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2024 Barbara Buehlman Prize for Composition Contest Now Open!

This year, the prize will go to a work created for a middle school (grades 3-4) wind band, to encourage and support young composers in crafting works for younger students by providing a national venue for performance and recognition. In addition to a $2,000 award, the winning composition will be debuted at the 78th Midwest Clinic in December 2024.


Contest Details

  • Composers should submit a composition appropriate for middle school wind band, no longer than 4 minutes. No compositions exceeding the maximum duration will be considered.
    Compositions must be completed by one composer. Group compositions will not be accepted.
  • Composers must have been born after 1/1/1990 to be eligible.
  • Compositions must not have been published or publicly performed.
  • Composers from groups under-represented in music publishing are encouraged to enter.
  • Composers must submit scores electronically.
  • Synthesized recordings are permissible if no live recording is available.
  • The deadline to submit a composition for consideration is January 15, 2024.
  • Winning compositions will be announced March 15, 2024.
  • Submissions will be adjudicated by a panel of nationally recognized composers and conductors.
  • Midwest Premiere will be awarded to an ensemble selected to perform at the 2024 Midwest Clinic.

Congratulations to our 2023 Barbara Buehlman Prize for Composition Winner, Matthew Nell! 

This year's contest saw 100+ entries of new compositions for high school wind bands, our highest ever! Thank you to our adjudicators for their incredible work in selecting this year's winner: Brian Covey, Amanda Drinkwater, and Viet Cuong.

Matthew Nell is a pianist and percussionist composer studying at the University of Texas at Austin. In his music, he is most concerned with accessibility, enjoyment, interest, and beauty. Matthew blends conventional and modern techniques in order to write music that strikes a balance between familiarity and novelty, focusing especially on band music and chamber music for winds. His composition teachers include Donald Grantham, Yevgeniy Sharlat, Russel Podgorsek, and Omar Thomas.


Matthew's piece, Strut, will premiere at the 77th Midwest Clinic, and will be performed by Westwood High School Wind Ensemble under the direction of Thomas Turpin.





2023 Honorable Mentions:

  • Carlos Mata, Ti Voglio Bene
  • Scott McGlasson, In Memoriam
  • Jonathan Krueger, Metonymy


Learn about Barbara Buehlman