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Leo M. Traynor Composition 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 was held in 2022, with entries from nine countries.

The winners of the 12th Leo M. Traynor Composition Competition (2022) are:

  • "equilibrium" by Heather Spence (Audience Prize Winner)

  • "He Came All So Still" by Helder Alves de Oliveira

  • "Resist" by Richard McIntyre

  • "Thorny Roses" by Jean Henderson


Judging was blind, and these final four pieces were performed anonymously at the July 2022 VdGSA Conclave and the winning composers announced after the concert and voting. The Judges for 2022 were David Morris, Rosamund Morley, and Larry Lipkis. The Coaches for the performance were Brent Wissick and David Morris.


Sheet music for all four pieces are available for purchase from the VdGSA store, as part of the series Contemporary Consorts: The Traynor Competition Winners.


For the history of the competition, our Traynor Booklet has details on Traynor Competitions 1989 - 2009.

Composers should download our guide, Composing for the Viola da Gamba

For reference, the rules for the 12th Competition were as follows:


Competition Rules 2022

  1. Submissions are to be:

    • original compositions

    • not previously published or publicly performed

    • for a consort of two to four viols

    • and accessible to intermediate-level amateur players

  2. Electronic submission is required (email link below). The email must contain:​

    • ​the composer's name

    • postal address

    • email address

    • telephone number

    • the title of the piece

  3. Acceptable file formats are Finale, Sibelius, and Dorico. Please keep a copy of your file.

  4. No piece may exceed 5 minutes.

  5. Any style of composition will be considered. All instruments must be viols. Compositions must be technically 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.

  9. 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.

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

Ask questions and submit all entrees to the Traynor Competition Coordinator.

About 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.

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