2024-2025 Association of Concert Bands Young Composers Composition Contest in partnership with the John Philip Sousa Foundation 

The current submission period is has closed. The next submission period will run August 1, 2025 to June 15, 2026. Details will remain the same as below, with just the years changing to reflect the next submission period.

The winner of the current contest will be announced in November 2024, and the piece will premiere in June of 2025 at our ACB Convention in Fort Smith, Arkansas

This composition contest is intended for young composers who are writing music for concert band. There are over a thousand community bands in the United States and more across the globe who are performing concert band music. These ensembles play music from across the spectrum - show tunes, patriotic selections, marches, transcriptions, new works for band. These bands are looking for new music that fits a more traditional style of concert band literature that audiences will enjoy. Composers should keep this audience in mind for their submission to this contest. This contest seeks to select a piece which is accessible to a wide variety of community bands and their audiences.


  • Composers under 30 years of age on submission deadline date.
  • Composers must not be contractually obligated as an employee or under contract to any publisher or publishers. 
    • Composers who self publish their music are welcome to submit to the contest. The submitted piece cannot be for sale until after the results of the contest have been made known.

ineligible: Current Members of the ACB Board and their family members


  • A 3 - 5 minute duration piece of original composition for concert band at a grade level of roughly grade 4.
  • Submissions must not have been previously published.
  • Submissions must have been written within the past 18 months.
  • Submissions must not have been previously performed in a public venue.
  • Only one submission per composer will be accepted.
  • Suggested Instrumentation:

    • C Piccolo; 1st & 2nd Flute; Oboe; Bassoon;1st, 2nd, & 3rd Clarinet; Bass Clarinet; 1st & 2nd Alto Saxophone; Tenor Saxophone; Baritone Saxophone; 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Trumpet; 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th Horn; 1st, 2nd, & 3rd Trombone; Euphonium (BC/TC); Tuba; Mallet Percussion; Timpani & Percussion (expanded) Optional: Eb Clarinet, 2nd Oboe, 2nd Bassoon, Contrabass Clarinet, Piano, String Bass
    • Special Considerations: Extensive cross-cueing (always on solos for Horn, Bassoon, Oboe, Bass Clarinet); composers are encouraged to use expanded percussion, particularly mallet and accessory instruments. Plan for maximum of five percussionists. 

Submission Period is between August 1, 2023 and June 15, 2024 

  • Below will be a link to a form where you will be asked to  provide the following information and upload files
    • Composer Contact Information (name, mailing address, email address, phone); school affiliation (if current student); birth date
    • PDF of the score labeled with the Title. Other identifying information must be removed.
    • An .mp3 recording from the composing software.
    • Program notes (separate from the score as a word document or PDF file, all identifying information must be removed)
  • Naming conventions for files: TITLE_Initials_score.pdf TITLE_Initials_recording.mp3  TITLE_Initials_prognote.pdf (or .doc)
    • For lengthy titles, truncate to the first 10 characters.
  • Application fee of $25 payable by credit card payable via the form.  Or choose "Invoice me" during check out and mail a check made out to the Association of Concert Bands  with copy of invoice to:  Sarah McElfresh, Association of Concert Bands, 131 Stage Rd, Newport News, VA 23606. Application fee must be received for consideration.


  • Entries will be judged by a panel of judges who are well-known composers and conductors through a double blind process.
  • The winning composer will need to provide a complete set of parts in PDF format by December 1, 2024
  • That set of parts and all future copies of the score and parts will need to have inscribed “Winner of the 2025 Association of Concert Bands/John Philip Sousa Foundation Composition Contest.”
  • The composer will receive a certificate suitable for framing.
  • The composer will receive an award of $2000 and reimbursement up to $1000 for travel expenses to attend the ACB Convention for the premiere if available to attend.
  • The piece will be premiered in 2025


  • Submit by: June 15, 2024
  • Notifications by: November 1, 2024
  • Complete set of parts of the winning composition needs to be provided no later than December 1, 2024

Any questions can be sent to [email protected]

Downloadable posters and  graphics for sharing others:


Past Winnershere