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The Most Exploitive Composer Competition Ever

Okay, maybe it's not the most exploitive according to some, but something about the International Antonín Dvořák Composition Competition sounds fishy to me.

Let's pretend you're a graduate student attending a music conservatory like me and you happen to see a bunch of brochures and a HUGE poster advertising this competition. Due to your curiosity, you check out the website regarding this competition. Here are the facts.


This Competition pays tribute to the memory of the great composer Antonín Dvořák and his musical achievements, and seeks to discover young and talented composers, raising them to inherit the musical legacy of the great composers. In addition, it seeks to aid the newly discovered composers in terms of compositional-entrusting, recording and concert for their continued development.

Fair enough. Moving on.


A. Steering committee

President : Antonín Dvořák III (Grandson of the composer Antonín Dvořák)

Director : Young Chul, Choi

Deputy Director : Aleš Kaňka

10-12 Steering committee members

B. Judging Committee

Chairman (Junior Group) : Pavel Trojan / Music Composer, Director of the Prague Conservatory.

Chairman (Senior Group) : Ladislav Kubík / Music Composer, Professor of the Florida State University

Everything still looks okay so far. If you're curious, let's pretend said composer is applying in the Senior Category (ages 24-33)


1st Round: Submit 5 copies of a piece along with 1 copy of a CV, 4 copies of an picture for ID purposes, a CD recording, and an application fee receipt. Cost of application = 25 EUR.

25 EUR = 34.07 USD. This doesn't include exchange rates or submitting your material to SEOUL, KOREA.

2nd Round (And here's where things get interesting...): If you pass the 2nd round, you have to fill out the application form (this can be submitted via email), compose one free composition and one variation (for a total of two works) AND pay 125 EUR.

125 EUR = 170.34 USD. This also doesn't include exchange rates.

Grand total so far = 204.41 USD (!)

What do you get out of this?

  • Grand Prize (Antonín Dvořák Award) : Certificate and KCZ 40,000

  • 1st Prize: Certificate and KCZ 30,000

  • 2nd Prize: Certificate and KCZ 20,000

  • 3rd Prize: Certificate and KCZ 10,000

  • Grand prize and first place works will be recited at next year’s opening concert. The performers of this concert will be selected by the competition committee.

I'm a little confused as to why the competition asks you to pay in EUR while its prize money is handed out in KCZ. What is KCZ? It's Czech Koruna. 1 Czech koruna = 0.052249 USD. Okay, so if you're the Grand Prize winner, you get 1567.47 USD. This doesn't include exchange rate OR the pain that you will have converting this currency. Do you think your local bank would be happy with you? I'll put it this way: my sister-in-law had a singing gig in Mexico a few years ago and they paid her in PESOS. The Texas banks did not like this. I hope you get my point. Also, who is playing the grand prize work? Some random performers, as far as I'm concerned. So, to sum up my point, there are exploitive composition competitions out there, but this is not one of them.

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