Recurring Opportunities for NZ Composers

Prizes & Competitions

  • The Douglas Lilburn Prize

Held every three years, this prize is a joint initiative between Concert FM and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra. Open to new, previously unperformed orchestral works between 8–12 minutes in duration.

NB: the Douglas Lilburn Prize is currently under review. The CANZ Noticeboard will carry any updates regarding the Prize.

Forces: Full symphony orchestra (8–12 minutes)
Prizes: $15000
Awarding Institution: Concert FM and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
Deadline: Varies
Recent Winners: Penny Axtens (2000), Michael Norris (2003), Lissa Meridan (2006)

  • The Philip Neill Memorial Prize in Music

Awarded by Otago University, this annual prize of $1500 is given to the best work submitted by a current or former student of a NZ university, within the forces specified for that year.

Forces: Varies
Prize: $1500
Awarding Institution: Otago University
Deadline: 1 July (annually)
Recent Winners: Thorsten Wollman (2002), John Rimmer (2003), Robin Toan (2004), ? (2005), Carol Shortis (2006), Brian Bromberg (2007), Chris Adams (2008), Jack Body (2009)

  • Lilburn Endowment Trust University Composers Competition Awards

The five major university music departments (Auckland, Waikato, NZSM, Canterbury, Otago) are given an annual donation from the Lilburn Endowment Trust to hold a composers competition with cash prizes for students of those institutions. See your music department for details.

Forces: Varies
Awarding Institution
: Auckland, Waikato, NZSM, Canterbury, Otago universities with funding from Lilburn Endowment Trust

  • SOUNZ Contemporary Award

An annnual award presented to the best new work by an APRA member premiered in the preceding 12 months. Awarded by SOUNZ at the APRA Silver Scroll Presentations.

Forces: Any
Awarding Institution: SOUNZ and APRA
Deadline: mid-July (annually)
Recent Winners: John Psathas (2002), Gillian Whitehead (2003), John Psathas (2004), Ross Harris (2005), Ross Harris (2006), Eve de Castro-Robinson (2007), Chris Gendall (2008), Ross Harris (2009), Chris Cree Brown (2010)

  • SOUNZ Original Composition award in the CMNZ/NZCT Chamber Music Composition

Awarded to secondary school composers who submit works as part of the New Zealand Community Trust/Chamber Music New Zealand Chamber Music Competition. Prize: $500. Piece must be performed as part of the CMNZ/NZCT Chamber Music Competition.

Forces: Chamber ensemble
Awarding Institutions: Chamber Music New Zealand, SOUNZ & New Zealand Community Trust
Recent Winners: Karlo Margetic (2005), Tabea Squire (2006), Corwin Newall (2007), David Taylor (2008), Corwin Newall (2009)

  • NZSO/Todd Corporation Young Composer Awards

Two prizes of $750 for orchestral scores by young composers (under 25). Maximum 5 minutes duration.

Forces: Full orchestra (less than 5′ duration)
Prizes: 2x$750
Awarding Institution: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Todd Corporation
Recent Winners: Robin Toan and Karlo Margetic (2006); Tony Lin and Claire Cowan (2007); Alexandra Hay (2008); Natalie Hunt (2009); Arna Shaw (2010)

  • Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra/The Trusts Secondary School Composers Competition

Competition and educational workshops designed to prepare secondary school composers to write for orchestra. Prize of $500.

Forces: Orchestra
Prizes: $500
Awarding Institution: Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra
Recent Winners: Karlo Margetic (2005), Hannah Blumhardt (2006), Jonathan Fuller (2008)

  • NZ Secondary Students Choir Choral Composition Award

Original choir works by full-time students no older than 23 years. Composition 2–5 mins in length.

Forces: Choir (2’–5′ dur)
Prizes: $1000 (1st place), $500 (2nd place)
Awarding Institution: NZ Secondary Students Choir
Recent Winners: Andrew Baldwin (2005), Tabea Squire (2006)

  • The Big Sing SOUNZ-NZCF Choral Competition

Original choir works by secondary school students for entrants in the Big Sing choir competition.

Forces: Choir
Prizes: Information to come
Awarding Institution: SOUNZ and the NZCF
Recent Winners: Lauren Simpkins (2005), Tabea Squire (2006), Megan Nelson (2007), Arna Shaw (2008), Grace Park (2009)

  • Adam International Cello Festival Young Composer Competition

Competition for solo cello work. The winner will be included in the contest repertoire of the competing cellists. Competition will be held along with each festival, which occurs about once every three years.

