for the prize must be made in electronic format. Submissions are of two types:
(a) nominations of ethnomusicologist-composers other than the submitter
(self-nominations are not allowed), and (b) compositions by the submitter
(self-nominations are required). Each SEM member may submit at most once in
each year when the prize is offered (i.e. an SEM member may nominate one
composer, or submit one composition).
should include composer's name, a website (if available), a list of works (with
URL links to recordings, if possible), and a statement (two pages maximum)
explaining why this composer is deserving of the award. Living composers must
be SEM members; deceased composers must have been SEM members in the past.
Self-nominations are not accepted; instead composers should submit a
composition for consideration by the prize committee. Note that live
performance of a winning composer's works at the Stevenson Prize concert
program will be contingent upon locating suitable instrumentation, arranging
rehearsals, and upon sufficient funding; however recordings may also be played
if provided. An SEM member may nominate only one composer. The prize may be
composition submissions must range from 2 to 10 minutes in duration. There are
three possible compositional forms (see below). All compositions must be
entirely original, must have been composed entirely by the submitter, and must
not have been published or submitted to a previous composition competition
(though they may have been previously performed).
New compositions in traditional genres and
recompositions of traditional works are acceptable, provided that a high degree
of creativity is exhibited. Each submission must include an audio or video file
(mp3 or mp4) either as a file upload or via URL link (e.g. to Google Drive); a
score is optional for forms #1 and #2 but required for form #3. A 1-2 page
statement explaining the sources of inspiration, compositional processes and
intentions, and any other information that will help the committee to
understand the work must accompany each submission. The committee will evaluate
composition submissions based on three principal criteria: (1) aesthetic and
emotional impact; (2) creativity, especially in linking composition and
ethnomusicological research; (3) general significance to ethnomusicology. Composers
are encouraged to address especially (2) and (3) in the accompanying statement.
Composers will retain all copyrights, granting only permission for performance
at SEM. There are no age or nationality restrictions of any kind. Any SEM
member may submit one composition per competition, in one of three forms:
audio works, which may also include a single channel video component, submitted
as mp3 or mp4 files. These pieces should not be recordings of performances, but
rather works that exist as digital AV files. Soundscape compositions, creative
montages of field recordings mixed with other sounds, and electroacoustic works
2) Solo works
for any instrument, to be performed by the composer, submitted as an mp3 or
mp4 plus an optional score. Such works may also incorporate a 2-channel audio
work. Winners must attend SEM and participate in the concert. A single
microphone will be available.
3) Works for
arbitrary ensemble, to be performed by the SEM Orchestra, an all-volunteer
ensemble composed of SEM members performing on instruments of their choosing
(including body & voice). Such works may also incorporate a 2-channel audio
work. Live instrumentation cannot be predicted, and there will be only one 2
hour rehearsal scheduled prior to the performance. Use of vocal and body music
not requiring any particular instrumentation is encouraged. A single microphone
will be available. The compositional challenge lies in creating a piece and
notation optimized for quick learning by a heterogeneous group of (mainly
amateur) ethnomusicologist-musicians. The winner must attend SEM, lead the
rehearsal, and participate in the concert.
selected by the prize committee will be performed at the Robert M. Stevenson
Complete the online application form.