NC NewMusic Initiative Annual Orchestra Composition Competition

2023 Annual NCNMI Orchestral Composition Competition Winner:

A Voice in the Wilderness

by Gilad Hochman

Composer Gilad Hochman

Gilad Hochman, composer


The judges for the Annual NORTH CAROLINA NEW MUSIC INITIATIVE Orchestra Composition Competition are delighted to announce Gilad Hochman’s A Voice in the Wilderness as the winning entry for 2023. Hochman’s work will be performed at ECU on March 16, 2024 by the ECU Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Jorge Richter.

Gilad Hochman was born in Israel in 1982 and has resided in Berlin since 2007. At age 24 he graduated with honors from the Buchmann-Mehta ‎School of Music at Tel Aviv University and became the youngest to win Israel’s ‎prestigious Prime Minister’s Prize. Since then, his music has developed its own language – uniquely ‎merging classical music traditions with those connected to Jewish culture, and other world culture and musical genres, while striving for ‎a balance between rational and emotional expressions.

The composer writes of his work: “This work draws its power from the words of the late Israeli author, Nava Semel, in her poem “Speak Desert to Me”. The music constructed as chain of descriptive episodes, arising from moods, emotions and feelings that the poetic text triggers. Parallel to the musical “word painting” of the desert landscape, where that poem’s protagonists exist, the piece relates to the topic of relationships, physical distance and emotional longing, and finally – to the hope that the voice will return, the common language of those two. The piece is based on scales, melodies and rhythms corresponding to Mediterranean music and merged with Western-classical orchestral writing.”

The judges for the 2023 competition were Mark Taggart, Navid Bargrizan, Travis Alford, and Jorge Richter. We would like to thank everyone who submitted for sharing their work. There were many fine entries, and we strongly encourage all to participate in next year’s competition.

For more information on upcoming NC NewMusic Initiative Events, please visit, and follow us on Facebook (@NewMusicAtECU).



Competition Guidelines:

NC NewMusic Initiative & the ECU Symphony Orchestra seek submissions of orchestral compositions suitable for an advanced university orchestra, according to the guidelines below. Open to all composers, regardless of age, nationality, or institutional affiliation.


The winning work will be performed by the East Carolina University Symphony Orchestra on March 16, 2024, in Wright Auditorium, Greenville, NC. The composer must be available to attend the performance. Accommodations and a travel stipend will be provided (while we will do our best, we cannot guarantee the stipend will completely cover travel costs, especially for international flights).


For consideration, all materials must be received by December 1, 2023.


Required Materials/ Guidelines:

1. SCORES (a maximum of two works; professional quality score(s), submitted as PDF(s), meeting the guidelines noted below):

  • Name of composer (anonymous entry NOT necessary)
  • Maximum instrumentation: 2 flutes (1 doubling piccolo), 2 oboe (1 doubling English Horn), 2 clarinets (1 doubling bass clar.), 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpet, 1 trombone, 1 tuba, Timpani and/or percussion, strings
  • Works with electronics/computer WILL be considered
  • Work with Harp will NOT be considered
  • Works including soloists will NOT be considered
  • Duration of 10-15 minutes
  • Difficulty level suitable for advanced university orchestra


  • Composer’s name, address, telephone number, e-mail address
  • One paragraph bio, one paragraph program notes
  • Title of submitted composition(s), list of instrumentation, duration of composition, date of completion, and performance history (if applicable)
  • Link to a recording (if available – see below)

3. RECORDING(S), if available:

  • Recordings are helpful but are NOT required.
  • Please submit recordings as a LINK on your information sheet, as specified above.
  • Please submit LIVE recordings only. No MIDI mock-ups.

In the event that judges are unable to identify a work which meets the guidelines above, judges reserve the right to declare no winning work.

Members of The East Carolina University Orchestra (Jorge Richter, Director) will perform the single winning work on Saturday evening, March 16, 2024, on a NC NewMusic Initiative concert on the East Carolina University campus in Greenville, NC.

The composer of the winning work must be available to attend the performance. Accommodations and travel stipend will be provided. The composer of the winning work may also be asked to conduct a seminar, introducing their work to students and other attendants.

The composer of the selected score will be notified by December 25, 2023. Parts for the winning work must be received by January 10, 2024.

Mark Taggart
Composition Competition Director
NC NewMusic Initiative


For more information on upcoming NC NewMusic Initiative events, please follow us on Facebook (@NewMusicAtECU).

Past Winners

2020: Cory Broday, Nodus Tollens
2019: Yang, Ting-Ting, Portal
2018: Frej Wedlund: Half-light on desolation
2017: Charles Peck, Mosaic
2016: John Costa, Esperanca
2015: Roydon Tse, Three Musings
2014: Michael-Thomas Fumai, Lady Dark
2013: Nicholas Omiccioli, flourishes
2012: Jessica Rudman, Seasonal Affective Disorder
2011: Paul Siskind, Gumption Trap
2010: Ingrid Stölzel, Genius Loci
2009: Chen Yao, Two Poems
2008: Christopher Dietz, Gharra
2007: Lembit Beecher, Don’t Go There
2006: Anthony Iannaccone, Waiting for Sunrise on the Sound


Come hear how new ideas are initiated, and celebrate our 20th ANNUAL EXPLORATION OF THE SOUNDS OF OUR TIME
There are concerts, Master Classes with visiting performers and composers, readings of student composers’ works, receptions, discussions and more!

Follow this link to make a secure donation.

For additional information or to become a sponsor, contact:

East Carolina University School of Music, 252-328-6851, or Edward Jacobs, Founder & Director of the NC NewMusic Initiative, at 252-328-4280