NEC Intercultural Institute Competition

The NEC Intercultural Institute Competition is an annual competition recognizing students who have pursued the music of another culture in either composition or scholarship. 

The competition will have two prizes: $1,000 for a paper and another $1,000 for a composition. Composers and writers can team up (see below). The winners will have their work presented at the concluding event of the Intercultural Institute series in April. 



  • Students must attend two Intercultural Institute (ICI) events/workshops to qualify to enter the competition. There will be a sign-in sheet at the ICI events for those who want to participate in the competition. 
  • The competition is open to all majors on the graduate and undergraduate levels.

*Past winners of the Prize may not reapply


Upcoming Intercultural Institute Events/Workshops:


Guidelines for submissions: 

Deadline: March 25, 2024

The applications must include: 

  • A completed original composition or essay in response to a non-Western music tradition music they encountered at one of the ICI events/workshops they attended. Early European repertoires are also represented on the Intercultural Institute schedule, and student work on those repertoires is also eligible. 
  • Papers can address any historical or musicological issue about the chosen music tradition. They need to be no shorter than 2500 words and no longer than 3000 words. 
  • Compositions do not have to incorporate the instruments typically used in their chosen music tradition. Instrumentation can be entirely composed of contemporary Western instruments. It is up to the composer to decide how to best represent their chosen tradition in their composition. Compositions must be at least 5 minutes and at most 7 minutes. We recommend that composers avoid designing their compositions for large ensembles since, if selected, they will be responsible for assembling an ensemble for their composition to be performed at the end of the year (see below). The minimum required instrumentation is a duet—solo pieces will not be accepted. 
  • While the competition will have two prizes, it is possible for composers and writers to team up and address the same tradition/style. If a single individual chooses to present both a piece of scholarship and a composition based on the same tradition, they are potentially eligible to be selected in both categories and will receive both prizes. 

Further questions can be addressed to Dr. Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol,

Submit all applications to Dr. Sanlıkol at the same address.



There will be a panel composed of three judges**, and the selection of winners is based on the following factors: 

1. In-depth representation of the chosen music tradition 

2. This competition focuses on intercultural understanding. Quick flashes need not apply. Unique musical qualities of the chosen tradition must be reflected in your paper or composition. 

3. What we are looking for is depth and vitality. 


Awarding of the selected paper/composition:

The top paper and composition will be read/performed at the final Intercultural Institute event of the year (most likely in April). The awarding of the prizes will take place at this event*. 


*If no strong contender exists in a category, we reserve the right not to confer an award. 

**Subject to change