2020 Bridges Competition

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ravinia has been forced to cancel all concerts and events that were to occur this summer, including Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute. Accepted fellows and faculty, please check your email for further communication from RSMI.

Applications for Summer 2020 are now closed.
Please check back for application information for 2021.

Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute Program for Jazz is pleased to announce the return of the jazz and classical fusion composition competition Bridges, awarding the David Baker Prize to young artists for new works written for string quartet and jazz trio.

Up to three winners will be selected, and each winner will be awarded a prize of $2,500. Submissions will be juried by the RSMI Program for Jazz directors, pianist Billy Childs, bassist Rufus Reid, and saxophonist Steve Wilson. Winners will have their compositions premiered in Ravinia’s Bennett Gordon Hall Friday, June 5, 2020.

The jury reserves the right not to award a prize if the submissions are not of sufficient quality. The decisions of the jury will be final and binding. By submitting an application, an applicant agrees to the terms and conditions. Venue, date, and time are subject to change at Ravinia’s discretion.

“More important than any one of these single-movement works, however, was the project itself, which accomplished two vital tasks: launching freshly created jazz/classical works (often referred to as Third Stream) and providing a new platform for emerging composers. In coming years, Bridges could serve to generate an ever-expanding repertoire of music for jazz trio and string quartet, a cause that both jazz and classical listeners can applaud.” –Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune 2018 (Read more)


  • Any nationality permitted to submit works for the composition competition
  • Composers must be 18-30 years of age as of June 1, 2020

Composition Guidelines:

  • Pieces submitted must be composed for string quartet (two violins, viola, and cello) and jazz rhythm section (piano, bass, and drums). An additional instrumental melodic part may be included but is not required.
  • Submissions should be 10 minutes long
  • Submissions must include score and all parts- Legibility is a must. Illegible scores/parts will be rejected
  • Submissions must be a new composition that will have its world premiere at Ravinia on Friday, June 5, 2020
  • Recordings of the works are not required, unless the score is notated graphically or in any other unconventional format
  • Each piece should have only its title printed on the cover: the identity of the composer, including address, email, phone number, biography, photograph, and program notes should be submitted separately through the application portal. Please remove composer name from the parts to allow for a completely blind evaluation process.

Submission Requirements:
The following items must be submitted for the competition. All entries must be submitted via Acceptd. Incomplete applications, mailed, or emailed submissions will not be considered.

  • Resume
  • Original Composition (score AND parts- legibility is a factor in acceptance)
  • Acceptable Formats: PDF, JPEG
  • It is the responsibility of the composer to provide Ravinia with files that can be opened. If the composer is unable to supply the requested downloadable and readable files within the time limits detailed above, the entry will be disqualified.
  • A recording of work should be submitted IF the score is notated graphically or in any other unconventional format
  • $50 Application & Administrative Fee. This fee is non-refundable.

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