Composers Competition

Twin Peaks Chamber Orchestra announces the Käthe Illch Prize for Bay Area composers under 25. The winning composer will receive $1,000 and have their piece performed on May 18, 2024.

The piece must never have been performed before in public.

Composers must reside in one of the following counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, Santa Clara, San Mateo, Solano, or Sonoma.

The piece must be four to six minutes long. The minimum orchestration is 1 flute (piccolo), 1 oboe (English horn), 1 clarinet, 1 bassoon, 2 horns, and timpani. The maximum orchestration is  2 flutes (piccolo), 2 oboes (English horn), 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, and timpani. 

Compositions will be judged for originality and knowledge of the technical capabilities of each instrument.

Send a pdf file of your composition to

The deadline for submission of scores is March 15, 2024.

The Käthe Illch Prize

Käthe Illch (1885-1967), Twin Peaks music director Philip Kuttner’s grandmother, was born in Poznán, Poland. After her marriage to Max Illch in 1907 she moved to Berlin, where she led a rich musical life. She sang in the Berlin Radio Chorus under the direction of Otto Klemperer, saw the legendary conductors Wilhelm Furtwängler and Arturo Toscanini, heard opera stars Emmy Destinn and Boris Chaliapin, attended recitals given by Arthur Schnabel, Rudolph Serkin, and the Busch String Quartet, sang Lieder informally at home, and encouraged young composers.

Forced to flee Europe because of their Jewish heritage, in 1941 she and her husband arrived penniless in Washington D.C. Käthe began to earn a living selling Avon products door to door. She continued her musical life, listening to the Saturday Met broadcasts, watching the NBC TV Opera Theater, and attending performances by the Budapest String Quartet, the National Symphony, and the Washington Opera Society.

She avidly followed the development of 20th century music, listening to recordings of Mahler’s Symphonies, Berg’s Wozzeck, Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle, and Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem.

Music was her religion.