I recently had the opportunity to be on the committee that judged the flute choir portion of the National Flute Association’s Newly Published Music Competition. This competition includes several categories: solo flute, flute and keyboard, flute and guitar, flute and tape, flute choir, and flute plus one to three non-keyboard instruments. It also includes pedagogical works. The only requirements are that the works are published in the past year. It is primarily a competition for the actual publisher (not the composer); to that end, we consider things such as the overall layout of the score, whether page turns are placed reasonably, and the legibility of the score, as well as “music stuff,” such as the way parts are divided and balanced.
It was an interesting experience, and I’m glad I got to take part in it. It’s not every day that you see a score calling for sub-contrabass flute! It also helped me get into the flute choir frame of mind. I will be starting a flute ensemble in the fall, and I’m already searching for music that will work. (Kuhlau, anyone?) I plan to include a lot of traditional, standard ensemble literature but will supplement liberally with new sounds. It will also be a great opportunity for the students to get in some more performance practice!