Mizzou’s 2021 Creating Original Music Project (COMP) offers awards, cash prizes for Missouri student composers

COMP winners receive personalized plaques, and they and their schools both receive cash prizes

At a time when live performances have become scarce, young composers still need opportunities to present their new works, which makes the Mizzou New Music Initiative’s 2021 Creating Original Music Project (COMP) especially timely and relevant for music students from across Missouri.

Now in its 16th year, COMP is an annual statewide competition sponsored by the University of Missouri School of Music and the Sinquefield Charitable Foundation. COMP showcases new, original music from Missouri student composers and songwriters in grades K-12, offering positive recognition and prizes, performance and educational opportunities, and more.

Both the winning composers and their schools will be awarded cash prizes, and the winning compositions will be performed at the Creating Original Music Project’s New Music Festival on Saturday, April 24, 2021 at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Winners in high school also are eligible for scholarships to attend the Missouri Summer Composition Institute, which will take place June 21-26, 2021 on the Mizzou campus.

Because the COVID pandemic makes future conditions difficult to predict, MNMI will have several contingent plans for the COMP Festival and the Summer Composition Institute if safety concerns, University policy, or state or local laws make it impossible to present the events “in-person.” Those plans may include (but are not limited to) online-only events, a limited in-person experience, or some combination of online and in-person activities.

Students in grades K-5 may submit compositions in two categories, Songs With Words and Instrumental. For grades 6-8, the categories are Fine Art Music and Popular Music, and for grades 9-12, they are Fine Art Music, Jazz, and Pop Music/Other styles. All entries must be original music written by the student, and only one entry per student is allowed. Both notated pieces and music made electronically are eligible. Arrangements of previously composed pieces or improvisation based on composed pieces will not be accepted.

Mentors and teachers are encouraged to offer support and critiques, though submissions must be the students’ own original compositions. Music teachers and/or mentors may assist students in notating or recording the pieces, and each student who applies must have the signature and sponsorship of their school’s music teacher.

Only three submissions per category per school are allowed. It is the responsibility of the school music teacher(s) to decide which three pieces per category will be entered in the contest. All entries must be submitted online by Friday, January 22, 2021.

For more information about the Creating Original Music Project and how to submit an application for the 2021 competition, please visit the COMP website at https://mizzounewmusic.missouri.edu/comp.

For students looking for more guidance or feedback on their work, the Mizzou New Music Initiative also offers Composer Connection, a distance-learning program that gives aspiring composers a chance to talk with and receive instruction from a graduate student in composition at MU.

Students can e-mail works in progress, ask questions about composing, and receive suggestions and answers directly from the composer on call. The composer on call for the 2020-21 academic year is Luis Hermano Bezerra, who can be reached by email at bezerral@mail.missouri.edu.