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Announcing the OUBB Composition Competition

Are you an aspiring student composer? Looking for an inspirational brief? Wanting to trial new works with a full-size ensemble at your disposal?

Oxford University Brass Band has the opportunity for you! This year, OUBB is delighted to announce its first-ever student composition competition.With just shy of a month to go until the closing date we are bringing this exciting contest to the attention of all of you OPUS-reading OUMS members out there who wouldn’t want to miss out.

Following OUBB’s unprecedented UniBrass Championships success in February - winning the Shield section, most entertaining band, and best student conductor (Alice Knight) – the momentum is not ending for OUMS’ non-auditioned brass and percussion ensemble. To develop our repertoire for the incoming academic year, we are envisaging a programme themed around travel and public transport.

For this, we are holding a competition to find a new work between 2 and 4 minutes in length that would work with this theme. Ideally, this would be a solo feature with band accompaniment for one of the following instruments: soprano cornet, cornet, Eb horn, euphonium, trombone, Eb tuba or Bb tuba. This work would then be performed throughout the year at concerts and in our 2024 UniBrass programme, reaching over one thousand people through our audiences and social media promotion.

While we are hoping for an inspiring piece of music that will help the band develop and diversify our library of music, we also hope to create a composer-in-residence role to nurture new student talent. Throughout the academic year, all of OUBB’s players and conductor will be on hand to trial any works or ideas the chosen composer has. Whether it be for soloist, ensemble, or whole band, OUBB will be there to try it out! There is also great potential for mentorship and developing connections with other figures in the brass band community, and we are excited to shape the role around the composer’s needs and interests.

So how can you apply?

Full details can be found on our information sheet ( ) highlighting all of the relevant dates, eligibility criteria and application format. Crucially, it also contains links to guides on what a brass band is, examples of University band performances, and how to write for the ensemble. We recognise the wealth of musical talent in Oxford that resides among its many orchestras and other ensembles, and we also know that a traditional brass band such as ourselves is slightly niche! Therefore, we actively encourage those who have never written for brass band before to apply. If any further help or guidance is required, we are also more than happy to answer questions via our social media accounts, or through emailing our conductor Alice Knight (

There are a few weeks of September left, so what are you waiting for? Happy composing, and we can’t wait to hear what you can do!



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