The very first International Horn Society Composition Contest took place in 1979 with Dr. Gayle Chesebro as the Coordinator. In the announcement of the first contest the composer and then-President Douglas Hill defined the purposes of the Composition Project in the following three points:
- To provide new and successful repertoire for all levels of the horn playing/teaching community
- To encourage emerging composers to feature the horn, with all of its versatility, in new works
- To encourage all horn players and horn teachers to investigate and perform new repertoire
Since that very first contest in 1979, 27 Composition Contests have been held, hundreds of compositions for the Horn-have been submitted, and many of these have been featured in performances at Horn Symposia as well as at other venues and recordings.
Since the 2014 Composition Contest there have been two different divisions: The Featured Division and The Virtuoso Division.
In the Featured Division, the Difficulty Level of the Compositions is Moderate. Featured Division compositions must be playable by the entire spectrum of IHS members (student, amateurs, professionals). Works in this division should have musical content that would have the integrity to honor the professional hornists—yet within the pitch and technical range of the panorama of student and amateur players.
In the Virtuoso Division-there is no difficulty limitation.
The instrumentation of works for these divisions rotates with each contest.
For the 2024 Contest the Instrumentation of the Divisions follows:
- Compositions for Solo Horn (alone/unaccompanied)
- Compositions for Solo Horn with Vocal Ensemble
- Compositions for Horn Ensemble (two or more players, all horns)
- Compositions for solo horn and keyboard instrument. (Keyboard instruments may include piano, harpsichord, organ, electronic keyboard, or mallet percussion.)
- Compositions featuring Horn with chamber ensemble of three or more players (one horn part only) (The chamber ensemble may include any combination of electronic instruments, acoustic instruments and/or voices. Electronic instruments may be live or pre-recorded. Acoustic instruments may include Wagner Tuben.)
- Compositions featuring Solo Horn featured with large ensemble. (The large ensemble may include any group of electronic, acoustic instruments and/or voices. Electronic instruments may be live or pre-recorded. Acoustic instruments may include Wagner Tuben.)
In the Composition Contest, a Composer submits a composition of appropriate instrumentation according to the following application rules.
I. Application Rules include the following:
- Scores in PDF Format. Personal name must be removed from the score.
- MP3 recordings of the composition. Personal information (such as embedded composer's name) should be removed from the file. Maximum size is 30MB. Hornists are encouraged to collaborate with composers in making the best possible recording of the composition to be submitted. Although electronically generated sound files may be submitted, collaboration between living hornists and living composers is encouraged!
- A brief description of the work in MS-Word.doc format
- An on-line application, which will include the name of composition, entered as well as contact information of the composer (full name, address, phone number and email address).
- Composer's name and address must not appear on the scores, recording file or description file. All works are assigned a number to guarantee anonymity during judging.
- Entry fee of $25 U.S.D. for each composition must be paid at the time of submission via the Horn Society website.
- Entries must be received no later than December 1, 2024. Incomplete entries or entries submitted in an incorrect format will not be considered.
- No more than one composition per division per composer is allowed.
- Works submitted must have been composed during the past four years, and any composition that has received support from the International Horn Society Meir Rimon Commissioning Assistance Fund is not eligible. Also ineligible are Officers and Staff of the International Horn Society—as well as the most recent winners of the Composition Contest.
II. Files will not be returned and will become the property of the International Horn Society. Intellectual rights remain the property of the composer.
III. The panel of judges may withhold the awards if the works submitted are deemed unqualified to receive such distinction. Judges may assign Honorable Mention status to compositions not selected for a monetary award.
IV. Contestants may expect to receive the results of the contest by February 15, 2025. Results of the contest, including a description of the winning compositions and composers' biographies will appear in an issue of The Horn Call, the journal of the International Horn Society (circulation: over 3,000 members from 55 countries).
V. The winner of each division will receive a prize of $1250 U.S.D. The winning compositions will be performed or featured, if possible, at an International Horn Society Workshop. The winning composers will have the option of having the work published by the IHS Online Music Sales.
VI. Entrance into this competition constitutes acceptance of Application Rules.