Composition Department

Student Activity

"Dean's Prize" Composition Competition

Sponsored by the Jacobs School of Music Dean and Composition Department, the Dean’s Prize Composition Competition has been held annually since 1977 and since 1993 had also included the commission of a new work from the winner of category B.  Submission procedures at the bottom of this page!

"Dean's Prizes" are awarded in four categories:
Category A 

$500 for a work for orchestra or concert band with or without electronics, with a minimum duration of 8 minutes. (minimum orchestra size: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons; 2 horns, 1 trumpet, 1 trombone; strings [multiple players on each part]). Providing that the winning score does not involve soloist or chorus and has a duration under 15 minutes, the department will make efforts to arrange for the performance of the work during summer or during the following season by one of the school's orchestras or bands.

Category B 

$300 for a chamber or ensemble work for three to seventeen instruments, with or without voice or electronics, with a minimum duration of 8 minutes. Additionally, if the chosen student is returning to IU the following year or is graduating from the DM program, the winner of this category will be offered a $700 commission to compose a new work for ensemble which will be premiered by the IU New Music Ensemble.  If the Cat. B prize winner is ineligible for the commission, another student will be chosen for that opportunity. Duration, instrumentation and a deadline for the new work are to be decided in consultation with director of the NME and the student's current teacher.  

Students entering a work in Category B should indicate whether they wish to also be considered for the Georgina Joshi competition, in which case either a) their submitted work should include a vocal part or b) they should append an example of their vocal writing to their entry.  The Composition Department Faculty will choose 2 works from Category B as commission prize winners; one of these commissions will be the Georgina Joshi Commission for a work for solo voice and instruments. During the summer following the award, the director of the NME will meet with both commissioned composers to determine the length and instrumentation of the commissioned works.

Category C (Open to undergraduates only) 

$300 for a chamber work for up to ten performers for any combination of instruments and/or voices, with or without electronics, with a minimum duration of 5 minutes.

Category D (Established in honor of Morris and Sheila Hass)  

$300 for a work that is either solely electroacoustic or that uses electronics as a significant part of its instrumentation and that does not conform to one of the categories described above.  The minimum duration of the submitted composition should be 7 minutes.

  • Entries which fall outside the guidelines stated above for each category, or which do not follow the conditions below, cannot be considered.
  • All compositions submitted must have been composed during the student's tenure in the Indiana University School of Music.
  • Students may submit different works in several categories, but no more than two works in any single category. 
  • Submitted scores should demonstrate a high standard of notation, whether copied by hand or by computer.
  • Audio files are optional (except for cat. D).
  • The duration of the composition should be indicated on the title page.
  • If the judges feel that no entry is worthy of the award, none will be made. Decisions will be announced as soon as feasible after the deadline.
  • Winners from previous years are only allowed to enter categories they have not yet won.

12:00 noon, on the Monday following Spring Break.


Cat. A, B & C:  PDF score only. Make sure that your score is formatted well and understand that today this partly means that people can peruse your score efficiently on a computer monitor.  Speak to your teacher if you have any question about this.

All PDFs and mp3s must be uploaded to the Submissions Folder at: 

Use this format for filenames:

<A,B,C or D>_<lastname>_<title>.pdf
Example of a category A entry filename:  A_Baker_Lamentations.pdf
Example of a category B entry filename:  B_Freund_Pentecost.pdf 
Example of a Joshi/category B filename:  JB_name_title.pdf 
Example of a Joshi vocal sample filename:  JVS_name_title.pdf  (submitted if above does NOT include a vocal part)

Recordings are strongly recommended though not required.  Upload mp3s with filenames as above but ending .mp3


Categories A,B,C: enrollment in composition. Cat. D: enrollment in composition or electronic music. [Fall enrollment provides eligibility for the following spring.]

The commissioned student (Cat. B) must be returning to IU the following year or graduating from the DM program.