Forces: Solo Cello (5′ dur)
Prizes: $1000
Awarding Institution: Adam International Cello Festival
Recent Winners: Robin Toan (2006), Jonathan Crehan (2009)

  • CANZ Trust Fund Award (no application)

Awarded to an emerging or established composer (who must be a current CANZ member) for excellence in current compositional achievements. As the award is decided on by the CANZ committee, applications are not invited for this; however, CANZ members may make a nomination to a committee member.

Awarding institution: Composers Association of New Zealand
Recent Winners: Penny Axtens (2002), James Gardner (2003), Chris Watson (2004), Dylan Lardelli (2005), Samuel Holloway (2006), Patrick Shepherd (2007), Gareth Farr (2008), Robin Toan (2009), Gao Ping (2010), Michael Norris (2011)

  • KBB Citation for NZ Music (no application)

Awarded to an individual or institution for their contribution to New Zealand music.

Awarding institution: Composers Association of New Zealand with funding from KBB Music
Recent Winners: Waiteata Music Press (2002), 175 East (2003), Scilla Askew (2004), John Cousins (2005), Karen Grylls (2006), Gillian Whitehead (2007), Jenny McLeod (2008), Andrew Uren (2009), Chris Cree Brown (2010), Allan Thomas (2011)

  • ACL Young Composers Competition (CANZ members only)

Every year or so, the Asian Composers League, of which CANZ is a member, holds a Festival of music in different venues around the Asia-Pacific region. As part of this, CANZ can nominate a young composer to take part in the Young Composers Competition.

Awarding institution
: Asian Composers League, Composers Association of New Zealand and Creative New Zealand
Recent Representatives: Michael Norris (2000), Chris Watson (2002), Dylan Lardelli (2003), Chris Gendall (2004), Alison Grant (2005), Robin Toan & Samuel Holloway (2007), Simon Eastwood (2009)

  • New Zealand Association of Organists Award

New works for organ, between 3–5 minutes duration. Between Grade 5 and 8 difficulty, written for two manuals and an independent pedal part.

Forces: Organ
Awarding Institution:
New Zealand Association of Organists
Deadline: Early February

  • SOUNZ Community Commission

The SOUNZ Community Commission is sponsored by an anonymous donor and administered by SOUNZ. The commission encourages community groups (amateur musicians) to work closely with a professional composer. Each year — usually in March or April — proposals are accepted from either community groups or composers for musical projects that will see them working in creative partnership. The successful proposal is to be completed by the following May with a performance of the result either having taken place or planned by then.

Awarding Institution
Recent Recipients: Rachel Clement (2004), Ross Carey (2005), Robin Toan (2006), Claire Cowan (2007), Sam Hamilton (2008)

  • ISCM World Music Days (CANZ members only)

Every year member countries of the International Society of Contemporary Music host the World Music Days, a long festival of contemporary music from the ISCM member countries. As CANZ is a member of the ISCM, we are allowed to submit up to six works to be considered for selection. Works that are chosen by the ISCM are then programmed at the World Music Days. Currently CANZ does not offer any assistance with travel to the WMD for successful applicants. This is something we are considering in the long term.

Awarding Institution: CANZ and the ISCM
Recent Representatives: Jeroen Speak & Dorothy Ker (2004), Michael Norris & Philip Brownlee (2005), Jeroen Speak (2006), Shen Nalin (2007), Pepe Becker & Carol Shortis (2009)

  • NZ Music Awards (Tui Awards)

The New Zealand Music awards are hosted by the recording industry as a celebration of excellence in recorded music.

Awarding Institution
Recent Classical Winners: Jack Body: Pulse (2002), Douglas Lilburn: Symphonies (2003), John Psathas: Fragments (2004), John Psathas: View from Olympus (2007), Michael Houstoun: Inland (2008), David Bremner: Gung Ho (2009)

Orchestral Readings

  • NZSO/SOUNZ readings

The NZSO-SOUNZ Readings is a collaborative project which aims to increase the likelihood of performance of orchestral music by New Zealand composers.

Awarding Institution
: New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and SOUNZ
Deadline: Varies

  • Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra Graduate Composers Workshop

Readings of new orchestral works by the Auckiand Philharmonia Orchestra. Composers over the age of 18.

Awarding Institution: Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra
Deadline: mid-May (annually)

  • Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra/The Trusts Interactive Composing Workshop

Designed for pre-NCEA composing development, this workshop allows Year 9 and 10 students to compose for duos and have their pieces played and discussed by Auckland Philharmonia musicians.

Awarding Institution: Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra
Deadline: early June (annually)


  • Mozart Fellowship

A year-long residency (which may be extended to two years) at the University of Otago, Dunedin. Applications close on June 1 each year. The residency runs February-January. Salary: equivalent to a junior lecturer’s salary. Restrictions: NZ citizens over the age of 27.

