NJMEA Young Composers Competition

2021-2022 Information


Congratulations to the following finalists in the 13th Annual New Jersey Young Composers Competition. The Finals session was held at the NJMEA Conference on Saturday, February 26 at the Atlantic City Convention Center.

Finalists (in alphabetical order):

Alexander DeStefano – Holy Spirit High School
“No Longer, Not Yet”

Ben Janiszewski – Pope John XXIII Regional High School
“Triumphant Overture”

Arya Jeraled – Piscataway High School
“Dance of the Equinox”

Sylvanus Jumbo – Mount Olive High School
“The Lost Year”

Gavin Tomasco – Morris Hills High School
“The Cloths of Heaven”

Recordings of each finalists’ compositions are now posted on the NJMEA website under the Previous NJ-YCC Winners and Audio Files link. Congratulations to all who participated, and we look forward to receiving more exemplary submissions for our next competition.

We are also looking for volunteers to participate in the committee of next year’s competition. You do not need to be a professional composer to be part of the committee, just a member of NAfME and an active or retired music teacher in New Jersey. If you would like further information, please contact Dr. Andrew Lesser, NJ-YCC Chairman at andrew.lesser@yahoo.com.

Categories for Submission

Composers may submit works for vocal ensemble, instrumental ensemble, or mixed. All works must be 100% original. No arrangements or transcriptions will be accepted.

Competition Guidelines

  1. Applicants must be New Jersey residents and must be sponsored by a current NJMEA/NAfME member.
  2. Students may submit multiple selections in each category. However, a $20 application fee is required with each selection. Each entry must be have a separate completed application form and entry fee in order to be considered for eligibility.
  3. All compositions must have a title or opus number, and all names must be omitted from the score, program note, and audio file so that submissions may be judged anonymously.
  4. Students must include a brief program note that includes the composition title with composer name omitted, describing the composer’s intention of the work.
  5. All scores must be submitted as PDF’s using a standard notation program, such as Sibelius or Finale. No handwritten scores will be considered for entry.
  6. Students must submit an audio recording of their composition in MP3 or WAV. format, a PDF (digital copy) of their score and PDF of composition description/program note. Submissions without recordings or PDF score will not be considered for entry.
  7. While the applicant will retain ownership of their submission, all submissions will be kept by the NJMEA. No materials will be returned to students. NJMEA reserves the right to use student submissions for publicity and/or display. Finalist compositions will be posted on the NJMEA website.
  8. Submissions must be no longer than 7 minutes in length.

Evaluation Criteria

Evaluation of all submissions will be received by NJMEA approved Competition Judges. This panel will judge all works according to the following guidelines: 

  • Originality: Demonstrating a personal/unique style showing individual creativity.
  • Compositional Technique: Must have identifiable form, structure, and development. Correct usage of musical notation and score markings.
  • Compositional Maturity: Knowledge of medium, effective use of instruments/voices, and look of professionalism in score and recording.
  • Overall Appeal: Must be innovative, imaginative, and enjoyable.

Competition Policies

  • In the case of a tie, the highest and lowest scores will be eliminated and the overall score recalculated. If there is still a tie after the recalculation, then both entries will be accepted into the finals and receive the same placement.
  • If a single participant receives multiple placements in the finals, then the judges will accept the piece with the highest score.
  • The judges have the right to request changes to any vocal and instrumental piece that contains potentially inappropriate or offensive material (i.e. lyrics, program notes, etc.). In addition, participants who do not demonstrate ethical or moral behavior during all aspects of the competition may be disqualified through a vote by the NJ-YCC Committee.
  • The Grand Prize winner will consist of the piece that receives the highest score in both divisions.
  • Prizes will be determined based on availability by the NJ-YCC Committee.
  • The NJ-YCC Committee has the right to change or alter these policies at any time on a case-by-case basis.