BMI Student Composer Award

The BMI Student Composer Awards is an annual competition open to young composers studying classical music and are determined for vocal, instrumental, and electronic compositions. Prizes range from $500 to $5,000.

Eligibility and Requirements

To be considered for a BMI Student Composer Award, the applicant must:

  • Be a citizen of a country in the Western Hemisphere
  • Currently be studying music (in an educational university or privately)
  • Be less than 28 years of age at the time of the submission
  • Have not won a BMI Student Composer Award more than two times

Application Procedures and Selection Criteria

The submission must include:

  • Proof that the composer is the sole composer and owner of the composition
  • The composer’s name, school, or geographical location
  • Written permission or proof of public domain if any text, lyric, or libretto is used in the composition

The selection criteria for a BMI Student Composition Award are:

  • Formal content of the composition: this concerns the continuity and coherent expression of the composer’s ideas
  • Melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic idioms: all will be judged solely in terms of their consistency and suitability for the intent of the particular composition
  • Instrumentation, orchestration, and vocal writing: all will be judged on the suitability of the choice and use of instruments or voices to the ideas presented in the composition
  • Age of the composer at the time of completion of the manuscript: when two compositions are equal in merit in the opinion of the judges, but there is an age disparity, preference will be given to the younger applicant.


Submissions are due mid-February. Applicants are notified in May.


Stella Setka, Ph.D.

Fellowships Coordinator, National and International Scholarship Office

University Hall 1848