15th Annual Orchestra Composition Competition


Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been forced to postpone the competition until FALL 2021. Please check back at that time for guidelines and more information!


The judges for the Annual North Carolina New Music Initiative Orchestra Composition Competition are delighted to announce Cory Brodack’s Nodus Tollens as the winning entry for 2019.

Mr. Brodack will visit East Carolina University for the performance of his work on March 7, 2020 by the ECU Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Jorge Richter.

Cory Brodack is a composer, orchestrator, arranger, and copyist from St. Peters, Missouri. He is currently pursuing his master’s studies in composition at Bowling Green State University with Mikel Kuehn. Prior to Bowling Green, he earned his baccalaureate in Music Composition from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, where he studied music composition with Kimberly Archer, and horn with James Wehrman. He has worked for the Municipal Theatre Association of St. Louis (The Muny) on projects such as the first staging of Jerome Robbins’s Broadway since 1989, and a new orchestration of The Wiz during The Muny’s historic centennial season. When not composing, Cory is also a horn performer and educator, as well as a tutor for music theory/aural skills and history.

The composer writes of his work:  “The composition of Nodus Tollens was motivated by a word in John Koenig’s online work, The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. Nodus Tollens alternates between tense anger and frustration and introspective moments of clarity. It represents my confusion and struggle to find where my life’s path is taking me. This struggle may define others’ moments of insecurity as they progress through their lives. The work begins with a solo cello playing over a slowly growing background of rumbling low strings, icy harmonics, and winds echoing the cello’s ideas. The cello’s beginning melodic fragments comprise every piece of the ever-shifting foreground and background of the piece. The rhythmic conversation of two against three is also used as a quasi-anchor, to which sections constantly return before new sections occur. Bits and fragments of ideas float intangibly past the listener, seemingly important at the moment, but appear after the fact to not be important at all. We may be meaningless creations of a dead world, but that does not take away from the importance of self-discovery, and documenting and cataloguing our journey.”

The judges for the 2019 competition were Mark Taggart, Travis Alford, Mark Richardson, 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 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 NewMusic@ecu.edu 252-328-4280