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The NCEM Instrumental Composers' Award 2013
in partnership with
BBC Radio 3 and Florilegium

Young composers from across the UK are invited to compose a new piece for the early music ensemble, Florilegium, which utilises their remarkable playing skills and musical experience. 

A shortlist of entries will be presented in a workshop setting by Florilegium at the National Centre for Early Music, York, on Saturday 27th April 2013 in the presence of the young composers.  At 7.30pm on the same day, Saturday 27th April, Florilegium will present each of the pieces in front of a panel of judges comprising: Chris Wines, Senior Music Producer, BBC Radio 3; Delma Tomlin, Director of the National Centre for Early Music; and Ashley Solomon, Director of Florilegium.  Two winners will be announced, one for each of the two age categories.

The winning work(s) will then be premiered by Florilegium on 1st June 2013 as part of the Bath International Music Festival.  This concert will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3's Early Music Show later the same month.

Interested candidates are invited to create a contemporary response to one of the predominant chamber music forms of the Baroque, the dance suite. The music must be based on a dance-form and composers are encouraged to consider dance-forms of all eras and cultures, from the reel to the rumba, from the Madison to the mazurka; composers will be writing for instruments of the Baroque era but should not feel limited to dance-forms of that period. The work will be in a single, continuous movement, lasting between 3 and 4 minutes.

Application forms can be accessed via the National Centre for Early Music web site or via the BBC Radio 3 web site .

Competition Rules
  • Entry is open to all UK residents aged up to 25 at the time entry closes.
    There are two categories for the awards as follows:
    18 years and under (born after 9/03/94)
    19 - 25 years (born between 9/03/87 and 9/03/94)
  • Applicants and winners of past competitions are eligible to enter the 2013 competition.
  • Employees and close family members of the BBC, the NCEM and Florilegium, and persons connected to the competition and their close relatives are not eligible to enter.  Proof of age, identity and eligibility may be requested.
  • The composition should be scored for four instruments: flute or recorder; violin or viola d'amore; cello or piccolo-cello; harpsichord or organ. 
  • The composition should be between approximately 3 and 4 minutes' duration.

How to enter
  • Entrants must register their interest in entering the competition by emailing by 5.00pm on Friday 8th February 2013.
  • Entrants should send 2 copies of the score in an A4 format (preferably produced on computerised publishing software), together with a completed application form, to: The Music Administrator, National Centre for Early Music, St. Margaret's Church, Walmgate, York YO1 9TL.  Application forms are available on the National Centre for Early Music web site at .
  • Entries in the form of completed scores should be received no later than 5.00pm on Friday 8th March 2013. Entries received after the deadline will not be considered.
Judging criteria
The shortlisted entrants will be judged on the following criteria:
  1. skill of compositional techniques 
  2. innovation of composition fused with an awareness of effective writing for an early music ensemble.

Selection process
  • A shortlist of up to 8 entrants will be chosen and notified no later than Thursday 28th March 2013 by a judging panel consisting of a member of the National Centre for Early Music, the BBC, Florilegium and a professional composer. 
  • All shortlisted entrants must attend a workshop on Saturday 27th April 2013, led by composer, Christopher Fox, at the NCEM, where they will have an opportunity to hear their compositions rehearsed by Florilegium.
  • The workshop will be followed the same evening, Saturday 27th April 2013, by a public performance at 7.30pm at the NCEM, when the pieces will be performed in front of the panel of judges.  The panel of judges will select and announce the winners at the end of the concert, based on the aforementioned criteria, and will award them the prize.
  • Should a shortlisted entrant not be available after reasonable attempts to contact him/her, the NCEM reserves the right to select another entrant to attend the workshop or - where applicable - to be awarded the prize.
  • The NCEM's selection of the winners is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • Reasonable transport costs to the workshop and Finalists' concert will be reimbursed by the NCEM

The Prize
  • The prize offered is a performance by Florilegium of the winning compositions in a public concert given at the Bath International Music Festival 2013.
  • The concert will be recorded and broadcast by BBC Radio 3.
  • There will be no cash equivalent and the prize cannot be transferred.
  • The winner will receive a complimentary set of top-priced tickets to this concert for themselves and up to two members of their family/friends.
  • Reasonable transport & accommodation costs to this concert will be reimbursed to the winners by the NCEM and up to two members of their family/friends.

