Imagine hearing your music played by the Australian Youth Orchestra at the Sydney Opera House! If you are a budding composer or musician then the Fanfare Competition is an exciting opportunity for you.

The competition is open to young people aged 12-21 years. To enter write a 30 second composition and submit a score and recording online. Eight selected participants will work with mentor composer Nicholas Vines to fully develop their ideas, and have their work pre-recorded by the Australian Youth Orchestra.

The competition is looking for works that have ‘something to say’ and that draw attention. You don’t need to have a strong musical background – your work just needs to draw attention for the intended use of cueing audiences to take their seats at the Sydney Opera House.

To enter the competition entrants should read through the submission details below, select your instruments from the AYO instrumentation list. Complete the online form and upload your score and sound file before 5pm, Monday 23 May 2016 – it’s easy.

Submission Details: 

Age Limit: 12-21 Years (on competition closing date)
Submission Deadline: 5pm, Monday 23 May 2016

Step 1: Write your composition using instruments for the AYO List (below) in Short Score form (send us your score using a few instruments that best suit your composition) and send us your favourite four (4) bars in full orchestration.
Step 2: Read the Terms and Conditions.
Step 3: Complete the Submission Form and upload a score and recording of your work (PDF and MP3 files can be uploaded to your application). If you have composed your work by hand scan your score and create a sound file on an instrument of your choice and upload to your application. Deadline is 5pm, Monday 23 May 2016. Complete the Submission Form.
Step 4: 8 Winning Participants Announced on Friday 3 June 2016
Step 5: Selected composers will participate in two workshop days to refine their compositions with composer Nicholas Vines. The workshops will be held in Sydney on Saturday 9 July and Saturday 13 August 2016.
Step 6: Rehearsal and recording day with Australian Youth Orchestra will be held in Sydney in September (TBC).
Step 7: Works broadcast at the Sydney Opera House

Students if you need help we have created a DIY Guide, check it out!

What is a fanfare?

A fanfare is normally a relatively short piece of music that is typically played by trumpets, cornet, French horns, or other brass instruments, often accompanied by percussion. It is usually intended for important social purposes, such as ceremonial events involving important people or animals, as exclamations of significant activities during an event (such as with introductions and closings), or to precede announcements with the purpose of gaining the attention of the audience. Similarly, musical works themselves often begin, transition, or end with fanfares or fanfare-like themes. The term is also used symbolically, such as to describe occasions that are greatly publicised, even when no music is involved.

Further Listening

Aaron Copland:  Fanfare For The Common Man
Bill Conti: Fanfare For Rocky (Rocky)
Nigel Westlake: Cudmirrah fanfare : for symphony orchestra  (1987)
Liza Lim: Flying banner : full orchestra (2005)

What is a Short Score?

A short score is a reduction of a work for many instruments to just a few staves. Rather than composing directly in full score, many composers work out some type of short score while they are composing and later expand the complete orchestration. Send us your score using 3 or 4 instruments that best suit your composition.

Australian Youth Orchestra Instrumentation

1 flute, 1 oboe, 1 clarinet or saxophone, 1 bassoon, 2 trumpets, 2 french horns, 1 trombone, strings (8 violin 1, 6 violin 2,  4 viola, 3 cello, 2 bass), timpani, percussion (no more than 2 players), electronics or recorded sound. We encourage you to call us if you have any queries regarding instrumentation in particular percussion and electronics (electronics would be accommodated in the final recording process).

Percussion List: 2 bongos, bell tree, bass drum, castanets, snare drum, suspended cymbals (China, standard), glockenspiel, marimba, tambourine, tenor drum, triangle, tom-toms (Please note: 2 players only)

Further information contact Artology:

2016 Fanfare Submission Form
Phone: 02 8007 7322


Teachers why not incorporate the Classroom Activities into your 2016 program?

Artology in partnership with Cool Australia have created a selection of teaching resources to complement classroom learning in support of the competition. Each lesson is mapped to the Australian Curriculum, provides a clear and practical teaching approach, including comprehensive teacher advice. New this year is a Student DIY Guide that breaks down the composition process with short activities and allows students to work independently on their compositions.

<<< Link to Teacher Resources

Here are a set of videos to help you with your composition.

atyp_logoAustralian Theatre for Young People (ATYP) : Mentoring Scholarship

We are pleased to announce that the 2015 Mentorship Scholarship goes to Sam Weller. Sam is currently working with sound designer Steve Francis to create the score for ATYP’s production of The Trolleys. This is the first year of the mentorship program which sees one lucky young composer receive mentoring in sound design for an ATYP production. Working alongside one of the industry’s leading experts in the field, their music is professionally recorded and used for each performance of the season. The winner also receives a $1,000 cash prize and is selected by the judging committee.


Listen to the Fanfares

Do you need inspiration for your fanfare?  Hear the recordings of the 2014 and 2015 finalists.


The Fanfare competition sees the traditional Sydney Opera House cue bells replaced by 30 second fanfares composed by some of Australia’s most talented young musicians aged 12 to 21. The concept was created by London’s Royal Opera House in 2009 and has been brought to Australia by Artology in association with the Sydney Opera House and the Australian Youth Orchestra. The fanfares from the 2015 competition were previewed in March 2015 and will run at the Sydney Opera House until January 2016.   If you are visiting the Sydney Opera House you will hear:

Lachlan Penninkilamp: 4 March – 27 April 2015
Marcus Milton: 28 April – 2 June 2015
Paris Francis: 3 June – 8 July 2015
Josh Belperio: 9 July – 18 August 2015
Alexander Unikowski: 19 August – 29 September 2015
Luca Warburton: 30 September – 10 November 2105
John Rotar: 11 November – 30 December 2105
Yilan Yu: 31 December 2015 – 31 January 2016


An Artology, Sydney Opera House and Australian Youth Orchestra, Project

ARTOLOGY_135               AYO_135

Fanfare. A Learning and Participation project originally created by Royal Opera House, London.


2016 Fanfare Competition
Deadline: 5pm, Monday 23 May 2016


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