Awarding Institution: University of Otago
Recent Recipients: Alison Isadora (2001), Michael Norris (2002), Noel Sanders (2003–4), Rachel Clement (2005–6), Neville Copland (2007), Chris Watson (2008–9), Chris Adams (2010-11)

  • APO Composer-in-Residence

A year-long residency (which may be extended to two years) with the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra. Applications close in August of each year. Residency runs for one calendar year.

Awarding Institution: Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra
Recent Recipients: Gillian Whitehead (2000–1), John Rimmer (2002–3), Dylan Lardelli & Anthony Young (2004), Ross Harris (2005–6), Gareth Farr (2007–8), Chris Adams (2009), John Psathas (2010)

  • Creative New Zealand/Jack C. Richards Composer-in-Residence at the New Zealand School of Music

A year-long residency in the Lilburn Residence, Wellington, hosted by the New Zealand School of Music and Creative New Zealand. Applications close in November of each year. Residency runs from July to July.

Awarding Institution: New Zealand School of Music and Creative New Zealand
Deadline: 13 November
Recent Recipients: James Gardner (2004/5), Gillian Whitehead (2005/6), Lyell Cresswell (2006/7), Ross Harris (2007/8), Helen Bowater (2008/9), John Rae (2009/10), Chris Gendall (2010/11)

  • NYO Composer-in-Residence

A commission to write a new work for the National Youth Orchestra, and to tour with the orchestra.

Awarding Institution: National Youth Orchestra
Deadline: First week of December (annually)
Recent Recipients: Robin Toan (2005), Claire Cowan (2006), Karlo Margetic (2007), Tabea Squire (2008), Natalie Hunt (2009)

  • APO Young Composer-in-Residence

A residency to write chamber works for APO musicians. Applications by invitation only, for the time being.

Awarding Institution: Auckland Philharmonia
Recent Recipients: Karlo Margetic (2007)

  • Edwin Carr Foundation Scholarship

Funding toward overseas study. Applications close in the two rounds of Creative New Zealand. Amount available may vary from year to year.

Awarding Institution: Edwin Carr Foundation via Creative New Zealand
Deadline: February & July funding rounds of Creative New Zealand
Recent Recipients: Dylan Lardelli (2006), Robin Toan (2006), Lissa Meridan (2007), Rachael Morgan (2008), Chris Gendall (2009)

  • SOUNZ Trans-Tasman Composers Exchange

A six–eight week residency scheme where a composer is hosted by a professional performing group in Australia.

Awarding Institution: SOUNZ
Recent Recipients: Gareth Farr (2003), James Gardner (2005), Kenneth Young (2008)

  • Visby International Centre for Composers Residency (CANZ members only)

Opportunity to be resident at the Visby International Centre for Composers through our subscription to the ISCM. Apply to CANZ at any time.

Awarding Institution: Visby International Centre for Composers & CANZ
Recent Recipients: Ross Carey (2005)

  • APRA Professional Development Award (APRA members only)

The APRA NZ Professional Development Award was first presented in 2005. This award offers cash ($10,000), travel* and recognition to music writers in the early stages of their careers.

Awarding Institution: APRA
Recent Recipients: Robin Toan (2005), Samuel Holloway (2009)

General Arts Opportunities

  • Wild Creations

The Wild Creations programme offers 3 six-week residencies annually to artists selected by a panel of representatives from Creative New Zealand and DOC. During a residency, artists will be free to explore the environment and the physical and creative challenges of their location.

Awarding Institution: Department of Conservation & Creative New Zealand
Recent Composer Recipients
: Alison Isadora (2005)

  • Artists to Antarctica

The Artists to Antarctica Programme was established in partnership with Creative New Zealand. Antarctica New Zealand provides, administrative and logistical support, and Creative New Zealand financial support. The programme encourages New Zealand artists in all disciplines to explore Antarctica through their work, thus increasing New Zealander’s understanding of Antarctica’s value, and global importance.

Awarding Institution: Antarctica New Zealand & Creative New Zealand
Recent Composer Recipients: Chris Cree Brown (2000), Phil Dadson (2002), Patrick Shepherd (2004), Gareth Farr (2006)

  • Smash Palace

The Smash Palace Fund, piloted in 2002, is a partnership between Creative New Zealand and MoRST. Its aim is to encourage and support the convergence between the arts and science as a building block for innovation and creativity.

Awarding Institution: MoRST & Creative New Zealand
Recent Composer Recipients: Ian Whalley & Richard Nunns (2005)