Student Symphony Orchestra of USC: Call for Scores 2021-2022

Rules and Guidelines

The Student Symphony Orchestra is an entirely student-run orchestra based at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Its purpose is to enrich and enhance its surrounding community by promoting equity, accessibility, and innovation in collaborative music-making. In pursuit of this purpose, the organization keeps concerts free of charge to all audiences, strives to maintain inclusive membership policies, actively diversifies its repertoire, and develops novel artistic initiatives.

The Student Symphony Orchestra would like to invite you to submit your original music to our annual Call for Scores competition! Please familiarize yourself with the Call for Scores guidelines before submitting. Composers may submit as many works as they choose so long as they pay a separate entry fee ($10) for each piece submitted and fill out multiple forms. Half of the entry fee will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and half will be dedicated to programing and performing music by AAPI composers. You may request a fee waiver due to financial hardship by emailing Selected works will be performed in the 2021-2022 season.

All composers, regardless of age, nationality, etc. are eligible to submit.

DEADLINE: 8/20/2021 11:59 PM PDT [Pacific Daylight Time]

Instrumentation: From works for solo instruments to full orchestra, we potentially have the capability to play any instrumentation written but feasibility will be taken into consideration. If your piece meets our standard for selection, it will be programmed. However, suggested instrumentation for our full orchestra is as follows:

  • Winds: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons (with doublings available for piccolo, english horn, and bass clarinet)
  • Brass: 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombone, 1 tuba
  • Percussion: timpani [up to 4], xylophone, cymbals, triangle, snare drum, bass drum, tambourine, tam-tam, and chimes for up to 3 percussionists
  • Piano/Celesta
  • Harp, Strings (divisi permissible)

*Works may be written for indeterminate instrumentation or set instrumentation.

**While solo works will be considered, pieces for two or more players will be given preference.

***If your piece calls for additional instrumentation, we will do our best to accommodate it if your piece is selected. However, we are likely to prioritize works that fit within our standard instrumentation.

Difficulty Level:

Many of our players are non-music majors who studied their instruments privately through the end of high school, so please take that into consideration. There will be at least one advanced player for each instrument who will be capable of playing any solos.

Repertoire from previous concerts includes Holst’s Planets, Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain and Pictures at an Exhibition, Gold’s Percussion Concerto on Songs from Turkmenistan, Bologne’s Symphony no. 2, Williams’ Zodiac Suite.

Duration: There is no strict duration limitation of the work, but in the past, most of the works we have chosen have been under 20 minutes with the majority being 3-10 minutes.

Format: Please email scores and parts in pdf format to 11×17 in. for scores (may submit 8.5×11 in. for a chamber orchestra score) and 8.5×11 in. for parts. [Note: In standard international sizes, this is A3 and A4 respectively.]

Please also include a recording or mockup when possible (highly recommended). MP3 or WAV are permissible.

Naming convention: Last name, First name- Title of Piece (Part/Score)

Entry Fee: $10 per piece submitted via PayPal [to]

Submission Application: Once materials and entry fee are submitted, please fill out this form to confirm your submission details.

Prize: Performance of the work by the Student Symphony Orchestra of USC and audio & video recordings of the work

Works will be judged primarily based on how well they fit our ensemble’s level and how they fit into the scope of our season’s artistic programming (with supplementary consideration to the legibility of the score and parts).

Please note that all submitted materials will remain secure and will not be distributed in any way beyond the purposes outlined in these guidelines to award the prize.

Winners will be announced by September 1st, 2021 11:59 PDT

Any questions or concerns? Please reach out to: