I am wondering about the etiquette of reapplying for something in which you weren’t successful before. A few years ago I applied for a composition commission and received Honorable Mention. I was happy with the recognition but now that the commission opportunity is coming up again, I’d like to reapply.

The problem is this: the way that the competition is structured, I don’t really have any new material to send them. What I’d be sending would be, with maybe one exception, exactly what I sent in before. The judge panel seems to rotate annually, but am I “honor bound” to send in new works? Or, if They didn’t like me well enough the first time, would they like the same pieces another time?

If it was a festival performance, I wouldn’t think twice about sending the same works. Since this is a small portfolio evaluation and the portfolio is to be constructed of specific kinds of pieces, I’m afraid I’ll be bounced because I’m essentially selling the same goods they weren’t buying in the first place.

Any thoughts from you, oh Wise and Learned Internet?

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  1. Steve
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I’d share your concern, except for one thing: you don’t have anything to lose! Who could be expected to have sat around composing a whole new portfolio of stuff in the interim? And you might have been beat out by only a hair’s-breadth last time; you may be the hottest thing going this outing. If you don’t get selected again, no big skin off your nose; bid them a fond adieu and get on with it!

  2. Daniel
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    “but am I ‘honor bound’ to send in new works?” I think your chances of the piece being being screened and disqual’ed by an administrator (not judges) are higher, than the judges actually seeing the music. My $.03.

  3. Posted February 2, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I say send the same stuff. As you say the judges change and perhaps what they are looking for now has changed. I wouldn’t say you are honor bound to send new pieces. I think that is a trap with competitions. We can’t write a new piece for every competition and if we did…well, we probably wouldn’t win anyway. If you don’t have anything new, what could it hurt to just try again with the same stuff?

  4. Posted February 2, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m onboard with the previous comments, not only b/c I agree but also b/c I’ve done the same thing myself. I send new works as I have them, but especially for contests & commissions that seem to come in with “unreasonable” postmark dates (i.e., I get an email on 2/1 with a deadline of 2/15) I feel that sending last year’s work is perfectly acceptable. If the judges &/or administrators don’t like it, they’ll let me know by either disqualification or simply by my not winning. Face it: you’ll have a better chance of winning with a previous portfolio than you will by not sending anything at all.

  5. Joe Eidson
    Posted February 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Send the same stuff again, and you don’t have any duty to them to send new works. I am sending in the same piece to an annual contest until it wins or I have a live recording of a better piece – you won’t win if you don’t apply!

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