JEN Young Composer Showcase Guidelines

Applications for the Young Composer Showcase are now OPEN!

View testimonials from previous selected composers at the bottom of this page.


  • Application Forms and Criteria are available online until closed.
  • Awards will be presented at the Annual JEN Conference.
  • Deadline: October 15th 11:59 P.M. EST.
  • Notification to chosen composers as applicable as early as November 1.
  • Previous year’s selected composers are ineligible to participate.
  • Application requires payment of a $25 Application Fee in order to be processed.


Now in its eighth year, the JEN Young Composer Showcase, designed to spotlight young jazz composers, gives students an opportunity to have an original composition recognized and performed at the International level. All entrants will receive written comments from the professional reviewers. A total of 4-6 student compositions will be chosen for performance at the JEN Young Composer Showcase Presentation during the annual conference, with the composers being invited to attend the conference and hear a professional performance of their music. For this event, Alfred Music Publishing will supply appropriate templates in Finale or Sibelius as needed, and may consider any of these compositions for publication, and as such, will contact the composer directly in that regard. 

Current Membership in JEN is required in order to complete the application process. If you are not yet a member, please click here to JOIN JEN prior to attempting to pay the application fee or to complete the application form. 

After preparing your materials to complete the application process and obtaining a current membership in JEN, click below where noted to access the JEN Young Composer Showcase Application Form. 

Participation Rules:

  • The composer must be a current member of JEN to apply, and a fully enrolled student throughout the academic school year at the time of application.
  • Age groups for student entries:
    • Group 1: MS/HS (ages 14 through 18) as of September 1st in the current year application is being made.
    • Group 2: Undergraduate (age 18 and above) as of September 1st, in the year application is being made and enrolled as an undergraduate student for a minimum of six semester hours.
    • Group 3: Graduate (age 21) and above as of September 1st, in the year application is being made and enrolled as a graduate student for a minimum of six semester hours.
    • Group 4: Post-Graduate (age 21-30 as of September 1st, in the year application is being made and has completed graduation from an accredited college or university graduate level music program.
  • Students may enter only one original composition in only one of the categories listed below.
  • JEN reserves the right to use student compositions for publicity and/or display of exemplary work, in print or online.

Composition Categories:

  • Small Instrumental Group (2 to 9 instruments, maximum 6 minutes in length)
  • Large Instrumental Group (10 instruments and above, maximum 6 minutes in length)
  • Instrumental Group with vocal solo (maximum 3.5 minutes in length)
  • Vocal Group (4 - 8 voices a cappella or with rhythm section, maximum 3.5 minutes in length)

Composition Description:

  • Compositions submitted for the Showcase are expected to be in a jazz or jazz-related style.
  • Composition, by definition herein, implies an original work.  (Arrangements of other copyrighted works are not eligible for submission).
  • Instrumentation may be varied, small to large, to include any combination of the following:
  1. 5 Saxophones (AATTB or SATTB – Baritone has the low A.)
  2. 4 Trumpets (Flugelhorns optional choice) 
  3. 4 Trombones (one of which is a bass trombone)
  4. Piano, Bass, Drums and Guitar (standard equipment and amplifiers provided)
  5. 8 Voices (SATB, individually mic’d)
  6. Up to 3 additional Latin Percussionists
  7. Percussion instruments available for use and provided by JEN for the conference performance will include: 1 vibraphone; 1 set of congas; 1 set of timbales
  8. Additional Latin instruments become the responsibility of the composer.

Conference Attendance:

  • Chosen composers will be notified by Mid November or sooner, if possible.
  • Selected works may be performed at the Annual JEN Conference.
  • Composers whose works are selected for performance at the upcoming annual conference are expected to attend. 
    • All travel expenses will be the responsibility of the composer and/or his/her chaperone, when applicable.
    • A travel/housing stipend will be awarded to each selectee based on travel distance.
    • Award selectees under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a chaperone.
    • A complimentary conference pass will be given each selected composer, plus one additional conference pass for the legal chaperone accompanying a student under the age of 18 at conference time.
    • Additional Chaperone Passes may be purchased online under the Registration Tab under Conference Central as needed once accepted.
    • Applicants wishing to bring a spouse will be expected to purchase a Spouse/Partner Registration for the conference and to cover the additional cost of housing for their spouse.

 Preparing your Materials for Submission:

  • Photo: You will be asked to upload a photo of yourself.
    • file size should be under 2.5 mb, to be used on the JEN website and in electronic media.
    • File types accepted include: jpg, gif, and png files 160 pixels wide @ 72 dpi, no larger than 2.5 megabytes. 
    • LABEL your Photo with your User ID (auto-populated on the application form  near the top of your application) followed by your LastNameFirstNameJENSCSPhoto
  • Bio: Prepare a short 50-word bio for upload in a doc or pdf format
    • LABEL your Bio with your User ID (auto-populated on the application form  near the top of your application) followed by your LastNameFirstNameJENSCSBio
  • Score: You will be asked to upload a pdf of your score.
    • File types in any other format cannot be accepted by the system
    • Do NOT upload parts. Parts will be asked for at a later date.
    • LABEL your Score with your User ID (auto-populated on the application form  near the top of your application) followed by your LastNameFirstNameJENSCSScore
  • Audio file: You will be asked to upload an audio file. Files larger than the designated size herein or files submitted in the incorrect file format will NOT upload to the system.
    • File types accepted include: mp3 or m4a
    • File size should be SMALLER THAN 6MB
    • Label your audio files as follows:
    • LABEL your Audio file with your User ID (auto-populated on the application form  near the top of your application) followed by your LastNameFirstNameJENSCSAudio

Submission Details

  • It is highly recommended you prepare your application materials PRIOR to attempting to submit the Young Composer Showcase Application Form in accordance with these Guidelines.
  • Applications must be received online by 12:00 midnight (EDT) October 15th.
  • A $25.00 non-refundable application fee must be paid prior to being able to complete the submission application; This fee should be paid online via: credit or debit card (MC, VISA, AE), or by check and sent by postal service. If paying by check, the mailing must be postmarked no later than September 20th in order to allow time for processing prior to the application deadline. The address where you should send your check will be listed on your receipt, which is sent via email directly to the member email address you have used to log in.

