Composition Contest: Frequently Asked Questions
Question: Are the FNMC's performance or recording rights exclusive?
No. Members of the FNMC will perform - and sometimes record - the winning piece. To do this, the FNMC needs performance and recording rights to the piece. These are not exclusive rights, and the composer may continue to arrange performances and recordings of their work as they wish. Winning composers are asked to reference FNMC in all program notes for the piece going forward.
Question: Who receives copies of the winning scores?
Winning scores are made available to FNMC Performance level and FNMC Commissioning level flutists who are current members during that competition year. For instance, if your piece won the 2015 competition, members for the 2015-16 year would receive a PDF your score (and parts as necessary).
Question: How are winners chosen?
Each category of the FNMC Composition Competition is judged in two rounds. The blind round is judged by a panel compromised of professional flutists and composers. Preliminary round feedback, if requested, is written by the blind round judges. We endeavor to fill each judging panel with a variety of evaluators who possess a variety of backgrounds and areas of expertise. In the semi-final round, winners are selected from a vote of FNMC members.
Question: When will semi-finalists be notified?
FNMC is run entirely by unpaid volunteers, and the competition is no exception. We endeavor to share semi-final results within a month of the competition deadline, and to make feedback available (if requested in the application) with those results. This can sometimes be an enormous undertaking, and there are occasionally delays. Expect to receive results over the weekend, at odd hours, and occasionally on national holidays.
Question: When will winners be notified?
FNMC Members select the winner of each category by vote. At present, there are two voting periods - one in early August, following the solo flute and flute and accompaniment category, and one in early October, following the flute duo and the chamber work category. Finals winners for all categories are typically posted to the FNMC website by November.
Question: If requested, what should I expect from competition feedback?
For the 2017 competition, we have moved to a Likert-scale type feedback form with room for optional free-form commentary. This may differ from feedback in previous competition years which emphasized free-form comments. While we'd prefer to have each judge provide detailed comments about each entry, the change is intended to provide more clarity in judging feedback. To quote one of the 2016 judges, "Sometimes, it's as easy as saying I don't like this harmony or multiphonic. Sometimes, it's like explaining why I don't like tomatoes."
Further, the judging panels generally consist of performing flutists and composers; each judge will evaluate works based on their individual backgrounds. Feedback is intended only to provide some insight into how decisions were made in that particular category in that particular year. Some performers have strong opinions about scores which are legible on tablets and will view your score as a PDF; some insist upon scores to be printed on 11x17 pages for legibility. Some of the composers specialize in self-publication and hold scores to their own standards, while others work with traditional publishing houses and look for different aesthetics. Some performers perform at universities or live in metropolitan areas and will have no trouble recruiting a mini-Pierrot ensemble; other performers are freelancers or based in rural areas and will prefer more minimal instrumentation. The diverse judging panel is intended to mirror the musical community. Don't make yourself crazy trying to please everyone - just focus on being the best version of yourself!
Question: Must I receive competition feedback?
No. In the flute world, receiving competition feedback is very uncommon. Some members of the competition team felt strongly that competitions can be rather inhumane and would like to know what happens behind the scenes. Other members of the competition team felt strongly that there should be a clear "yes" or "no" and other information is extraneous. Which type are you? Take a moment to reflect before completing your application.
Question: Will I receive a confirmation of my submission?
You will receive a confirmation when you have completed your entry. A separate email will not be sent.
Question: I submitted my application but was led to a blank screen with no submission confirmation. Was my submission received?
No. Unfortunately, our system does not allow for error messages at this time. The most frequent cause of the "blank screen" submission is failure to complete all application fields - please carefully check your application and try again.
Question: I paid the entry fee, but have decided to withdraw my piece. Can my entry fee be refunded?
Unfortunately, due to the high volume of submissions, refunds will no longer be offered. Please read all materials carefully before clicking "submit"!
Question: I paid my entry fee but didn't save the payment confirmation number. What should I do?!
Wait! Most entrants receive their confirmation number via email within 2-3 hours. In order to be eligible, all applications must have complete information, including the correct payment confirmation number.
Question: Why am I limited to six performers in the chamber works category?
Winners of each competition category are guaranteed at least one FNMC organized performance. We have limited the instrumentation to works which we can confidently promise to program. Remember - the easier it is to find the necessary players, the more performances winning works are likely to receive!
Question: What instruments should "chamber works" include?
The Flute New Music Consortium will accept all entries that use the flute in any capacity! This includes piece for flute(s) as well as flute and string, percussion, or woodwind instruments, provided the instrumentation fits within the designated number of players.
Question: Should I include works for low flutes?
Of course; we are happy to consider all instruments from the flute family! Keep in mind: performances will be contingent upon members' access to your instruments. Many of our members teach or are enrolled in an academic institution and will have access to an alto or a bass flute, but this will not be the case for everyone. Contrabass flute prices begin at $9k - many university flute studios do not own one, which might make a work for flute quartet plus contrabass inaccessible for many members.
Question: Should I include works for glissando headjoint/other new equipment?
Of course; we are happy to consider all works for flute. Keep in mind: performances will be contingent upon members' access to the equipment necessary for your piece.
Question: My piece has not yet been performed and contains extended techniques which cannot be accurately captured by MIDI. What should I do?
Make sure your score is clear about your wishes, and use MIDI to get as close to the "real" sound as you can. While we understand that MIDI is not ideal for some pieces, we use a recording as part of the judging process. This will ensure that your piece receives fair consideration. Works without an audio recording/MIDI file will be disqualified.
Question: Do I need to be based in the United States to submit a piece?
No. Composers from all locations are encouraged.
Question: Is there an age limit?
No. Composers of all ages and experience levels are encouraged to submit their work.
Question: I don't see the answer to my question here! How long will it take to receive a reply?
Please send all situation-specific questions to the competition email here. We try to respond to all emails as quickly as possible, but sometimes step away from the computer for important flute business. Please allow up to two business days for a reply.