Application and selection process

1) Applicants should make submissions to by 15th January 2020.

The Fanfare must be an original work for orchestra, between 2 – 3 minutes in length.

The Fanfare should be orchestrated for performance by a full symphony orchestra (see Rules below for information about permitted orchestration).

Please note that we do not expect a completely polished final work to be submitted – there will be time after the winner is selected for the piece to be edited. Applicants may submit the entire Fanfare or a one-minute excerpt of the planned final piece if presented with coherent beginning and ending.

Please include in your submission:

  • a score of your Fanfare in pdf format (ideally written on a notation software such as Sibelius or Notion however very neat handwritten scores will be accepted).
  • a recording of your Fanfare in mp3 format. Computer mock-ups are acceptable for the recording
  • a portfolio of up to three other compositions (these do not need to be orchestral) to give us an idea of your work. Please include scores in pdf format and recordings in mp3 format
  • a covering letter and CV describing your composing experience.Submissions should be anonymous, please use a pseudonym on all your scores and recordings. You should tell us the pseudonym in your covering letter.

2) Shortlist selection process

All submitted compositions will be assessed initially by acclaimed British composer Emma-Ruth Richards,  and a sub-set will then be considered by a Panel including Emma-Ruth, our conductor Christopher Stark and our professional Leader John Crawford (Professor at Trinity Laban).

We will select a shortlist of up to 10 composers who will be invited to the next stage of the process, the Workshop Final with ERSO.

Assessment criteria will include:

  • ability to write appropriately for an amateur orchestra
  • originality and development of ideas
  • compositional technique.

Communication will take place to all applicants by 1st February 2020

3) Shortlisted composers should send draft parts and the full score (including any revisions) for the Fanfare to ERSO by 1st March 2020.

Parts and score should be emailed in pdf format to  We will print the parts and scores for the workshop.

4) Workshop final on 15 March 2020.

Each shortlisted piece will be rehearsed by ERSO.  Shortlisted composers will be expected to attend the workshop which we hope will be recorded.

Shortlisted composers will be given valuable advice and feedback from composer Emma-Ruth Richards, our professional conductor and leader and the orchestra.

The workshop will be recorded, and each composer will be given the recording of their work to use.

The winning composition will be selected by the orchestra together with representatives from Ernest Read’s family.

We will communicate the result of the Final to all shortlist candidates and written feedback will be given to all of Finalists by 22 March 2020

The winning composer will be invited to ERSO rehearsals to fine-tune the Fanfare composition.  The winning composer will also be asked to create some simpler parts for child musicians, who will join us in performing the Fanfare at the Gala Concert.


Composers who are aged 16  – 30 years old on January 15th, 2020 and who are UK residents are eligible to enter the competition.

Each composer may submit only one composition for consideration.

The submitted work must be original and unpublished.  ERSO’s first performance of the Fanfare should be the premiere of the piece.

The composition should be orchestrated for performance by a full symphony orchestra.  Instrumentation cannot exceed: winds at *2,*2,*2,2; brass at 4,3,3,1; timpani plus 2 percussion (standard orchestral percussion instruments); harp; and strings. *Available doublings are: Flute 2/Piccolo, Oboe 2/English Horn, Clarinet 2/Bass Clarinet.  Please do not write a piano part.

Works requiring soloists or employing electronics, digital technology, and/or sound reinforcement in combination with the above instrumental forces will not be considered.

All candidates must be available for the Workshop Final of the Fanfare competition and the Gala Concert in spring 2021 (this will be confirmed asap and will be either 28 February or 7 March 2021).

The winning composer should provide a hardcopy of the score of the winning composition and the constituent parts to ERSO following notification of the judges’ decision, but before the actual award is made to the composer. Individual parts should also be sent to ERSO in pdf format.

The winning composer shall grant ERSO the right to use the piece for future performances on a royalty-free basis. ERSO reserves the right to use the winning composition to promote ERSO including live and recorded performances.  ERSO shall retain copies of the parts and scores for future use.

Applications that are incomplete, illegible, late, or that do not meet the above criteria will not be considered.

We will provide reasonable travel expenses for the winner to attend the required ERSO rehearsals and the Birthday Gala concert.

Any questions should be directed to