Composition Contest

SEMMEA Composition Competition 2019

Thank you to all that submitted pieces to this year’s Composition Competition.  We had so many pieces this year, and it was really great to see so many new composers and great pieces.

I would like to thank our clinician, Boston composer Ken Amis, for putting on a great and informative clinic for our students.

This year’s top compositions are: (in no particular order)

Video Game Overture for String Quartet
Jonathan Tolub – Oliver Ames High School

Remembrance: Brazil – For Classical Guitar
Thatcher Harrison – Via Dartmouth High School

A Part – For Concert Band
Peter Bell – Hanover High School

It is the goal of the SEMMEA composition competition to offer the opportunity for students to engage in musical composition, share their pieces with others, and advance their compositional learning and craft.  Although awards are given to the top pieces, all students that submit pieces are invited to our composition clinic.

The clinic this year was at 5:00pm after rehearsals on Friday, January 11th, 2019 at the Senior Festival at Canton High School.

The top compositions received recognition and awards at the SEMMEA Senior District concert on Saturday, January 12th, 2019.

Also, The Massachusetts company Noteflight is a sponsor of our contest and has given a 1-year premium subscription to our top awarded composers.

We look forward to next year and hope that students begin writing now for next year’s contest.

  Noteflight Logo.png

Submission Guidelines
  1. Students must be from a participating high school in the South Eastern District of the Massachusetts Music Educators Association.
  2. Students will present their pieces for adjudication at the SEMMEA senior district auditions at King Philip High School.
  3. Pieces can be in any style and for any instrumentation but must be an original work created by the student.  Collaborations are accepted, however, both students will need to pay the registration fee.
  4. All entrants must bring a full score and audio recording; midi representations are acceptable.  Scores will be kept until the clinic and discarded if you do not attend the clinic, so do not bring the only copy of your score.
  5. Pieces should be no longer than 10 Minutes.
  6. Midi recordings should be exported as an audio file and all recordings are best brought on a flash drive, though CD’s are fine.  Students should not play their piece from websites or from their own computers, Technology and internet issues may prevent proper playback.  A PDF of the score with the recording is helpful, but not required.
  7. Pieces need to be submitted in as detailed and accurate a score as possible.
  8. All pieces must be marked with the title and the student’s name, email, phone number, and school.
  9. All submissions will be judged according to the composition adjudication form below.  Although there is no requirement for style or genre of music, points are more easily awarded by the rubric to music in traditional forms.  There are no point values for production, lyrics, etc….  Due to this, some popular music styles, although brilliant and creative, would not yield as high a score as more traditional styles.

Registration Information

  1. Directors must register composition students with the other instrumentalists from the school.  These students should be registered as a composition audition by selecting composition in the fields marked for both group and instrument.
  2. These students will be registered for an audition time, just as other instrumentalists at the Senior Auditions at King Philip Regional High School.  For this audition, the students should come to the site with their score and recording, and be prepared to discuss their music.
  3. We encourage all students to submit pieces no matter what style or length, as any student who submits a piece is invited to attend our composition clinic.  There is no limit to the number of students that can submit pieces or attend the clinic.
  4. At the auditions, students can meet the composition adjudicator at the registration desk or go right to the library and wait outside until called by the adjudicator.  At the festival clinic, upon arrival, students should follow the signs to the clinic room.
  5. Students may double register for composition and an instrument.
  6. Students that double register should plan to audition on their instrument first before doing their composition adjudication.

Composition Rubric

For more information contact

Joe Pondaco
71 Alden St. Duxbury MA 02332

We want to thank all the students who have submitted music to previous competitions. All of our student composers submitted great music. Below are recordings of previous winners and pictures from our previous clinics.

1st Place 2018
Krakow At Dawn, For Piano
David Girardin – Sturgis Charter Public School East

1st Place 2017
Fantasia, For Flute and Piano
Justin Moczynski – Hingham High School

1st Place 2016
Atlantic Tempest, For Full Orchestra
Justin Moczynski – Hingham High School

1st Place 2015
An Experiment, For Winds and Percussion
Jake O’Connor – Duxbury High School

1st Place 2014
Galavanting Through a Summer Wood, For Wind Ensemble
Maria D’Ambrosio – Plymouth North High School

1st Place 2013
Twenty Feet Away, For Wind Ensemble
Alex Olsen – Foxboro High School

1st Place 2012
Untitled, for String Quartet
Rachel Walker – Sandwich High School


20190111_1729242019 Clinic with composer Ken Amis

20180106_172459.jpg2018 Clinic with composer Roger Cichy

Comp 16-17b2017 Clinic with composer John Mackey


2016 clinic with composer Anthony DeRitis


20150109_1736042015 clinic with composer Andrew Smith


20140110_1726312014 Composition Clinic With Julia Scott Carey


Nation Childers2013 Composition Clinic With Nathan Childers