Iron Composer: An Instant Composition Contest

Iron Composer is an instant composition contest.

Five composers are invited to compete in person. On the morning of the event, the finalists are assigned an instrumentation and a secret musical ingredient. They have just five hours to write a piece of music that incorporates those two elements. Their work is then performed and judged on a public concert that same evening.

ANALOG arts established Iron Composer in 2007. In 2009, they relocated the contest from Omaha to Cleveland, where it has been hosted by Baldwin-Wallace College ever since. WCLV 104.9 FM broadcasts every competition live to its broad audience in Northeast Ohio, and people from around the world can tune into the simulcast on WCLV.or.

The original idea for Iron Composer came from Lucky Mosko’s composition workshops at CalArts where composers were just as likely to get a bag of carrots as a secret musical ingredient as they were a motif.