About the Contest


The USA International Harp Competition was founded in 1989 by world-renowned harpist and teacher Susann McDonald. The triennial Competition is hosted by the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana. It is considered to be one of the most prestigious competitions in the world.

As part of its mission to promote harp and harp music, the USA International Harp Competition sponsors a Composition Contest that occurs every three years, prior to the performance Competition. Composers are invited to submit new works for solo harp. A distinguished panel of harpists plus one composer select the winning composition.

A $2,000 USD prize is awarded to the winner and the new work becomes part of the 3rd Stage required repertoire for the upcoming performance competition. The work is also performed by the Competition’s First Prize winner on their debut concerts. It is published by Lyon & Healy and made available for purchase on their website, www.harp.com.

Solo harp composition contestants have included composers from Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Denmark, England, Estonia, France, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, USA and Wales.

Check our Rules & Procedures page for information about writing and submitting a composition for the 2018 Contest!

Past Contest Winners

5th Composition Contest - 2015

  • Winning Composition:
    • Sublimation by Jeremiah Siochi (USA)
    • Recording 
  • Finalists and Semi-Finalists:
    • Nuance by Shai Cohen (Israel)
    • Le chant du chat echappe by Nathan Cornelius (USA)
    • stuck. in .magazine. by Monika Dalach (Poland)
    • Sailing on Starlight by Evan Fein (USA)
    • Nightly Monologue II by Karen Keyhani (Iran)
    • Night by Phil Taylor (USA)
    • Sons of Hypnos by Bora Uymaz (Turkey)

The 5th Composition Contest received 114 compositions from 34 countries. During the 10th USA International Harp Competition, the winning composition, Sublimation, was performed by the eight semi-finalists. Mr. Siochi presented his work and seven compositions from the final and semi-final rounds of the Contest were presented and performed by the Peabody Harp studio during a special Composer’s Forum at the 2016 performance competition.

About Jeremiah Siochi:
      Jeremiah Siochi is an American composer and songwriter. Drawing inspiration from the classical tradition as well as jazz and pop, his solo and chamber works engage with the more cerebral aspects of experimental music while being driven by an intensely visceral and melodic undercurrent. While at Duke University, Mr. Siochi studied under composers Stephen Jaffe and Scott Lindroth. His works have been performed by a diverse range of artists at festivals throughout the United States as well as featured on National Public Radio. Although Mr. Siochi works as a software developer by day, at night he continues to write a variety of solo music, songs, and chamber works.

5th Composition Contest Composer's Forum (left to right):  Jasmine Hogan, Thea Kammerling, Melody Swen, Peggy Houng, Susann McDonald [USAIHC Artistic Director], Sonja inglefield [Contest Secretary], Willy postma [Prize sponsor], Jeremiah Siochi [Contest winner].

5th Composition Contest Composer's Forum (left to right):  Jasmine Hogan, Thea Kammerling, Melody Swen, Peggy Houng, Susann McDonald [USAIHC Artistic Director], Sonja inglefield [Contest Secretary], Willy postma [Prize sponsor], Jeremiah Siochi [Contest winner].

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4th Composition Contest - 2012

  • Winning Composition:
    • De l’obscurité II by Benjamin Attahir (France)
    • Recording 
  • Finalists:
    • What is Danced…(and what is not) by Eric Chasalow (USA)
    • Storm’s Morrow by Amit Gilutz (Israel)
    • Chants by Viktor Hartobanu (Germany)
    • Indiana by Andres Izmaylov (Russian Federation)
    • Shindychew Dances by Stephen Taylor (USA)
    • The Curl-up by Alan Thomas (United Kingdom)

The 4th Composition Contest received 81 compositions from 24 countries. During the 9th USA International Harp Competition, the winning composition, De l’obscurité II, was performed by the eight semi-finalists. Benjamin Attahir presented on his winning composition and six works from the final round were presented and performed during a special Composer’s Forum at the 2013 performance competition. 

About Benjamin Attahir
      Composer Benjamin Attahir (b. 1989) studied composition, conducting and violin at the Paris Conservatory.  His works have garnered numerous awards, including being honored as the winner of the Prix SACEM, New International Competition and UNESCO’s International Rostrum of Composers in 2011 and  winning two awards from the Institut de France’s Académie des Beaux-Arts including the Prix Pierre Cardin in 2015. Attahir’s compositions can be heard across the world, including the Orchestre National de France, Tokyo Sinfonietta, Toulouse Chamber Orchestra, and Orchestra Caen.  He has been commissioned throughout the world including for the Lucerne Festival under the leadership of Pierre Boulez,  the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, the Ensemble Intercontemporain (Philharmonie de Paris/Kölner Philharmonie), and the Royal Philharmonic Society in London.

Benjamin Attahir [Contest Winner]

Benjamin Attahir [Contest Winner]

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3rd Composition Contest - 2009

  • Winning Composition:
    • Awakening Stillnesses by Michael Maganuco (USA)
  • Finalists:
    • 2nd Place: Seule by Aurelio Edler-Copes (Brazil/Italy) 
    • 3rd Place: The Pearl Divers by Douglas Gibson (USA)
    • 4th Place: Odyssee by Caroline Lizotte (Canada)
    • 5th Place: Spirit Labyrint by Stephen Yip (Hong Kong)

The 3rd Contest received 70 compositions from 29 countries. At the 2010 USA International Harp Competition, five works from the final round were presented during a special Composer’s Forum.

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2nd Composition Contest - 2006

  • Winning Composition:
    • Huan by Chia-Yu Hsu (Taiwan)

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1st Composition Contest - 2003

  • Winning Compositions:
    • Visions in Twilight by Garrett Byrnes (USA)
    • Despedida by Mischa Zupko (USA)

Jury Members to Date

  • Composers: 
    • Claude Baker
    • David Conte
    • Hannah Lash
    • Anne LeBaron
    • Juan Orrego-Salas
      • Harpists:
        • Bridget Kibbey (USA)
        • Skaila Kanga (Great Britain)
        • Ruth Inglefield (USA) - Chair
        • Katerina Gima (Greece)
        • Alice Giles (Australia)
        • Deborah Fleisher (USA) 
        • Eleanor Fell (USA)
        • Mario Falcao (USA/Portugal)
        • Elaine Christy (USA)
        • Jana Bouskova (Czech Republic)
        • Alexander Bonnet (Netherlands)
        • Milda Agazarian (Russia)
        • Kathy Kienzle (USA)
        • Karen Lindquist (USA)
        • Judy Loman (Canada)
        • Sivan Magen (Israel)
        • Susann McDonald (USA)
        • Lou Anne Neill (USA)
        • Şirin Pancaroğlu (Turkey)
        • Ayako Shinozaki (Japan)
        • Ann Yeung (USA)
        • Naoko Yoshino (Japan)
        • Dan Yu (China)
        • Pingqiu Yue (China)