Sankusem is pleased to present its First International Music Composition Competition in 2012. We will be asking composers to submit original music that significantly derives from traditional African music.


The Sankusem International Music Composition Competition is an annual event designed to promote the contemporary ‘Art’ usage of African folk music and dance. The winning compositions are premiered in a high-profile New York venue, performed by professional musicians.

Composers of any age and nationality may apply in one of the following categories.

  1. *Students (currently enrolled in a pre-college or degree program)
  2. Professionals

*Students may be requested to furnish evidence of enrollment.

The 2011/12 distinguished advisory panel will include:

Dr. Sally Singer, Sankusem Artistic Director

Dr. George Francois: Sankusem Executive Director
Rachel Barton Pine: Violinist
Professor Heasook Rhee: Professor: Manhattan School of Music
Professor Kofi Agawu: Professor: Princeton University

To set stylistic boundaries, composer must utilize at least one of the following:
  • Use of one or more traditional African folk melodies
  • Use of any of the African scales
  • Incorporating African instruments
  • Use of African Rhythms     
  • The composition must not have been performed professionally prior to the competition
  • The composition must be unpublished.
  • Artistic merit of the piece
  • African Associations of the piece


Distinguished judges in the field of African music will chosen by the Sankusem Advisory Panel to adjudicate the competition. Sankusem reserves the right to implement the rules and regulations and other details of the competition as needed.

Compositions in any form and style will be considered.  Compositions may be written for classical instrumentation, including solo piano, strings, winds, voice, and percussion. Solo or chamber ensemble works for up to eight players will be accepted. 

Awards Announced: August 31st, 2012

The composers will retain the copyrights to their works.  Sankusem reserves the right to perform, record, publish and market the winning compositions. Sankusem will reserve the rights to the Worldwide Premiere of the winning compositions.

Founded in 2008, Sankusem is a Ghanaian Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) dedicated to promoting the contemporary usage of African Folk Music and Dance.