Vincent C. LaGuardia, Jr. Composition Competition

The Arapahoe Philharmonic is pleased to announce the winner of the 2018-2019 Vincent C. LaGuardia, Jr. Composition Competition, Jack Frerer


Jack Frerer (b. 1995) is an Australian-American composer of music for concert, film and dance, as well as a producer and filmmaker based in Manhattan, currently pursuing a B.M. in Composition at The Juilliard School where he studies with John Corigliano. His work has been performed by a variety of ensembles around Australia, Europe, and the US, and has won awards including a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and competitions including Illinois State University’s Red Note Composition Competition, the Lake George Music Festival Composition Competition, the Alba Rosa Viëtor Composition Competition in Utrecht, the Brian Israel Prize, and both the Juilliard Orchestra and Gena Raps Chamber Music competitions.

As a filmmaker, Jack has created films for institutions including The Juilliard School and Quest Magazine, dancers Marcelo Gomes and Julie Kent, as well as music videos for bands and ensembles. He is a co-creator and producer of The Roof, a collaborative film and performance series he created with dancer Liana Kleinman which features New York-based choreographers and composers.

Mr. Frerer will serve as Composer-in-Residence with the Arapahoe Philharmonic for two seasons, 2018-2019 and 2019-2020. The orchestra will premiere his On-Again, Off-Again, which won the composition competition, and will commission a new work to be premiered during the 2020-2021 season.

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the premiere of Jack’s commissioned work & the culmination of his second residency year with us had to be canceled. We have decided to extend Jack’s residency through the 2020-2021 season so we can premiere the commission and adequately acknowledge his time with the Arapahoe Philharmonic. We intend to hold the next composition competition in spring/summer 2021. Thank you for your understanding.


The Arapahoe Philharmonic of Littleton, Colorado (a Denver suburb), in support of its ongoing mission to recognize young talent in the classical music field, implemented its Vincent C. LaGuardia, Jr. Composition Competition for 2018-2019.

This competition is for student composers under the age of 35 and enrolled in a US-based educational institution, and who are not yet regularly employed in the composition field (see definition below). The winner will be named Composer-in-Residence with the Arapahoe Philharmonic for two seasons. The orchestra will perform the competition-winning composition during a concert season and will commission a new orchestral work to be performed on a date to be released when the next competition opens.?

To qualify, the composition must be no longer than 10 minutes in duration and must be written for an orchestra not to exceed: 3-3-3-3 / 4-3-3-1 / strings, percussion (timpani + 3; standard orchestral equipment only), one piano, one harp. The orchestra reserves the right to substitute/omit percussion equipment it does not own or cannot easily obtain. The composition should not feature a soloist. Short solos from within the ensemble are acceptable.

The T. Gordon Parks Concerto Competition and the Vincent C. LaGuardia, Jr. Conducting Competition alternate annually with this Composition Competition.

If you have questions, please contact the Arapahoe Philharmonic office at 303-781-1892

Entry Submission Requirements and application process

Applicants must submit:

    1. One PDF of a representative composition. This is a blind application process. No name or identifying marks, other than title, should be marked on the score. Optional: An mp3 recording (live or midi) may also be submitted. Include only the title of the work as it appears on the corresponding score.
    2. Online application form.
    3. Scan of ID (driver’s license or passport) to confirm eligibility to apply. Applicants must be citizens of the United States or provide written authorization from applicant’s U.S.-based school (Designated School Official) confirming that the applicant can receive award for composition/commission.
    4. CV, resumé, and/or brief biography of no more than 250 words, including degree(s) and year(s) of completion/anticipated completion. (Degrees do not need to be in music composition.)
    5. List of compositions and premiere performances with artists/ensembles, where applicable.
    6. $50.00 non-refundable application fee.

All applications must be submitted online. Completed submissions will be accepted beginning on dates specified, via the link below. No late or mailed entries will be accepted.


The competition judges will evaluate all eligible applications without exception. Decisions of the judges are final. Applicants will be notified by email of the results no later than July of the year the competition takes place.

Three finalists’ works will be selected to advance to the final round consisting of an open rehearsal/reading of the works. The reading will be open to the public and those in attendance will be invited to vote for their favorite composition. Audience member results will be considered alongside results from the competition judges and orchestra members. Composers of the selected works are invited, but not required, to attend this open rehearsal. The Arapahoe Philharmonic will not provide financial assistance or compensation for travel, lodging or meals to attend the open rehearsal.

