This event has now been closed.

This Orchestration Challenge ran from 15 July through to 19 August, 2018. The entries of the following participants have been archived in the playlist embedded above:

Website Subscriber Entrants:
A – Arne Bremer, Erio Daja, George Owen, Jeremy Cullen, & Jerry Engelbach
B – Jorge Isaac Merla Hernandez, Juan María Gómez, Lorenzo Dari, Louis Chopinet, & Luke
C – Miranda Olsén, Rob Kelly Melbourne, Jorge Vidales, Samuel Labreque, Sebastian Maczek, & Васил Любомиров Бележков
D – Aidan Gold, Alexander Alden, Alex Kindel, BDR, & Brian LaGuardia
E – Cheaun Gleason, Daniel Buckley, James Watson, & Julian Kusch
F – Lazi Ilir Dange, Miriam Nussbaum, Nicholas Uhlig, & Wesley Lao

Patreon Supporter Entrants:
Minim: Alberto Di Priolo, J.Jay Berthume, & Oscar Jenkins-Wing
Semibreve: Carrie Robles, Grigoriy Losenkov, Klaus Ferretti, Ruurt Wiegant, Shane Dulemba, & Stephen Ian Savage
Breve: Christian Hendricks, David Nedwek, David Rouillard, Jaap Cramer, Johnny Kittle, Thibault Luginbuhl, & Zachary Niswender
Dotted Breve/Longa: Craig Hunter, Charles Burns, Douglas Wagoner, Justin Traywick, Russell Plows, & Matthias Manzke

The Challenge: to orchestrate an excerpt from “With Drums and Pipes” from the piano suite “Out of Doors” by Béla Bartók.

Participation: open to all Patreon supporters and Orchestration Online website subscribers.

Special note: as this work is still under copyright in the USA, some entrants’ evaluations will be released via unlisted videos – others will be shared publicly on YouTube. Any participant may share a PDF of their orchestration on Facebook for community feedback.

After the deadline, Thomas Goss will release a public video featuring in-depth analysis of his own orchestration of the Bartók piece.


  • arrange for orchestra of maximum size and similar instrumentation to Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra: 3333 winds, 4331 brass, timpani, 3 percussion, 2 harps, strings.
  • Restriction 1: timpani should consist of standard set of 4 kettles to be played by one player.
  • Restriction 2: percussion, brass auxiliaries (like cimbasso), and wind auxiliaries (like English horn) must be limited to those in common concert music usage during Bartók’s lifetime. So no taiko drums, bass flute in C, or contrabass clarinets for instance.
  • Suggestion: don’t feel limited to transcribing every note at the exact same pitch and octave as the piano score. I sure didn’t orchestrate it that way.
  • Use the official Orchestration Challenge Entry Form to submit your entry. Sibelius users should submit .sib files. All other notation platforms submit a PDF and an audio mockup mp3. See the form for more details.
  • Landscape format to screen dimensions very welcome. A page size of 420mm High X 747mm Wide (inches?) is the perfect size. Remember that I’ll be evaluating your entry on screen.
  • Use a staff size of at least 5.1mm. Very small staves will be hard for me to evaluate, not to mention for my viewers to watch.
  • Please do not have a separate staff for every wind and brass instrument. Double up or triple up winds and brass like a standard published score, unless some parts are too complex. This will keep your staff sizes larger.
  • No evaluations on revisions. I will only have time to give advice on the first version of each score submitted.
  • Only one score per entrant.
  • Submittal Deadline: 11:59 p.m. PDT August 19, 2018 FIRM.

Website Subscriber Entries

  • Entrants must be subscribers to the Orchestration Online website, which includes a newsletter announcing releases of videos, blog posts, and courses. There is no charge for subscribing.
  • Entries may be any length for your own improvement of craft, but website subscriber evaluations will only be given up to bar 21.
  • Participants may post entries at any time before the 19 August deadline, but Thomas’s feedback period closes after 31 August.
  • Entries will be archived on the website as a playlist for future reference, as with previous orchestration challenges.

Patreon Supporter Entries

  • Sibelius/MusicXML orchestral template with embedded piano part for copying/pasting/rearranging.
  • Patreon-only video evaluations posted by late August according to the categories below…
  • Minim Level: evaluations offered up to bar 21 (Figure A).
  • Semibreve Level: evaluations offered up to bar 40 (Figure B).
  • Breve Level: evaluations offered up to bar 67 (Figure C).
  • Dotted Breve & Longa Levels: evaluations offered for the entire movement.
  • Video evaluations may be publicly released and/or archived on the Orchestration Online website with permission of entrants (see form).


Out of Doors score
Out of Doors music with score
Orchestration Online on Facebook
Orchestration Online on Patreon