The Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon, Chicago, IL

To celebrate Olmsted’s legacy, the National Association for Olmsted Parks (NAOP) and Olmsted 200 are sponsoring a carillon composition competition, Inspired by Olmsted. Carillonneurs around the country are encouraged to play the winning compositions throughout the 2022 anniversary year, especially in cities with prominent Olmsted designs.

Contest Eligibility and Submission Requirements:

  • Anyone in North America (except members of the jury and their immediate family members) may enter a composition without restriction.
  • Each composer may submit only one composition.
  • Compositions must be:
    • Original (not arrangements or transcriptions of existing  works),
    • 5-10 minutes in length when performed, and
    • Playable by a solo carillonneur on a four-octave carillon: 48 bells (c, d, … chromatic to c4 with low C# omitted), with a 2-octave pedalboard (c, d, … chromatic to c2). Notating bells outside of this range is permitted provided that substitutions are given in the 48-bell range. 
  • Compositions should be inspired by and/or address the life and legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted, author, journalist, city planner, public official, and father of landscape architecture. Before submission, entrants should familiarize themselves with the work of Olmsted and the Olmsted firm including the bibliography and other resources on the NAOP website,
  • Compositions should be submitted via email to Dede Petri, President & CEO of NAOP ( The submission email should contain the subject line “OLMSTED 200 CARILLON COMPOSITION ENTRY” and should attach two files: the composition itself without any identifying information (such as composer’s name), and a separate file with contact information. 
    • Submissions will be anonymized for the jury. 
  • Compositions are due July 1, 2021.
  • Compositions that have already been performed or published are ineligible. Public performance of any winning composition prior to 2022 will be grounds for disqualification.

Contest Prizes and Performances:

The jury will award one prize and may award up to three prizes.

  • First Prize will be $1,500 to the composer, a premier at Bok Tower Gardens, and subsequent performances at the Washington National Cathedral and the University of Chicago (GCNA 2022 Congress).
  • Second Prize will be $1,000 to the composer, a premier at Bok Tower, and subsequent performances at the Washington National Cathedral and the University of Chicago (GCNA 2022 Congress).
  • Third Prize (if awarded) will be $500 to the composer and a premier at the University of Chicago (GCNA 2022 Congress).

Compositions that do not win a prize will remain property of the composer. Prize-winning compositions will be posted on the Olmsted 200, NAOP, and Guild of Carillonneurs in North America websites. The NAOP will encourage carillonneurs to play the prize-winning compositions (free of charge) through the end of 2023. After 2023, rights to the prize-winning compositions will return to the composers.


The following will serve as jurors in this contest: Edward Nassor, Julianne Vanden Wyngaard, Lynnli Wang, Jeff Davis, and Rosemarie Murane designated by NAOP.

The jury will evaluate submissions on criteria, including:

  • Effectiveness on the carillon,
  • Playability,
  • Originality, 
  • Evocation of the theme, and 
  • General musical interest.

To preserve anonymity of the composers, composers are asked to refrain from contacting, directly or indirectly, any members of the jury. Questions may be directed to Dede Petri, Communication with any member of the jury regarding the competition is grounds for disqualification.

Results: All prize-winning compositions will be announced January 1, 2022. The winning entries will be premiered at Bok Tower Gardens, Washington National Cathedral, and the University of Chicago. Edward M. Nassor is the fourth Cathedral Carillonneur at the Washington National Cathedral. The Cathedral grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. This article first appeared in the November 2020 issue of Carillon News.