Call for entries: South African National Composers Competition

The competition is designed to enable young composers to develop their skills and recognize talent in the local creative music industry. The new competition, which targets a work of five to fifteen minutes for symphony orchestra, aims to offer composers sought-after performance opportunities.

The competition is open to all South Africans, born (or naturalised), under the age of 35, born no earlier than August 31, 1987. Entry is free.

The costs

  • First Prize: A one-year nomination as CPO Composer-in-Residence which includes a performance of the winning composition in a CPO concert and a new commission to be performed at a later date. There will also be a cash prize of R20,000.
  • Second prize: R10,000 with at least one public performance of the composition.
  • Third prize: R5,000 with at least one public performance of the composition.

The works of the two remaining finalists may be performed at the appropriate time.


  • Only one composition can be selected for the final round but others can be submitted. The work should last no more than 15 minutes and preferably no less than five minutes.
  • The composition must be an original work composed by the entrant and not published, performed or recognized in any competition. It must be free of all liability, including those vis-à-vis publishers.
  • Instrumentation for works may include strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion, piano, harp, celesta, traditional African instruments, and no more than a combination of three electronic instruments. Works for solo instrument or voice will not be accepted.
  • Developments of existing works will be disqualified.
  • The composers will retain ownership of the compositions. Composers agree that the CPO may use their composition for promotional purposes.
  • Pre-recorded music or electronic music compositions will not be accepted.

How to submit

Submissions should be sent by email and should include:

  • A clean and clear sheet music in PDF format from music notation software with the duration clearly indicated on the first page.
  • No attribution on the score to guarantee its anonymity in the eyes of the judges.
  • Explanations are only allowed for specific requirements on techniques or forms of execution and the only musical languages ​​allowed are Italian, English and Latin.
  • An audio demo in MP3 format with title: surname, first name and a short program note.
  • An application form completed and signed by the participant.
  • Two digital photos of the entrant not older than three months and measuring at least 35mm X 50mm.
  • Scanned identity document or passport with photo showing date and place of birth.

Note: MP3 recordings or the score should not be identifiable.

Where to submit

  • Submissions should be emailed to before August 31.
  • Incomplete applications and compositions that do not meet the above requirements will be disqualified.
  • All required documents must be submitted via email by August 31.]
  • Inquiries can be directed to the organizing committee or to the organizer, Louis Heyneman, at
  • The members of the jury and of the organizing committee are disqualified from participating in this contest.
  • All documents submitted will be retained by the organizers and will not be returned.


  • The jury will include eminent composers, conductors and musicologists whose names will be announced later. The jury’s decision will be final.
  • All entries will be judged anonymously and only the organizer will be aware of identities to ensure confidentiality. The jury will only examine the scores and sound files.
  • Any marking, notation or indication on the scores and any sound element on the recordings identifying in any way the composer will result in the disqualification of the candidate.
  • By registering for the competition, each candidate accepts the full rules of the competition.
  • The winner will be announced in October 2022.

Procedure and selection

  • To ensure competition fairness, all composition works will be numbered and sealed prior to selection.
  • A preliminary round will be based on the submitted scores and five finalists will be selected. The final will take place in the form of a live performance with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, where the winning composition(s) will be selected. The presenters reserve the right not to award any prize if the compositions do not meet the scoring criteria.

Relevant rights

All winners retain copyright in winning works. The winner must agree to grant the following rights to the CPO free of charge:

  • The organizer has the right to create the winning composition and the priority to publish and perform the winning composition.
  • The organizer has the right to perform the award-winning composition(s) or any other form of audiovisual products for non-commercial purposes and to publish them on social networks or YouTube.
  • Each award-winning composition, regardless of when and where it is performed, must be noted as an award-winning composition “South African Composers Competition 2022”.
  • The composers whose works are selected for the final concert will be invited to grant a media or video interview to introduce themselves and present the work. Composers will be required to be on standby for rehearsals.
  • The prize-winning works remain the full and entire property of their authors, who personally undertake in writing to allow their performance and distribution, free of all rights (with the exception of copyright and publishing rights).
  • Winners waive all rights to audio/video recordings as well as radio/television/internet broadcasts of the public sessions of the Competition, as well as subsequent use of images or videos of themselves, taken during the representation.

Subject to change

The appointment of the five members of the jury is the sovereign responsibility of the Artistic Committee of the Competition. Members are chosen for their international recognition in the world of music, regardless of racial, ideological, political or linguistic considerations.

The deliberations of the jury are governed by internal regulations. Their decisions are final and there is no right of appeal. After all the selections, all candidate composers will be notified of the results.

View original call here.

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