Thursday, March 3, 2016

COMPOSER Q&A #2: rights, recordings and more

Here are some additional questions from composers. (To read the first composer Q&A, follow this LINK.)

1. Does the composer retain all rights to his/her music if he applies (or wins)? 

A: Without question. The composer relinquishes no rights whatsoever. We only ask to publish photos and bios of runners-up and winners, which may be posted to our website and blog. We do expect The American Prize channel on YouTube to go live this season and hope to post excerpts of winning compositions on the site, but only with the explicit permission of the composer. (Sometimes, union rules or other contracted limitations prevent this from being possible.) The composer makes the final call.

 2.  In the choral contest, is there any limitation to the number of choral works that may be submitted to fill 30 minutes on the tape? May the recordings be by different ensembles? 

A: There is no limit to the number of pieces represented within the 30 minutes, and no restrictions on the number or type of groups performing them, provided they are all identified. The focus in the composition contests is on the works themselves, rather on the performers, though of course, the performances that do the best justice to the music (in the opinion of the composer) are the ones to send.   

3: What about fees? Is the application $40 per piece?

A: No. Because each contest is judged completely independently of the others, the fee is $40 per category. The five categories are: orchestra music, choral music, band music, chamber music or music for opera, theater or film. Up to thirty minutes of music may be submitted in each category, even longer if an individual piece has a duration longer than thirty minutes. There is no limit to the number of categories a composer may enter. Some enter in all five.

4: Does The American Prize favor one recording format or online option over another?

A: No. Many composers submit CDs of their music, others DVDs of the work. Many others provide links to online recordings. Ideally, we prefer links that are "instant access" and do not require downloading or wait time: Soundcloud better than Dropbox, YouTube better than GoogleDrive, but all are acceptable. No one is disqualified because of the format of their recordings, provided, of course, that discs play properly and links work correctly. Links must remain active until the end of the year or until results in the category are officially announced. PLEASE NOTE: The responsibility for the viability of links rests with the contestant. Please double-check that they work properly. (Some contestants send links to a friend and ask them to open them and report back—it is a good fail-safe.)

5. Whose links get selected for the NEWS highlights on your Facebook page? 

A: Often during the contest year, The American Prize shares news links from competition laureates on our Facebook page, including the latest information from individual performing artists, ensembles and composers. The links help to highlight some of the many different ways contestants have shared their success in the competitions, as well as focusing on their ongoing achievements. 

To submit a link of your own, or if you have additional questions, simply email

David Katz, chief judge
The American Prize

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