The IMFA composition program provides young composers with mentorship from seasoned teachers who are also active composers, access to talented singers and instrumentalists who are eager to collaborate on composition projects, and time in which to compose.

We believe that collaboration and mentorship are both essential elements in an inspiring, creative environment.

Collaboration: Composition students at IMFA have the opportunity to compose three works to be premiered during the course of the festival:

  • chamber work for one of the following standard chamber groups: violin & piano, viola & piano, cello & piano, string duo, string trio (violin, viola, cello), string quartet (2 violins, viola cello), piano trio, piano quartet, or piano quintet
  • an art song for solo voice and piano
  • an electronic piece (electronics only or electronics plus solo instrument).

Other IMFA participants will be the performers for the new art songs and chamber pieces. Faculty-coached rehearsals for these ensembles help provide opportunities to experiment and to refine ideas.

Composers may submit a previously-composed work for performance consideration at IMFA in lieu of one of the three pieces that they would compose at the festival.


Mentorship: Since enrollment in the composition program is limited, participants receive significant mentorship through individual and group composition lessons each week. Composers also benefit from the availability of the performance faculty, who are eager to help composers refine their musical ideas.

The Duino Prize in Composition

What is it? An additional $750 scholarship and a performance in Duino, Italy, during the 2023 session of IMFA.

Who may apply? Any composition student who plans to attend the 2023 session of IMFA.

What to submit: An original chamber work, not more than 10 minutes, that uses instruments/voices from this list: violin, viola, cello, voice, and/or piano.

Where to submit: Eligible composers may send scores (with recordings, if available) in the application. PDFs and MP3s only, please. Indicate that you are interested in the Duino Prize in the application.

The winner will be announced by May 15, 2023. The prize money is offered as a scholarship in addition to any other scholarship the winner may receive. If no suitable work is submitted, IMFA reserves the right not to award a prize. Questions? Please email [email protected].

A once-in-a-lifetime experience.

—Neil Quillen, composer

IMFA 2017, a composition lesson