The Challenge: to orchestrate an excerpt from Beethoven’s Sonata no. 24 in F-sharp.

Participation: open to all Patreon supporters and Orchestration Online website subscribers (website subscription is entirely free of charge). Website subscribers are invited to orchestrate the first section of Movement 1. Patreon supporters may orchestrate an excerpt from either movement – see below.

After the deadline, Thomas Goss will release a series of videos featuring in-depth analysis of his own orchestration of the entire sonata.

Patreon supporters, please stay at the level at which you’re submitting your entry for two full months, thanks!

Helpful Videos:

Full Playlist of 2023 Orchestration Challenge Videos

The playlist above includes:

  • The official YouTube announcement video, with a little advice about the material
  • The official piano score + audio performance by Spencer Myer
  • Beethoven Sonata Pitfalls – a list of possible difficulties of orchestration and interpretation to watch out for
  • Orchestration Challenge Guide – full details covering the entry process
  • Videos for study of Beethoven’s orchestral music, with full scores+audio


  • Maximum orchestra: 3333 4331 timpani, 3 percussion, celesta, harp, strings. (You don’t have to use all these instruments in arranging this work).
  • Template orchestra: 3223 (piccolo and contrabassoon included) 4230 timpani, 3 percussion, strings
  • Restriction 1: No Harp/Celesta Concertos! Filigree, decoration, support only. Copy/pasting the piano part onto the harp part is NOT orchestration! These instruments are very soft in volume. You won’t be able to hear them in a loud and/or complex texture, except for glissandos or with careful balancing.
  • Restriction 2: Try not to go overboard with woodwind auxiliaries. One player doubling per family of instruments is probably the best approach. Saxophone is also accepted. But keep the winds traditional if scoring in an early 19th-century style.
  • Restriction 3: NO SEPARATE STAVES for individual brass and wind instruments. Double/triple up winds and brass like a standard published score, unless some parts are too complex. When you give me a separate staff for all three flutes, all three oboes, etc. then it makes your staff size tiny and very hard to demonstrate on screen to other entrants.
  • USE REHEARSAL MARKS IN THE AUDIO/SCORE VIDEO AND TEMPLATES (if you are supporting on Patreon and going past bar 15 of Movement 1)!
  • Suggestion: don’t feel limited to transcribing every note at the exact same pitch/register as the piano score. Adapt as needed, especially where the hands spread far apart.
  • Format: Screen dimensions very welcome, as your entry will be evaluated on-screen. 747mm W X 420mm H (29.41” X 16.54” in.) is perfect. Minimum staff size should be 5.1mm (.20” in.). Very small staff sizes are hard to evaluate and impossible for viewers to read.


  • Concert scoring approaches – normal-sized time signatures, not necessary to have boxed numbers on every bar.
  • Transposing scores are a lot easier for me to read.
  • CORRECT YOUR CLEFS IF YOU ORIGINALLY SCORED IN CONCERT PITCH! (like horns in bass clef, violas in treble clef, etc.)
  • Separate single lines for unpitched percussion is easier to present and evaluate on screen for me.
  • Remove source piano staves once your entry is complete.


  • 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. Please, no XML files!
  • Always ZIP your entries! No .rar, .tar, etc. Entry form will not work correctly without zipped files!
  • Only one score per entrant. I will not be able to give evaluations on revisions.
  • Submittal Deadline: MIDNIGHT PDT, SEPTEMBER 2, 2023 FIRM.

Website Subscriber Entries:

  • Filename format: “2023 Orchestration Challenge Your Name”
  • 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 the end of bar 15 from Movement 1.
  • Participants may share entries at any time on social media for community feedback, but Thomas’s feedback period closes after 30 October 2023.
  • Entries will be archived on the website as a playlist for future reference, as with previous orchestration challenges.
  • Link to Sibelius/MusicXML orchestral template with embedded piano part, and piano score for first 15 bars of Movement 1.

Patreon Supporter Entries:

  • Filename format: “2023 Orchestration Challenge Movement _ Your Name”
  • Orchestral and piano score templates in Sibelius Ultimate, Sibelius 7.5, and MusicXML formats provided in Patreon announcement.
  • Patreon supporters may submit entries from either movement.
  • Video evaluations posted for each individual entry according to the categories below. Sections delineated by rehearsal numbers in the template.
  • Minim Level: section A (Movt. 1) or AA (Movt. 2).
  • Semibreve Level: A and B or AA and BB.
  • New Dotted Semibreve Level: A through C or AA through CC.
  • Breve Level: A through D or AA through DD.
  • Dotted Breve & Longa Levels: either complete movement.
  • New Dotted Longa Level (limited to 8 participants!): the entire two-movement sonata. Submit movements in separate files. Please do not upgrade to this level unless you seriously have the time and the energy, thanks!
  • Please, no additional orchestrations of alternate approaches to repeated sections. I won’t have time to evaluate twice the length of material. Thanks!


Beethoven Piano Sonata no. 24 on IMSLP

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