Type of post: Orchestra news item
Sub-type: No sub-type
Posted By: Seb Farrall
Status: Current
Date Posted: Tue, 28 Sep 2021
We are very excited to be launching our composition competition.

With a grand prize of £1500 for the Open category and £500 for the Youth category, we are hoping to encourage lots of composers to take part!

Submissions must be made via email to Sebastian Farrall at
You will be given a confirmation of delivery within a few days. If you get no confirmation, please resubmit your composition. 

Submissions must be made by midnight on the 1st January 2022, and you must include whether you are entering the Youth (up to 25) or Open categories. If you are entering the youth category, you must include your date of birth. 

You submission must include:
  • Score, either as a PDF or Sibelius file. 
  • Audio file, either MP3, WAV, MIDI, or a standard Sibelius file.
  • Parts for the orchestra, either as a PDF or Sibelius file. 

You may include a short biography about yourself, and an introduction to your piece. 

You may include electronics for your performance, but there must be a substantially live element to the work.

Our concert theme is "Celebrating Coventry", so any musical reference to this is welcome!

The Coventry City of Culture Orchestra is not a professional ensemble, so please be mindful of this when writing parts. 

Only works which have not previously won any competitions may be submitted, and the Coventry City of Culture Orchestra reserve the right for the worldwide premiere of the winning works. 

Your work should be between 3-6 minutes long. 

The instruments we have in the orchestra:
Flutes (up to 11 - All play C flute, but can double including various piccolos, and one alto)
Oboe / Cor Anglais (2)
Clarinets (15, including A, Bb, Eb, and Bass)
Eb Alto Saxophone (5)
Bb Tenor Saxophone (4)
Eb Baritone Saxophone (1)
Bassoons (2)
French Horns (4)
Trumpets (6)
Trombones (4)
Tuba (1)
Percussion (3 including a hand-drumming expert, bodhran and washboard, and the normal orchestral percussion)
Piano (1)
Organ (1)
Guitar (3 Electric, Bass, Ukulele)
Violins (20)
Violas (6)
Cellos (6)
Double Basses (2)
Accordion (1)
Sitar (1)
Harmonium (1)

You may also choose to include choir, but this is optional. 

As we have quite a large orchestra, some doubling of parts is common. You may also choose to not include every instrument. 

If you choose to include choir, you can write your own lyrics or instead use the poem "Words from the Earth", written by Poet Laureate and fellow Central Hall Artist in Residence Emilie Lauren Jones. You may slightly modify the lyrics if desired. 

(Please note that copyright on these lyrics remains with Emilie Lauren Jones and cannot be reproduced or performed without express permission, or other than for the sole purpose of this competition.)


When the warm breeze whispers words across the waters,

like the gentle droplets, we’re all sons and daughters

of the same streams.

Can you hear me?


When the sun is shining and the planes draw white lines,

like the saplings rising, it’s the same soil 

we all thrive on,

Can you hear me?


When the moon is hidden and the TV flickers,

it’s a cold room, but someone cares still

hope will hold your hand,

Can you hear me?


In the breeze that whispers,

in the sun that shimmers,

in the moon that’s hidden,

yes, I hear you. 

God we hear you.

Judging will commence in the new year, by Artistic Director Sebastian Farrall and professional composer and arranger Dean Jones. The top tier of submissions will then be performed by the Orchestra during rehearsals in January (13 & 20) who will then vote on their favourite. If your piece is being performed, you will be invited to come along and listen. 

The winning piece from each category will be performed at our final celebration concert on April 2nd, 2022.

If you have any questions at all, then please feel free to get in touch -

Good luck, and have fun! 

Sebastian Farrall
Artistic Director
Coventry City of Culture Orchestra