair.