Call for Jazz Composer Commissions

Deadline: January 5, 2017

The Utah Arts Festival is accepting applications from local jazz composers for the 2017 Utah Arts Festival Jazz Composer Commission.

The Utah Arts Festival Jazz Composer Commission seeks jazz composers residing in Utah to compose a 5-7-minute work for jazz big band, either in contemporary or traditional style. The purpose of the commission is to provide Festival patrons with a unique work that is an outgrowth of the community and supportive of local jazz artists. The chosen composer receives $1,500.

Please read carefully all information below before submitting your application.

2017 Deadlines & Important Dates

  • Thursday, January 5: Application due no later than 5:00 PM
  • Friday, January 13: All participants will be notified of the winner
  • June 22-25: 2017 Utah Arts Festival

The Show

The 41st annual Utah Arts Festival will be held Thursday, June 22, through Sunday, June 25, 2017, at Library Square in downtown Salt Lake City. The 2017 Utah Arts Festival will feature an artist's marketplace, performance on nine stages, an art exhibition, a children's art yard, food and drink from around the world, and much more. Attendance at the Utah Arts Festival averages 80,000. The Utah Arts Festival is presented by the Utah Arts Festival Foundation, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to promoting the arts in Utah. The 2017 Utah Arts Festival will expend more than $200,000 in marketing and advertising and will receive approximately $250,000 in editorial and media coverage.

Selection Process

Jury selections will be based upon materials submitted with the application. The jury will look for professionalism, originality, creativity, and suitability of materials for the Utah Arts Festival.


Submit a one-page biographical sheet and a copy of one score for standard big band (4 or 5 trumpets, 4 trombones, 5 saxes, 4 rhythm section) with an accompanying CD or MP3 recording of the work. Hard copies or PDF files will be accepted, please do not send originals. Recordings must be clearly labeled and contain only the performance of the submitted piece. For the return of materials, composers must include a self-addressed mailer with correct postage.

Online submissions are encouraged, please email . Composers may also use Dropbox by sharing with Henry Wolking at the above email address.

Hard copy submissions will also be accepted, please mail or deliver to:

Jazz Composer Commission
Utah Arts Festival
230 S 500 W, Suite 120
SLC, UT 84105


Submissions must be received by the Utah Arts Festival no later than 5:00 P.M. on Thursday, January 5, 2017.


Accepted performing artists are required to sign a contract with the Utah Arts Festival Foundation, Inc., specifying, among other things, payments, requirements and liability. Accepted performers grant the Festival permission to use submitted materials for archival, publicity, and web site purposes before, during and after the Festival.


The chosen Utah Jazz Composer will receive $1500. The Festival does not pay transportation or housing for local or regional artists. No onsite payments will be made. All checks will be mailed by July 31, 2017.

Information packets detailing all production and setup information will be sent to accepted artists with their contract. Questions regarding the Utah Arts Festival may be directed to Festival offices, (801) 322-2428 or by mail to 230 South 500 West, #120, Salt Lake City UT 84101.


The Utah Arts Festival will be in downtown Salt Lake City at the Library Square and Washington Square (the City & County Buildings). The Festival is a fenced, ticketed event with 24-hour security.

Past Composers

  • 2003 Jazz Composer Commission Dave Chisholm, Lyle Durand
  • 2004 Jazz Composer Commission Brian Booth
  • 2005 Jazz Master Award Larry Smith
  • 2006 Jazz Master Award Lars Yorgason
  • 2007 Jazz Master Award Bob Bailey
  • 2008 Jazz Composer Commission Melanie Shore, Courtney Smith
  • 2009 Jazz Composer Commission Steve Lindeman, Jay Lawrence
  • 2010 Jazz Composer Commission Shannon Roberts, Joe Chisholm
  • 2011 Jazz Composer Commission David Featherstone
  • 2012 Jazz Composer Commission Henry Wolking
  • 2012 Jazz Master Award* Neil Weight
  • 2013 Jazz Composer Commission Russell Schmidt
  • 2014 Jazz Composer Commission Patrick Buie
  • 2015 Jazz Composer Commission Jonathan Campbell
  • 2016 Jazz Composer Commission Kris Johnson

*Awarded concurrently with the Jazz Composer Commission Award.

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