Leo M. Traynor Competition

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 12th Competition will be during 2022.

  • Submissions will be accepted between January 1, 2021 and October 1, 2021.
  • The winning compositions will be announced and performed at the July 2022 VdGSA Conclave.

Winning compositions from all previous competitions are published by the VdGSA (after the competition is completed), 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,
    • and accessible to intermediate-level amateur players.
  2. 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.
    Acceptable file formats will be listed here nearer the opening of the next competition. Please keep a copy of your file.
  3. No piece may exceed 5 minutes.
  4. Any style of composition will be considered. All instruments must be viols.
  5. Compositions must be accessible to experienced amateur viol players, as the VdGSA hopes that the music will be played often by its many members.
  6. Judging will be blind. Scores will be accepted beginning January 1 in the year preceding the contest, and the deadline is October 1 of that same year, with the composer's name in the usual places in the score. A code will be substituted for the composer's name before sending the music to the judges.
  7. There is no entry fee or age restriction.
  8. 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 in a special concert at the VdGSA Conclave of the competition year. 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.
  9. 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.