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Third Annual Jazz Composition Contest for Women Composers!



Cat Dreams by Nelda Swiggett

Jazz pianist and composer Nelda Swiggett is a Seattle native and University of Washington graduate. She formed her first band, the Room to Move sextet, in 1990, and has since headlined her own group at many of the Northwest’s top jazz venues.

Nelda has recorded four CDs of her original music. Room to Move | No Time for Daydreams (1993) features sextet arrangements for trumpet, tenor and trombone. In 1998, her talent for composition was recognized by an Artist Trust Fellowship funded by the Washington State Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her second release as a leader followed -- Nelda Swiggett Quartet | Hands On (1999). In 2010, Nelda released her third recording -- Nelda Swiggett Trio | This Time (OA2 Records).

“… a stunning project, put together by three imaginative swingers … held together by the highly original mind of Ms. Swiggett.” (JazzTimes)

Nelda’s most recent CD, Blue-Eyed Painted Lady (OA2 Records 2014), features her five-piece band “Stringtet”, a collaboration between her jazz piano trio and veteran Seattle Symphony musicians on viola and cello. Learn more


Honorable Mentions

Follow The Yellow Fish - a little adventure under the sea by Migiwa Miyajima

Migiwa is a multi-talented professional pianist, composer / arranger, producer, and bandleader who has headlined performances in USA and Japan, and has performed with the legendary, multiple Grammy Award-winning Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.

Her original composition "If I Were a Wind of Spring" was recorded by the world-famous saxophonist Steve Wilson during his one-week stint at the Village Vanguard jazz club in 2014. The resulting CD, "Live in New York: The Vanguard Sessions”, was released in 2015. Her most recent work, “Hope for Hope”, was a finalist for the 2015 BMI/Charlie Parker Award. Learn more

photo: Kengo Osaka

Inhale by Gizem Gokoglu

Gizem is a composer and singer from Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. She holds a Master of Music Theory and Composition: Composing for Film & Multimedia from NYU and a Bachelor of Music from Berklee College of Music in Jazz Composition and Performance (Voice).

Gizem received the Quincy Jones Award, attended the Maria Schneider Jazz Composition Seminar Classes, and took part in the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop. Learn more

photo: Dr. Tunc Evcimen


Entries will be accepted from women only.

All entries for the 2015 contest must be a guitar feature.

The winning and honorable mention compositions will be performed and recorded live by the Seattle Women’s Jazz Orchestra with award-winning guitarist Mimi Fox as part of the 2015 Earshot Jazz Festival in Seattle.

The winner of the contest will receive a $400 honorarium and the winning piece will be published by SWOJO or their designated publisher.

New this year! - Honorable Mention will be awarded a $100 honorarium.

This contest was created to encourage the composition and performance of the highest possible quality jazz ensemble literature playable by high school, college and professional bands alike.

** The next contest will be launching in early 2016!

This project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Washington Arts Commission, 4 Culture, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, The Seattle Foundation and Earshot Jazz.

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