The Viola da Gamba Society of America (VdGSA) sponsors the International Leo M. Traynor Composition Competition for new music for viols every fourth or fifth year. The Society's goal is to stimulate development of a contemporary literature for this remarkable early instrument and thus continue its tradition in modern society. The Tenth Competition ended in the summer of 2013, so the Eleventh Competition will take place in 2017 or 2018, with submissions accepted during the previous year. Watch this page for future dates.

Winning compositions from previous competitions are published by the VdGSA, and can be ordered here.

Composers should download our guide "Composing for the Viola da Gamba". Our Traynor Booklet has details on Traynor Competitions 1989 - 2009.

Competition Rules

1. Submissions are to be original compositions, not previously published or publicly performed, for a consort of three to six viols. Electronic submission to traynorcompetition@vdgsa.org is required. The email must contain the composer's name, postal address, email address, telephone number, and the title of the piece. Sibelius 6 files are preferred; all other formats must be approved in advance of submission. Please keep a copy of your file.

2. No piece may exceed 5 minutes.

3. Any style of composition will be considered. All instruments must be viols.

4. Compositions must be accessible to experienced amateur viol players, as the VdGSA hopes that the music will be played often by its many members.

5. Judging will be blind. Scores will be accepted beginning January 1 of the year ahead of the competition, and must be submitted by October 1 of that year, with the composer's name in the usual places. The secretary will substitute a code before sending the music to the judges.

6. There is no entry fee or age restriction.

7. The judges will be professional players who have had extensive experience playing and teaching contemporary music for the viol. These judges will select up to 4 winners. Each winner will receive a prize of $500. The winning compositions will be performed at the VdGSA 2017 or 2018 summer Conclave in a special concert. Each of the pieces will be played twice on this program and there will be an additional "Audience Prize" of $250. The concert will be recorded and copies of the recording will be given to each of the winners.

8. The VdGSA will publish the winning compositions. Submission constitutes permission to record and publish the winning compositions. Musical rights remain with the composer.

Leo Traynor

This competition is dedicated to the memory of long-time VdGSA member Leo M. Traynor. Mr. Traynor served the United States government in Japan for many years. There he inaugurated the first two international competitions for new viol music which were sponsored by the Viola da Gamba Society of Japan. He regularly played, with much enthusiasm, contemporary music for his instrument, and he inspired others to develop their own tastes for contemporary and living music as well.

For more information, e-mail traynorcompetition@vdgsa.org.