Composition Competition

Composition Competition

String Quartet Composition Competition
for Irish citizens/residents under 35

The winning works are premiered at
The West Cork Chamber Music Festival that year

Our annual competition is for the composition of a new string quartet by young Irish and Irish-resident composers. Our Call for Scores goes out in November every year. The four winners are announced by May. Their winning works are rehearsed and premiered at that year’s West Cork Chamber Music Festival in June/July.

Past judges of this competition include Donnacha Dennehy, Lera Auerbach, Brett Dean and Deirdre Gribbin.


2023 Festival Call For Scores

15th Young Composers Competition for the West Cork Chamber Music Festival is now open for submissions

” I really felt that the festival was invested in realisation of my music, something that I can’t say I’ve experienced much with festivals in the past.” – Kevin Terry, 2021 winner

• €1000 prize money
• 3 nights at the 2023 Festival 23 June to 2 July
• 2 public performances
• Workshop with competition adjudicator
• Submission deadline: 14 March 2023

We are delighted to welcome back Donnacha Dennehy to adjudicate the 2023 Competition

Entrants must be under 35 years old on 1 January 2023. The work must be scored for string quartet and has not been performed prior to the 2023 Festival

Download the full list of criteria here



Previous Winners

We send our congratulations again to our 2021 winners: Kevin Terry, Lindsey Vincent and  Luke Smyth.

And many thanks to Deirdre Gribbin for judging the competition.

Earlier winners of the Competition include:

  • Seán Doherty (Assistant Professor of Music at Dublin City University)
  • Solfa Carlisle and Amanda Feery (both winners of the Seán Ó Riada competition)
  • Robert Coleman (NCH Jerome Hynes competition winner)
  • Finola Merivale (a Benjamin Franklin fellow at the University of Pennsylvania).

To view a full list of previous winners from 2008 to date, see our Winners pages.

Robert Colemen composer

Shelly Dooley Composer


Arts Council - funding music
Crespo Foundation
Fáilte Ireland
Wild Atlantic Way
Cork County Council
Pure Cork
RTE Lyric FM
Maritime Hotel
IMRO - Irish Music Rights Organisation