Composition Contest

The Washtenaw Community Concert Band is pleased and excited to announce its second Young Michigan Composers Concert Band Composition Contest. This event is open to composers under the age of 30 as of the submission deadline and is intended to encourage and promote the creation of new music for concert band.

The Washtenaw Community Concert Band’s Conductor Emeritus Jerry Robbins, Ed.D., has generously sponsored a cash prize of $2,000 for the declared winner of the event.

To qualify, the composer must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • • be a legal resident of Michigan
  • • be enrolled, as of the submission deadline date, in a public or private high school in Michigan
  • • be enrolled, as of the submission deadline date, in a school/college/university in Michigan
  • • have completed a bachelor’s or higher degree from a Michigan college/university

Composers must not be contractually obligated as an employee or under contract to any publisher or publishers. Composers, otherwise qualified, who self-publish their music are welcome to submit to this contest. The submitted piece cannot be for sale until after the results of the contest have been made known.

We genuinely hope that this event inspires the creation of innovative music for the concert band medium.

Download the full set of rules and application using the links on the right.

Submit your application and send any questions to

Eric P. Szanto

2021 winner:
Eric P. Szanto

Awarded for his composition for concert band titled Asylum Lake. World premiere by the WCCB: May 4, 2023.

In the sixth grade in Livonia, Eric started on violin but was ultimately drawn to the viola. He began piano lessons two years later, taking lessons from an older lady on his street who was the pianist for the local church. She was kind enough to give lessons for free, and without her kindness, Eric doubts he would still be pursuing music today.

Starting in the seventh grade at Emerson Middle School, Eric first made string orchestra arrangements of music that he liked, later sharing original music with his piano teacher. When he was a freshman at Franklin High School, his orchestra teacher programmed his arrangement Huns on the Horizon for a concert. Becoming known at school as a composer, he provided several original pieces and arrangements for various friends' ensembles.

His junior year at Franklin, Eric and a friend created an after-school ensemble that performed their arrangements of film music. He performed in many other ensembles throughout high school. In the school orchestra, he played viola and occasionally piano; in the jazz band he played piano; in marching band he played keyboard in the front ensemble (and occasionally snare drum); and in the pit orchestra he played viola and violin. Outside of school, he was in chamber groups, the Livonia Youth Symphony orchestra, and the Oakland University Honors Orchestra.

During his last two years of high school, Eric studied viola with Dr. Svetlana Tsivinskaya, concertmaster of the Livonia Symphony Orchestra. He started viola lessons relatively late as he had to pay for them himself and lacked transportation. With Dr. Tsivinskaya's excellent teaching and mentorship, he was able to successfully audition for music schools.

Eric is currently attending Western Michigan University pursuing a Bachelor of Music degree in music composition. A variety of his compositions have been performed by student groups, including having his works for large ensembles read by the WMU Wind Symphony and the WMU Symphony Orchestra. He continues to play viola in several chamber groups, often reading the works of other student composers. He is the Vice President-Tech for the Western Student Composer's Alliance, a student organization that organizes student composition showcases and provides professional development opportunities for musicians. In addition to his involvement with chamber and orchestral ensembles on the WMU campus, he performs with the Benzie Area Symphony Orchestra during summers.