AGBU Sayat Nova International Composition Competition Now Accepting Submissions

The deadline to submit to the 2014 Sayat Nova International Composition Competition is fast approaching and composers worldwide are invited to submit their work. The competition is designed to introduce Armenian traditions to a wider audience. This year, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the competition asks contestants to include in their pieces the poetry of Daniel Varoujan, one of the first victims of the genocide.

2014 Sayat Nova International Composition Competition
2014 Sayat Nova International Composition Competition

The Sayat Nova International Composition Competition winners are eligible to receive two awards in addition to cash prizes: the AGBU Carnegie Hall Award and the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra (APO) Award. The winner of the AGBU Carnegie Hall Award will have his or her piece premiered at the annual AGBU Performing Artists in Concert at the Weill Recital Hall in December 2015. The winner of the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra’s (APO) Award will be commissioned to write a 10-minute piece to be premiered by the APO during the 2016/17 season. Contestants will showcase their work at a gala concert scheduled to take place at Symphony Space in New York in March 2015.

For the first time, the Sayat Nova International Composition Competition will be partnering with Vox Novus, which has developed the software for the competition. Vox Novus is a collective of composers, musicians, and music enthusiasts who create, produce, and promote today’s new music and make it known to a larger audience.

In previous years, contestants have submitted compositions for an ensemble of Armenian and Western instruments that have integrated the poetry of 18th-century Armenian poet Sayat Nova. Since the start of the competition in 2006, applications have arrived from Ghana, Mexico, Russia, and Korea in addition to Armenia, Europe, and the United States. In 2012, the gala concert was held at Salle Cortot in Paris and was attended by 400 guests, including prominent figures from the international musical and political communities.

Submission requirements: Contestants must be born after Dec. 1, 1974 and submit a 7-10-minute composition for a chamber ensemble that includes four musicians (three instrumentalists: one pianist, one cellist, and one duduk player) and one female vocal mezzo-soprano (spoken and/or sung). The piece must also include one quotation, in any form, from a text by Daniel Varoujan in Armenian or in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, or Russian translation.

Submissions to the competition will be accepted online until Nov. 28, 2014, and judged by an international panel of composers and musicians.

For more information about the Sayat Nova International Composition Competition, visit

Established in 1906, the AGBU is the world’s largest non-profit Armenian organization. Headquartered in New York City, the AGBU preserves and promotes the Armenian identity and heritage through educational, cultural, and humanitarian programs, annually touching the lives of some 400,000 Armenians around the world. For more information, visit

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