Composition Contest


The Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble is pleased to announce the 10th composition contest! Even though the global pandemic has given us an array of challenges to overcome, the ensemble is eager to continue this wonderful tradition. A complete list of winners from previous years can be found at:

The contest has been created to encourage composers to write for big bands and to give Ithaca College students the experience of evaluating and performing new music. Students participate in the judging of the contest.

This year, the contest will award prizes to three winning composers, with increased prizes from previous years:

  • Grand prize winner will receive $2500
  • 2nd place winner will receive $1000
  • 3rd place winner will receive $500

If conditions allow, the Jazz Ensemble plans to perform the winning pieces in a live-streamed event/concert on April, 30 2021.

The Jazz Ensemble has decided not to require an entry fee for composers this year. However, composers may only submit one piece to the contest.


Judges will use five primary criteria to assess submissions: Musical quality, jazz tradition, musical accessibility, appropriate level of difficulty, and professional notation. See contest rules for more details on judging criteria.


  1. Read the complete detailed rules before submitting at:…
  2. Fill out an online entry form, including PDFs of your score and parts and a demo recording, at the address:


Entries must be submitted online through the form linked above no later than Monday, March 1 at 5pm EST to be eligible for the contest. Pieces received after that date will be excluded from consideration.


General contest questions can be addressed to Mike Titlebaum, Director of Jazz Studies at


Please send questions before February 22, 2021. Questions received after that date may not be answered before the contest deadline. In any correspondence, do not include any specific aspects about your piece, because doing so may breach confidentiality of the judging process.

We’re looking forward to hearing your music!