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This new competition aims to raise the profile of the oboe and bassoon as solo instruments and to inspire talented composers of all ages and backgrounds across the UK and beyond. Two prizes are open to all applicants, and a prize exclusively for under-19s has been created to support budding new talent. Each winner will be commissioned to write a new work to be premiered at a BDRS event in 2022.

See below for the competition overview. The application form and further information is available here.

The competition will close at 23:59 BST on Monday 16 August 2021.


The Howarth of London Open Prize for Oboe Composition
  • A £1000 commission to write a new 8- to 12-minute work for unaccompanied oboe,
  • to be premiered by BDRS Oboe president Nicholas Daniel.
Open Prize for Bassoon Composition
  • A £1000 commission to write a new 8- to 12-minute work for unaccompanied bassoon,
  • to be premiered by Amy Harman, ENO and Aurora Orchestra Principal Bassoon.
The Oboe Shop @ Crowthers – Under-19 Prize for Oboe Composition
  • A £200 commission to write a new work of up to 6 minutes for unaccompanied oboe,
  • to be premiered by Henry Clay, RSNO Principal Cor Anglais, and
  • mentoring from professional composer Cheryl Frances-Hoad.

Each winner will also benefit from consultations with their respective premiere performer during the composition process.

All commissioned works will be published by Emerson Edition Ltd.

We are very grateful to our prize sponsors Howarth of London and The Oboe Shop @ Crowthers.


Joining Cheryl Frances-Hoad, Nicholas Daniel, and Amy Harman on our diverse panel of expert judges are Atéa Wind Quintet and RIOT Ensemble oboist Philip Haworth, and Aarhus Symphony Orchestra Principal Bassoon Justin Sun.

The panel will apply a two-stage judging process. All applicants, including those under 19, will be considered for each of the two open prizes. The only prize that will be restricted to a subset of applicants is the under-19 prize.


The competition is open to any UK resident, any UK national living overseas, any BDRS member (irrespective of nationality or country of residence), and anyone who is currently studying or has previously studied in the UK (irrespective of nationality or current country of residence).

There is no minimum or maximum age limit.

We are keen to achieve as diverse a pool of applicants as possible; therefore, we particularly welcome applications from talented composers whose gender, ethnicity, or background is typically under-represented in the profession.


Applicants should submit a short biography including information on their background, and two works composed in the previous two years to demonstrate their recent or current style. These works should be as relevant as possible, both in scale and instrumentation, to the works to be commissioned. Digital submissions only.


Any queries regarding the competition should be sent to Alison Wathey.