International Composition Competition Harelbeke

For the seventh time, the International Composition Competition Harelbeke will be organized in Harelbeke (Belgium). The aim of this competition is to encourage talented composers to integrate the achievements of contemporary music and current composition techniques into wind orchestra compositions.

Contemporary music, more specifically in the sector of music for wind and percussion instruments, deserves permanent backing. As town council, our aim is to motivate composers and performers and to provide a window onto the world. Building a musical bridge between international communities is essential for the future of mankind. This competition contributes to this goal.

A unique feature of this competition is that the works of the three finalists will be performed live by the wind orchestra Koninklijk Harmonieorkest Vooruit Harelbeke.

General provisions

1.            The competition is open to composers of all ages and from all countries.

2.            Each composer can enter only two works.

3.            The duration of the work must be between 15 and 25 minutes (to be stated on the score).

4.            The submitted works must be original in every respect: only unpublished works that have  never been performed in public nor broadcast on radio or television and that have never won a prize at any national or international competition will be accepted. Adaptations of existing compositions or rearrangements or re-orchestrations of known tunes or folk songs will be rejected.

5.            Only music compositions for wind orchestra will be accepted. Works for brass band or chamber music groups will not be accepted.

6.            Compositions using electronics will not be accepted.

7.            As the three shortlisted compositions will be performed live during the final, the  orchestration of the work must not exceed the following instrumentation:

Piccolo; Flute 1&2; Oboe 1&2; English horn; Clarinet Eb; Clarinet Bb 1,2&3; Bass Clarinet Bb; Contra-Alto Clarinet Eb; Contrabass Clarinet Bb; Soprano Saxophone; Alto Saxophone 1&2; Tenor Saxophone; Baritone Saxophone; Bassoon 1&2; Contrabassoon; Cornet Bb 1&2; Trumpet Bb 1,2&3; French Horn F 1&2, 3&4; Tenor Trombone 1&2; Bass Trombone; Euphonium Bb; Tuba C; Double bass; Timpani; Percussion (max. 6 parts); Piano; Harp

The works will be performed by an orchestra from Harelbeke with this instrumentation.

8.            The score must bear a title and a pseudonym instead of the composer’s name.  The submitted score must be accompanied by a scanned application form and a signed declaration of authenticity.  The application form can be downloaded from the competition’s website:

9.            The name of the composer must not appear anywhere on the score. Nor may the score contain any details that might lead to the identification of the composer.

10.          The score should meet the following requirements: (1) realized in digital format (music notation software) and (2) submitted in PDF-format by uploading it onto the website

11.          The composer must also include a short written preface to explain the work. If the composer has used an alternative music notation system, it must also be explained.

12.          The jury reserves the right not to award all three prizes if the desired level is not reached.

13.          The organization will preserve two copies of the score: (1) to be kept in the archive of the competition in Harelbeke, (2) to be kept in the music library of MATRIX in Leuven (

14.          The jury will announce the finalists on Monday 16 April 2018.

15.          The finalists will be asked to attend a rehearsal with the orchestra on the day before the final. This rehearsal will take place in the presence of the jury members. Each finalist will have one hour to work with the orchestra. Travel expenses will be reimbursed by the organization. Hotel and subsistence expenses however must be borne by the composer.

16.          If a prize-winning composer decides to have his work published by a music score publisher, the score must carry the words: with this work the composer was a finalist at the 6th International Composition Competition Harelbeke (Belgium).

17.          If one of the finalists is disqualified, another candidate will be selected to take his or her place.

18.          The jury’s decisions are final.

19.          Entries submitted after the deadline will not be accepted

20.          By entering the competition the candidate accepts the competition rules.

For more info see