Competition Eligibility Rules

  • The Competition is open to composers 35 years of age or younger.
  • Applicant must be a legal resident of the United States or have written authorization from the Designated School Official at his or her U.S.-based school confirming eligibility to accept the cash awards.
  • Applicant should be a student composer, enrolled in a US-based educational institution, and not yet regularly employed in the composition field. For this competition, this means not represented by a major publisher or performed regularly by professional orchestras.
  • Entry into this competition constitutes the contestant?s authorization to use his or her name, photographs and biographical information for publicity purposes.
  • By entering this competition, applicant certifies that all licensing and rights for performance, audio and video recording of the submitted work and commissioned work are legally authorized with no financial liability accruing to the Arapahoe Philharmonic.
  • The Arapahoe Philharmonic reserves the right to dismiss any applicant if his or her application is found to be ineligible or misleading in any way. Such disqualification may be made at any time, up to and including the date of the scheduled performance. A disqualified applicant will forfeit the residency experience and no refund of fees or expenses will be given. The Arapahoe Philharmonic will have sole discretion to award the opportunity to an alternate candidate.
  • Current Arapahoe Philharmonic members and staff, and their immediate families, are not eligible to apply.

The Arapahoe Philharmonic sincerely thanks the Collage Giving Fund for sponsoring the Composition Competition.


Competition Awards

  • The winning candidate will be named Composer-in-Residence with the Arapahoe Philharmonic for two seasons. The winning composition will be performed during a season concert (date to be confirmed). A cash award of $500 will be presented by check at the performance.
  • The Arapahoe Philharmonic will commission a new large-scale orchestral work (approximately 20 minutes in length) to be premiered during a concert season. The AP will provide a $1,500 commission fee for this work.
  • A travel stipend of $500 will be provided to the winner each season to be present for the rehearsals and performance. At the winner’s request, a homestay can be arranged and provided. Every effort will be made to provide winner with ground transportation and some meals, but we cannot guarantee they can be provided.

First Place Winner’s Obligations

  • The First Place winner will be named Composer-in-Residence with the Arapahoe Philharmonic for two concert seasons. An audio and video recording of the composer’s performed works will be made. These recordings become the property of the Arapahoe Philharmonic. The winner will receive a copy of each.
  • The First Place winner is required to attend rehearsals during the concert week involving composer’s works (usually Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m.), in addition to the concert. Performance date of the commissioned work will be mutually agreed upon by Music Director and candidate.
  • A digital photograph of the First Place winner is requested for publicity purposes. The image should be a minimum of 2″ x 3″ at 300 dpi. This photograph must be free of duplication restrictions. Please include a photo credit if one is required.
Jonathan Bingham (prior Composer in Residence) on left and Jason Golden of the Collage Giving Fund that funded Jonathan's winning composition and commission on right


2014-2015 & 2015-2016: Edgar F. Girtain IV

Edgar Girtain is an emerging American composer whose music is frequently performed at universities and concert halls around the world. Hailed by The New York Times as  “immediately captivating,” his work has earned praise for its lyricism, versatility of style, and command of color. He has been commissioned by the New Brunswick Chamber Orchestra, Arapahoe Philharmonic, Sinfonietta NOVA, Voorhees Chapel Choir, and John Rojak of the American Brass Quintet. He holds a B.M. in Music Education and an M.A. in Composition from Rutgers University. Learn more at

2016-2017 & 2017-2018: Jonathan Bingham

Composer Jonathan Bingham is a native of Southampton, New Jersey. He began his composition studies in 2009 under Anthony Randolph at Howard University. Additionally, he studied at the Siena Summer Music Festival in Siena, Italy, where several of his chamber works received their premieres, and at the Chamber Music Institute at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

In 2014, he relocated to New York City and began his graduate studies at New York University’s Steinhardt School under the tutelage of Justin Dello Joio. While there, he composed several works including his String Quartet No. 1 for the JACK Quartet, his “(Untitled)”for the NYU Contemporary Ensemble and his “Episode for Orchestra”, which went on to win the Vincent C. LaGuardia, Jr. Composition Competition.

In addition to his contributions to the concert hall, Mr. Bingham composed the score to the film “Happenstance” by director Jeanette Sears, provided string music for the hip hop song “American Dream” by recording artist Scuzz Ortega and orchestrated for rapper Thee Phantom’s “The Entertainer”, which received a Carnegie Hall debut. He currently resides and continues to compose in New York. Learn more at

  • Episode for Orchestra
  • Dichotomy