Copyright and permissions
  • By submitting your composition, you grant to the BBC, NCEM and Florilegium, free of charge, permission to use the material in any way they want (including modifying and adapting it for operational and editorial reasons) for services in any media worldwide (including on the sites accessed by international users).
  • In order that the BBC can use your composition you must confirm that your composition is:
    1. your own original work
    2. has not previously been performed or published
    3. does not infringe any UK laws
    4. you have the right to give the BBC permission to use it for the purposes specified above
  • Copyright in your composition will remain with you after the premiere and the aforementioned permission is non-exclusive. You can continue to use the material in any way you wish and you can also permit others to use the material.  
  • All entries, including composers' details, may be used in publicity campaigns post competition. Photographs of winning entries may also be used in publicity campaigns.
  • The shortlisted entrants must agree to take part in any post-competition publicity if required.
  • Any competitor under the age of 18 who attends a workshop or public performance must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • The shortlisted entrants may be filmed and/or interviewed and will be required to assign to the BBC/NCEM/Florilegium the copyright and other rights for all purposes (including. use in all media now known or which may hereafter become known) in their contribution for broadcast for the full period of copyright and any extensions, revivals or renewals thereof.
  • The shortlisted entrants will grant the BBC/NCEM/Florilegium the unlimited right to edit, copy, add to, take from, adapt or translate their contributions for broadcast or performance. The entrants also waive irrevocably any "moral rights" they may have under the laws of any jurisdiction.
  • The shortlisted entrants will grant the NCEM/Florilegium the right to perform the piece after the premiere.
  • Contributions cover all contributions made by the shortlisted entrants in connection with the production of any BBC programme including, but not limited to, their performance (incl. rehearsals) and spoken, written and artistic materials (including audio and video recordings thereof).
  • The NCEM reserves the right to
    1. cancel or adapt the competition
    2. vary or change the prizes
    3. disqualify any entrant who breaches the rules or who commits a fraud, at any stage, if in their opinion it is deemed necessary or if circumstances arise outside its control.
  • In so far as it applies, the programme accords with the BBC's Code of Conduct for Competitions and Voting, details of which can be found on the BBC'S Standards and Guidelines website.
  • The promoter of the competition is the National Centre for Early Music and is subject to the law of England and Wales.
  • Entrants will be deemed to have accepted these rules and agree to be bound by them by entering the competition.
  • The NCEM Composers' Award is intended as an educational project and preference will be given to those who have not yet embarked on a professional career.
Personal data
  • The personal data you provide will be processed by NCEM, in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998, for the purposes of administering the competition.
  • You can see NCEM's Privacy Policy at
  • If you give your consent on the application form, your contact details will be used by NCEM to send you details of future educational activities and events. You may unsubscribe from this service at any time.
  • The personal data of all entrants will be passed to the BBC for the purposes of judging the competition and recording of the winners' scores.
  • Personal data passed to the BBC will be processed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998 and will not be passed by the BBC to any third party.
  • You can see the BBC's Privacy Policy at
General Information
  • Composers interested in entering this competition should email the Music Administrator of the NCEM on to register their interest by 5.00pm on Friday 8th February 2013
  •  Following registration, two copies of the score should be sent by post along with an application form to the NCEM to arrive no later than 5.00pm on Friday 8th March 2013.  Applications should be addressed to: The Music Administrator, National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret's Church, Walmgate, York YO1 9TL. The scores should be in A4 format, and ideally produced using computerised publishing software. 
  • All entrants will be informed whether or not their pieces have been shortlisted for performance at the NCEM by 5.00pm on Thursday 28th March 2013.
  • All shortlisted candidates will be expected to attend a full day workshop and evening performance at the NCEM on Saturday 27th April 2013. The workshop will be led by composer Christopher Fox and Florilegium.
  • At 7.30pm on Saturday 27th April 2013, the short-listed pieces will be performed in front of a panel of judges and an invited audience. The winning piece(s) will be announced that evening.
  • The winning piece(s) will be performed by Florilegium at a public concert given as part of the Bath International Music Festival 2013.  BBC Radio 3 will record the concert. Each finalist will be awarded two pairs of top-price tickets to the concert and their names and educational institutions (if appropriate) will be listed in the programme. 
  • The finalists must be prepared to work with the NCEM and its partners to raise the profile for this Award. This will include consent to be photographed and filmed during the process and to supply information for press materials and conduct radio and television interviews if requested. The publicity materials gathered will be used by the NCEM and its partners on their websites and in general publicity material. It is understood that the NCEM and its partners have the right to perform, record and broadcast the winning piece(s) subject to the usual Performing Rights contractual arrangements.
  • It is recommended that all interested candidates listen to recordings of Florilegium .
  • Application forms can be accessed via the National Centre for Early Music web site .