Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composer’s Award 2022

Ninth Planet is excited to announce the 36th annual Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composer’s Award. An award of $1,000 will be given for a new chamber work. The winning work will be performed in the San Francisco Bay Area during Ninth Planet’s 2022-2023 concert season. Works not awarded prizes will also be considered for programming.


Composers of any age, nationality, and educational background may enter. Composers who identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color, as well as women and gender non-binary composers, are strongly encouraged to apply.

Previous winners of this award are ineligible.


Entries may be scored for one to five performers plus conductor. Performers shall be drawn from the core instrumentation of the ensemble Ninth Planet (one player each):

  • flute/piccolo/alto flute/bass flute
  • clarinet/bass clarinet
  • trombone
  • electric guitar
  • piano
  • violin
  • cello
  • double bass

Scoring may include one or two instruments not listed above, including voice(s) and electronics, but must include at least one member of the core instrumentation. There is no limit to piece length.

Examples: a string quartet is eligible, as is a trio for flute, viola and harp. A duo for oboe and French horn is not eligible, nor is a work for voice and harpsichord.

Composers may submit more than one work.

Preparing Your Entry

Submit an ANONYMOUS .pdf and streaming audio link (such as SoundCloud or Dropbox) of each score on the submission form. The submitted .pdf’s and audio links must be free of names and identifying marks (including composer, dedicatee, performer, and publisher names). A non-refundable entry fee of $25 USD for one work and $20 for each additional work is due on submission. Please proceed to HOW TO SUBMIT below.


All submitted works will be reviewed a panel comprised of the members of the Ninth Planet Artistic Committee.

Deadline: February 6, 2022


The Suzanne and Lee Ettelson Composer’s Award is an annual prize for composition. It was first awarded in 1986 by Composers, Inc., a non-profit advocate organization for living American composers.

The prize began in 1986 as a composition prize for living American composers. In 1991, the prize was renamed in honor of Lee Ettelson (1898-1988). He was a successful reporter and editor for newspapers across the country, working for several years as the right-hand-man of media titan William Hearst. After retiring from journalism at The San Francisco Examiner, he also served as the head of the California Department of Motor Vehicles under Edmund G. (Pat) Brown. Lee’s wife, Suzanne Ettelson (1913-2005) was a driving force in the San Francisco music community. She founded the San Francisco Chamber Music Society in the 1960s, before helping found Composers, Inc, where she served on the board for several years, including as the board president. After her passing, her name was added to the award.