Young Composers Competition


Deadline for submission: March 1, 2024

Decision announcement: April 1, 2024

The DeKalb Symphony is excited to announce a commissioning opportunity for American high school-aged composers.

The selected composer will be invited to create a new work for symphony orchestra (that has not yet been performed or published) of not less than 7 minutes in total duration. The DeKalb Symphony will rehearse and premiere the work in the metro Atlanta region in the 2024-2025 Season. There will also be a commission fee of $400 presented to the selected composer.

The selected composer must submit an initial score and parts no later than August 1, 2024, with revisions (if requested) due by September 1, 2024.

The selected composer will receive:

  • An invitation to attend at least 1 rehearsal with a full, conducted symphony orchestra to facilitate revision
  • A premiere performance on Georgia State University’s Perimeter campus before a live audience
  • College-application and career advising appointments with Dr. Bhasin, Donna & Marvin Schwartz Professor of Music and Dir. of Orchestral Studies, Emory University
  • A professional-quality recording (audio) of the premiere performance

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Composers between the ages of 14 and 18 are all encouraged to apply
  • Extensive experience writing for symphony orchestra is not required.

To apply, please submit the following items in a single folder via the link below by March 1, 2024:

1- One to two (1-2) compositions for consideration. These compositions may be any genre or instrumentation – with at least one of these compositions employing traditional notation and a notated score (submitted as a .pdf file). Recordings of your compositions shared as URLs will also be accepted, but are not required.

2- A current resume summarizing your musical activities thus far in your career.

3- We want to learn about what motivates you artistically. Please submit either a written statement (up to 500 words) or a video URL (not more than 5 minutes in duration) that describes your creative voice, discusses your work, your artistic goals, and what you would like to accomplish in this project.

Jury: DeKalb Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Principal Musicians

Secure Submission Link: Dropbox  [applications are not complete until all materials and non-refundable application fee are received by the DSO]

Please name your folder as: First_Last_Materials

Questions? Please contact:

Dr. Paul Bhasin, Music Director, DeKalb Symphony Orchestra via email at [email protected].

Non-refundable application fee: $40, payable via PayPal, or pay via check or money order, payable to DeKalb Symphony Orchestra).

Winner, 2023 DSO Young Composer’s Competition

Charlie Zhong is a composer based in Boston, Massachusetts. His music explores themes of memory, transformation, and balance. From the alteration of an individual’s perception by different perspectives of viewing an object, to the balancing of conflicting memories. He is also fascinated in the capture of attention (or lack of attention), through the fragmentations of melodies and gestures, or through the embellishment and distortion of memory. Charlie’s music seeks to explore complex topics in a way that is accessible to audiences, yet also pushes the boundaries of unconventional sounds and techniques. His works have been recognized by organizations such as ASCAP, the National Young Composers Challenge, and the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra. Charlie has studied with Tak Cheung Hui, David Hodgkins, Julien Siino, and Marco Flores-Villanueva. The composer’s website is at