Composers’ Competition 2020

This website is about a competition for writing recorder music.

The competition is to encourage the composition of music that will appeal to branches of the UK’s Society of Recorder Players (SRP).

We think that it is a good time to encourage the writing of such music because:

(1) There was a composers’ competition in 2019, and that suggested that there is considerable interest, by people from outside the recorder world,  in writing for the recorder.

(2) SRP branches do not play a great deal of recently-composed music.

(3) SRP branches would appreciate the fact that suitable music was being composed for them.

The composers’ competition is run by Steve Marshall, with help and advice from Helen Hooker and Ann Marshall. The Competition Administrator is Jean Campbell.

The site describes who can enter, the sort of music that is required, how entries are to be submitted, how the winner will be chosen, and what the prizes are.


Other than those involved in running the competition, anyone can enter, and composers may submit more than one piece.


Given that the purpose of the competition is to encourage the writing of music that will be suitable for branches of the SRP, the main requirement will be that the music is not too difficult to play. ‘Too difficult’ is a slippery concept, because it depends on who is playing it. But while SRP branches can include some strong players, music where most parts are more difficult than an amateur’s idea of moderate rarely work well.

So that composers who are not involved with SRP branches do not spend their valuable time writing music that is unsuitable for the branches, here are some example pages that we hope you will find useful.

Too easy

About right

Probably too difficult

Too difficult

Many SRP members enjoy music from the Renaissance and the Baroque, and music from the last hundred years less so. That is not to encourage writing of music that is a pastiche of music of hundreds of years ago, but the composers must find a way to make their music appeal to SRP members.

Entries should last between three and five minutes.

Entries must use six or fewer parts, including descant (soprano), treble (alto), tenor and bass. Further (optional) parts for great bass and contrabass may be included. 

Entries must be original compositions. Arrangements of other music may be acceptable, but (1) there must be a large element of originality (not, for example, merely a reharmonisation of ‘Greensleeves’) and (2) any non-original music used must be free of copyright, and the opinion of the judges will be final in this regard.

Entries may consist of a set of short pieces, as long as the total time is no more than five minutes.

Entries must be previously unpublished.


In order to ensure that judging is scrupulously fair, all correspondence will be dealt with by Jean Campbell, who will forward anonymised entries to the judges. Jean’s email is

You are welcome to register more than one piece, and you should complete the form and make a payment for each one. At the bottom of this page [was] a form for registering your piece, and for paying the fee of £20.

Having registered your piece(s), please send the following, for each entry:

(1) A score and parts as a pdf. These must not show the name of the composer, or give any clues as to the composer’s identity.

(2) An electronic version of the piece. This can be midi, wav, mp3, sib (version 7 or below) or xml. If this poses a problem, please contact Jean Campbell, who will pass your question onto Steve.

(3) A brief biography of the composer.

(4) Brief programme notes.

(5) A confirmation that the piece is your own work or, if some elements are the work of others, that those elements are free of copyright. As said earlier, the opinion of the judges on the latter point is final.

Please send these documents by email to Jean Campbell by 15 December 2019.


Entries will remain completely anonymous, right up to the moment that the 1-2-3 winners are announced. As noted above, Jean Campbell will provide the judges with anonymized materials.

Assuming that an early whittling-down process is necessary, this will be done by five judges. The objective of this process is to emerge with six finalists.

The finals will take place at the 2020 SRP National Festival, which will take place in Suffolk on 18-19 April 2020, as follows:

(1) There will be two Saturday playing slots, each of which will involve three finalist pieces. One slot will be conducted by Helen, one by Steve.

(2) All Festival attendees will be welcome to play, or listen.

(3) At the end of each playing slot, both players and audience will vote for their (still anonymous) favourite piece. The competition organisers will later learn the 1-2-3 order.

(4) There will be a mini-concert on Sunday, when the three winning pieces will be played in random order. The 1-2-3 order and, at long last, the names of the composers, will be announced and prizes awarded if the composers are present. The outright winner will be played again.


(1) The top three pieces will be published by May Hill Edition, assuming the successful composers do not already have a publisher.

(2) There will be cash prizes of £200, £100 and £50.

(3) As above, the top three pieces will be performed by and to festival attendees.