undefinedTwo Violins

In an initiative to celebrate the 90th anniversary of our formation and to further our engagement supporting young musicians, we are delighted to invite composers aged up to 25 from across the UK to compose a new work for string quartet, to be performed by the Coull Quartet.

A shortlist of entries will be put to a panel of judges, to include: Judith Weir (Master of the Queen’s Music), the Coull Quartet and Peter Hewitt (Chief Executive, Benslow Music Trust).  Two winners will be announced, one for each of the two age categories.

The winning work(s) will then be premiered by the Coull Quartet on Friday 1 November 2019 at Benslow Music in Hitchin as part of our International Concert Series.

Award Rules

  • Entry is open to all UK residents aged up to 25 at the time entry closes.
  • There are two categories for the awards as follows:
    • 18 years and under on the date of submission
    • 19 - 25 years on the date of submission
  • Employees and close family members of Benslow Music Trust and their close relatives are not eligible to enter. Proof of age, identity and eligibility may be requested.
  • The composition should be between 3 and 4 minutes' duration.



  • Entrants must register their interest in entering the award by emailing info@benslowmusic.org by 5.00pm on Friday 2 November 2018 stating which age category they wish to enter.
  • Entrants should send one hard copy of the score in an A4 format and parts (preferably produced on computerised publishing software) to Music Administrator, Benslow Music Trust, Benslow Lane, Hitchin, SG4 9RB and one electronic copy of the score and parts (preferably in PDF format) by email to info@benslowmusic.org.
  • Completed work and application form (see right hand side of this page) should be received no later than 5.00pm on Monday 3 December 2018. Entries received after the deadline will not be considered.


Judging Criteria

The shortlisted entrants will be judged on the following criteria:

  • Accessibility (technically) to amateur, as well as professional, performers
  • Originality of composition fused with an awareness of the Coull Quartet’s style


Selection Process

  • A shortlist of up to 8 entrants will be chosen by a member of Benslow Music Trust and a professional composer.
  • The judging panel is unable to give feedback to unsuccessful applicants.
  • The shortlist of entries will then be put to our Competition Jury in February 2019, to include: Judith Weir (Master of the Queen’s Music), the Coull Quartet and Peter Hewitt (Chief Executive of Benslow Music Trust).  Two winners will be announced, one for each of the two age categories.
  • Benslow Music Trust’s selection of the winners is final and no correspondence will be entered into.


The Prize

  • The prize offered is a public performance of the winning compositions on Friday 1 November 2019 as part of our International Concert Series at Benslow Music in Hitchin.
  • The winner will also receive a complimentary place on a Benslow Music Trust residential music courses of their choice.
  • The winner will receive a complimentary set of tickets to this concert for themselves and up to two members of their family/friends.


Copyright and Permissions

  • By submitting your composition, you grant Benslow Music Trust, it’s Members and the Coull Quartet, free of charge, permission to perform the material and to hold a copy in the Benslow Music Library.
  • Copyright in your composition will remain with you after the premiere. You can continue to use the material in any way you wish and you can also permit others to use the material
  • All entries, including composers' details, may be used in publicity campaigns post award. Photographs of winning entries may also be used in publicity campaigns.
  • Any competitor under the age of 18 who attends a public performance must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • Benslow Music Trust reserves the right to:
    • Cancel or adapt the award
    • Vary or change the prizes
    • Disqualify any entrant who breaches the rules or who commits a fraud, at any stage, if in their opinion it is deemed necessary or if circumstances arise outside its control.
  • The promoter of the award is Benslow Music Trust.
  • Entrants will be deemed to have accepted these rules and agree to be bound by them by entering the award.
  • This competition is intended as an educational project and preference will be given to those who have not yet embarked on a professional career.