BMI Student Composer Awards Program

Application Information

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Amount Awarded


Application Deadline

February 01

Awarded By

BMI Foundation, Inc.

Award Amount

Prizes total $20,000, and may range from $500 to $5,000. All awards are non-renewable. The judges shall have the right to determine the amount of each award to be given and the number of such awards to be made, as well as the right to make no awards or to make awards totaling less than such full amount.


The number of awards offered varies annually. Last year, nine awards were given. Please note: The score that is judged the most outstanding in the competition will be awarded the William Schuman Prize. The Carlos Surinach Prize is awarded to the youngest winner in the competition.

Additional Information

No fewer than three judges of competence shall pass on the merits of compositions submitted. The decisions and conclusions of the judges shall be final. Compositions will be judged on evidence of true creative talent. Academic finesse, while not disregarded, will be considered secondary to vital musicality and clarity of expression of the composer's work. There is no limitation whatsoever on style. The judges will take into account: formal content of the composition (i.e., the continuity and coherent expression of the composer's ideas; melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic idioms as judged solely in terms of their consistency and suitability for the intent of the particular composition; instrumentation, orchestration, and vocal writing as judged on the suitability of the choice and use of instruments or voices to the ideas presented in the composition; and the age of the composer at the time of completion of the manuscript. When two compositions are of equal merit in the opinion of the judges, but there is an age disparity, preference will be given to the younger contestant. Winners will be notified in May, and a press release listing winners will be posted online. All composers must be potential first-time winners or prior winners of this award no more than two times. Any composer having won this award three times previously is not eligible to enter the contest again (Honorable Mention excluded).

Deadline Info

Applications are available online on the BMI Foundation website. To enter the competition, the student must submit an original music composition (vocal, instrumental, electronic, or any combination). ... sign up for full scholarship deadline information.

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