AAM member Martina Schwarz, accompanied by other members of the AAM, holding the trophy she received when she won the NAO Composers' Competition in 2006.
This competition is held annually. Below is the call for entries for the 2010 event held in April of this year.
Entries are invited for the NAO Composers’ Competition to be held at the UK Championships, Blackpool, on the 25th April, 2010
Entries, which can be for any of the following sections, should be submitted by the 28th February:
- Professional Solo
- Amateur Solo
- Junior Solo 18 and under (for those currently studying for A levels / higher),
- Junior Solo 16 and under (for those currently studying for GCSE / Standards)
- Junior Solo 12 and under
A recording of the composition is required with the entry and the composer should be either prepared to play the piece at the event or arrange for someone else to do so. If no player is available the recording may be used as a last resort.
Full definitions and rules are attached and are also available on the following NAO link
This will be the second year for the competition to be held by the NAO, being previously organized by the North Staffs Accordion Club. In 2009 the event whilst not attracting quantity, attracted good quality entries. Winners of the previous competition back in 2006, Martina Schwartz and Ian McColl both defending their respective professional and amateur titles with new compositions.
One new aspect that must be an attraction to potential composers is the opportunity to have their work published or used as NAO test pieces in future years. From the last competition the following are being published by Charnwood Music Publishing Company:
- “Belle Sourire” by Karolyn Broadhead, prizewinner in the Professional Category
- “The Solitary Reaper” (to be renamed “Celtic Legend”) by Sue Coppard another prizewinner in the Professional Category,
- “Teddy’s in Town” by Ian McColl prizewinner of the Amateur Category and
- “Jessica’s Jest” by Steve Hughes prizewinner of the Ensemble Category.
Whilst there were no entries in the Junior Section at the event in 2009 many young accordionists took an interest in this new NAO competition given work they were undertaking in schools for examinations. As a result, the NAO Executive has amended the structure creating new sections (as listed above) to take on board the different level of school examinations.
It is now planned to host this competition on a regular annual basis during the UK Championships event and the NAO are sure that this category of competition will develop to provide quality new repertoire for the accordion. Continuity is being maintained from the North Staffs Accordion Club event through use of the same trophies.
NAO National Composers’ Competition Rules 2010
- The composition must be played on an acoustic accordion with either a button or piano keyboard.
- Pieces can be written in any style eg. Classical, Blues or Jazz style suitable for any age group but must not be arrangements of already published material.
- The composer may not necessarily be a single person. A composition by a partnership or group of people is acceptable
Section 1 SOLO
- Professional Solo (CS1)
For a composition (unpublished) by an entrant who has won the Amateur Section (as organised by the North Staffs Accordion Club / NAO) on two consecutive occasions, or on 1st January 2010: (a) teaches music for a living, either on a part-time or full time basis, or (b) has had two or more compositions published for purchase in their own right i.e. not just an inclusion in a Magazine.
- Amateur Solo (CS2)
For a composition (unpublished) by an entrant who does not fall under the definition of “professional” above, irrespective of age.
- Junior Solo (CS3)
For a composition (unpublished) by an entrant falling under the “amateur” definition aged 18 and under (as of the 30th April 2010) This Junior section will be subdivided into age groups: 18 & Under (for those currently studying for A levels / higher), 16 & Under (for those currently studying for GCSE / Standards) and 12 & Under - subject to the number of entries.)
Section 2 DUET / ENSEMBLE (CE)
For a composition (unpublished) written for two, three or more accordion parts.
All entries will also be graded by the NAO and the adjudicators will be asked to consider their suitability for submission (if subsequently published) to the NAO Music Committee as Test Pieces in NAO sections in future years. Solo / Duet compositions would also be submitted to the BCA for consideration in future examination syllabi.
(a) Official Entry Forms must be used (available from 1st December 2009), which must reach the NAO by the 28th February 2010, accompanied by the appropriate Fees - Reduced entry fee concessions apply only to fully paid up NAO members.
(b) A recorded version, CD, DVD or Audio Cassette should accompany the Entry Form. (Candidates are encouraged to take care with the quality of the recording).
- All competitors must be UK citizens or residents.
- The composition is to be entirely original and not breach any copyright.
- The composition may be for single or multiple accordion, or accordion with other instrument(s) where the accordion Predominately takes the lead.
- Compositions submitted are to be no more than 5 minutes in duration.
- Competitors may enter at most TWO compositions into each section.
- It is strongly advised that entrants ORGANISE for their composition to be performed live at the competition which will be held on Sunday 25th April 2010 in the Metropole Hotel, Blackpool. This avoids a problem if no player is available to play the piece the submitted recording being used as a substitute.
- Bass stave [with chords depicted as either a) a single note plus chord symbol, or b) chord, with or without the chord symbol] must be included.
- Lyrics may be included but it is the music that will be judged only. Care not to exceed the 5 minute maximum time limit should be taken when numerous verses are included.
- It would be ideal if the Composition is submitted in Computer format however a hand-written submission on manuscript paper is acceptable. Neat work is requested and points may be deducted for untidy submissions. The piece should have its name, the name of the composer(s), and include the words “Copyright” followed by composer’s name and the year. During the Competition the Composition will be known only by a number, the Composers name will not be known to the Adjudication Panel or Audience.
- A recording CD or DVD of the entry is to be included with the accordion part played on acoustic accordion with no electronic accompaniment (other than bass and/or Electronium in the case of a band or group). This recording is not judged as part of the competition but is required a) to confirm that the composition is playable, and b) as a guide to the adjudicator as to what is intended by the composer and c) if no player is available to play the piece at the live performance the recording may be used as a substitute.
ADJUDICATION Will be under the auspices of the NAO - The competition is for the best composition, not the best performance.
Subject to the number of entries an Elimination process may apply prior to the event.
The results will be an average of the Adjudicators marks. The Adjudicator’s report will award total points taking into consideration Technical Accuracy—Originality—Overall Content— Edit — Form—Presentation
PROTESTS connected with this category must made in writing and handed to the organiser before the end of the festival. In an event of the dispute not being resolved during the festival, a formal written protest may be sent within one month to the NAO Secretariat, who will refer the matter to the Executive Committee for arbitration. Their decision will be final.
In the event of any entry knowingly or otherwise breaching copyright it will be withdrawn after consultation with the Composer concerned.