Young Composer Award

Important information for composers

The health and safety of our audience members, staff and musicians is top priority.

The Willoughby City Council Young Composer Award continues to accept entries. However, due to COVID-19, we have postponed the announcement of the winners and performance of the winning entry to later this year, with a date yet to be decided. 

The closing date for entry has been extended until 31 August. Please submit your entries online.

We remain committed to enriching the life of this city and region through music and championing emerging composers and the arts ecosystem. We look forward to receiving your submission. 

Willoughby City Council graciously thanks Mark Wakely for his kind donation to Young Composer Award in memory of his late partner Steven Alward.


The Willoughby Symphony Young Composer Award is an annual competition providing young composers the opportunity to have their work performed, and recorded live, by the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra. This prestigious award is in its 15th year and has been a springboard for a generation of composers. In addition to prize money, the recipient gains valuable experience and contacts refining their original score alongside a respected conductor and accomplished Orchestra. The only award of its kind in Australia, it’s hosted by Willoughby Symphony Orchestra and supported by Willoughby City Council and generous donors.

The Young Composer Award winner will receive:

  • A cash prize of $5,000
  • Two premiere performances of the winning composition with the Willoughby Symphony Orchestra

The runner-up will receive (without a performance)

  • Encouragement Award, consisting of a cash prize of $1000. This prize is not transferable.


To enter, applicants must be:

  • Under the age of 30 (born on or after 1 January 1990)
  • An Australian citizen
  • Currently residing in Australia

Submission Criteria

The composition/score submitted must:

  1. Be a new, original composition never before performed, workshopped or published
  2. Be no longer than ten (10) minutes duration
  3. Must use  the following instrumentation:

    2 Flutes (Fl. 2 can doub. picc.), 2 Oboes, 2 Clarinets (Cl. 2 can doub. bass clarinet), 2 Bassoons, 4 Horns, 2 Trumpets, Timpani; Strings: (

Please note that submissions that use instruments not stipulated in this list will not be considered.

Previous First Prize winners of the Fine Music/Willoughby Symphony Young Composer Awards cannot apply.

Entries must be received by 9am Monday 31 August 2020

Performance Information

  • The world premiere performance of the selected composition will take place at subscription series concerts later this year.
  • Both performances will be held at The Concourse, Chatswood.

Application Guidelines

  • Application is free of charge
  • Entrants are required to complete all applications online.
  • Score submissions should be in PDF format and labelled “LastName_FirstName_Title.pdf
  • Please submit audio recording as an .mp3 file, must not to exceed 25mb. Label file as “LastName_FirstName_Title.mp3
  • Scores should include a title page listing:
    • Name
    • Date of birth
    • Contact details (phone, email, address)
  • Do not include your name or any other identifiable material on any pages of score (other than the title page).
  • Please submit an audio recording (from your music notation software) as an .mp3 file, not to exceed 25mb in size. Label file as “LastName_FirstName_Title.mp3

Apply Now

The prize will be adjudicated by three industry experts.  Entrants will be judged anonymously, and no correspondence will be entered into by the panel and entrants.

The award winner must be available to attend at least one rehearsal prior to the performance, to workshop and make additional changes as required and be present at a performance. The winner must provide Willoughby Symphony with a typeset score and parts for their composition no later than 2 weeks prior to the rehearsal period.

The winner and runner up will be featured in publicity to promote the Award, Performance, and Symphony Orchestra, and may be required to participate in media interviews, photo shoots or video recordings. The winner and runner up may feature on websites, social media, in hard copy publications and other promotional material. The recording of the winner’s work may be shared with media for broadcast and publication.

Enquiries regarding entry or conditions should be directed to or by phoning 02 9777 7634