The Challenge

The National Young Composers Challenge is open to young musicians ages 13 to 18 who are U.S. residents.

The Challenge is simple. First, you write your own composition for small ensemble (2 to 6 instruments) or full orchestra. Then, a panel of judges chooses the top three orchestral and top three ensemble compositions to be performed and recorded by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra at the NYCC Composium. The Composium for the 2019 competition will be held at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, Florida on Sunday, April 19, 2020.


At the Composium, each winning orchestral composer will be awarded $1000 and each winning ensemble composer will be awarded $500.

PLUS! Each winner will receive a professional recording of their composition.

2018 Finalists

Each year the National Young Composers Challenge receives a large number of submissions from every corner of the United States. The sophistication and quality of the scores has continued to grow each year. Because of the difficulty of picking only a few winners in each category, the judges also announce the list of finalists from which the winning scores will be selected. Each one of these composers deserves recognition as a winner, but unfortunately only a few scores can be selected from the finalists as winners.

To view the list of 2018 finalists, click here.

2018 Winners

The National Young Composers Challenge is excited to announce the winners of the 2018 NYCC challege. From the finalists, the judges selected the following compositions that were performed at the 2019 Composium. The winners are listed below in alphabetical order. This order does not imply relative ratings.


Reinvention - Oscar Basza - Arlington Heights, IL - age 17

Winnipeg - Benjamin Dickey - Seattle, WA - age 15

Woodwind Quintet - Misha Swersey - New York, NY - age 16

(Honorable mention) Divertimento No. 2 in E Flat Major for String - Ian Barnett - Key Biscayne, FL - age 13

Full Orchestra

Ballet for Fighter Jets - Zev Malina - Harrisburg, PA - age 16

Distance - Isaac Santos - Hollywood, FL - age 18

An American Road Trip - Brendan Weinbaum - Atlanta, GA - age 16


If you have a question regarding the National Young Composers Challenge, you can contact us at mail@ followed by


The National Young Composers Challenge is a 501(c)3 non-profit charitable organization supported by grants and in-kind donations from the University of Central Florida, Rollins College, Full Sail University, Timucua Arts Foundation, and the Goldman Charitable Foundation.