  • Once you have successfully joined the organization as a member and your account is activated and current, you may complete the purchase of the Young Composer Showcase Application Fee by clicking below where noted. 
  • After paying the Application Fee, you may complete the Young Composer Showcase Application Form, again by clicking below where noted.


If you are a current member of JEN, click here to pay the:

Application Fee coming soon! You will be notified when it is active.

Once you have registered above, click here to upload your materials and complete the:

Young Composer Showcase Application Form



2017 JEN Young Composer Showcase Selectees:

  • Aida De Moya, Berklee College of Music
  • Anna Jalkéus, University of North Texas
  • Huei Lam, Berklee College of Music
  • Tobias Meissl, Berklee College of Music
  • Luca Mendoza, L.A. Philharmonic Composer Fellow
  • Chang Su, Univresity of Northern Coloraro

2016 JEN Young Composer Showcase Selectees:

Compositions featured in Louisville, KY were performed by the Socrates Garcia Jazz Orchestra.

  • Mike Conrad, University of Northern Colorado

  • Nacho González Nappa, Berklee School of Music

  • Andrew D. Herring, Shenandoah Conservatory

  • Matt Shugert, Indiana University Jacobs School of Music

2015 JEN Young Composer Showcase Selectees​:

Compositions featured in San Diego, CA. were performed by the Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra

  • Tom Amend, University of Northern Colorado

  • Keith Karns, University of North Texas

  • Chase Morrin, Harvard/New England Conservatory

  • Drew Zaremba, University of North Texas

2014 JEN Young Composer Showcase Recipients:

Compositions featured in Dallas, TX were performed by the University of North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band under the direction of Professor Steve Wiest.

  • Lucas Apostoleris, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

  • C. Tyler Denis, University of Miami Frost School of Music

  • Rafael Piccolotto de Lima, University of Miami Frost School of Music

  • Enrico Bergamini, Berklee College of Music

  • Aaron Hedenstrom, University of North Texas

2013 JEN Young Composer Showcase Selectees​:

Compositions featured in Atlanta, GA were performed by the U.S. Army Blues "Pershing's Own" from Washington, D.C.

  • Jose Gurria-Cardenas, University of Southern California Thornton School of Music

  • Laila Smith, Presidential Scholar in the Arts, San Francisco, CA

  • Carter Brodkorb, Humber Community Music Program, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

  • Dave Stamps, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

2012 JEN Young Composer Showcase Selectees​:

Compositions featured in Louisville, KY were performed by the Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra from Washington, D.C.

  • Socrates Garcia, University of Northern Colorado

  • Brett McDonald, Rutgers University

  • Emily Merrell, University of North Texas

  • Tyler Mire, University of North Texas

  • Chase Morrin, Harvard University/New England Conservatory

  • Kate Skinner, University of Northern Colorado

2011 JEN Young Composer Showcase Selectees​: 

Compositions featured in 2011 were performed by the University of North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band under the direction of Professor Steve Wiest.

  • Sarah Kervin, University of North Texas

  • Dan White, The Ohio State University

  • Laila Smith, Marin School of the Arts, 10th Grade

  • Adam Bartczak, University of Northern Colorado

  • Kevin Swaim, University of North Texas

  • Scott Ninmer, University of Illinois at Champagne-Urbana

Testimonials from Previous Recipients

“Having the opportunity to perform an original composition at the JEN Conference with such phenomenal artists from the Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra was an amazing honor and privilege for me. It was also such a pleasure to meet and talk with all of the other brilliant young composers featured at the Showcase, and to hear their inspiring work. I am personally very passionate about jazz education and am thrilled with the work JEN is doing to keep the music alive. I can’t wait to see this fantastic organization continue to grow–we can all expect great things from JEN!”
 –Emily Merrell, 2012 Recipient


“Being a part of the JEN Composition Showcase really helped broaden my scope as an arranger and composer. In addition to having a great band perform my work, I was able to hear students from all over the country play and perform their own original music. It was a great experience and very inspiring. It gave me the confidence to work on my own big band project.”
–Tyler Mire, 2012 Recipient


“As a composer, JEN’s Student Composition Showcase gave me the opportunity to have my music performed by outstanding musicians before a knowledgeable audience, which allowed me artistic freedom to explore music without restricting my creative process. It was a blast! The JEN Conference is a great place to interact with the best musicians in the jazz world, offering a great environment for professional networking. Furthermore, it is an amazing place to see remarkable concerts and clinics. These aspects make the JEN, undoubtedly, the most important event for jazz educators.”
–Dr. Socrates Garcia, 2012 Recipient


“My experience with the JEN Composition Showcase was encouraging, supportive, and inspiring from beginning to end. The highly individualized feedback I received was influential in improving my composition skills and hearing my music performed by incredible jazz musicians at the showcase was a very special and exciting moment in my career. It was a true highlight in my progression as a composer.”
-Kate Skinner, 2012 Recipient


“It was an honor to have my music critiqued by some of my idols in the jazz composition idiom. In addition, having members of the Alan Baylock Jazz Orchestra perform my music was surreal–many of the performers I had listened to obsessively on some of my favorite recordings.”
–Brett McDonald, 2012 Recipient