I have been spending the past few weeks adapting and recreating some of my compositions to enter into some competitions. At this stage of my career, I usually don't enter competitions for several reasons. First is that many are for composers in the early stages of their careers. Second is that many are more geared towards the academic composer and my music tends to be more audience oriented. Third is that I am usually so busy with composing for specific performers, that I don't have time to compose for a competition.
However, there were four competitions that I decided to enter because I feel that I have pieces that are very right for their stated goals, there is no age limit, and I decided to make some time between projects to adapt and create additional music to fit the competition requirements.
I cannot discuss these works here as most of them require anonymous submission, but I'd like to encourage composers to recycle existing works to create new ones. Many of my compositions have only one or a few performances and recycling them can give them new life. In the instance of one of these competitions, I combined two different works into one, re-orchestrated both of them, and gave the piece a new title. I am very pleased with the results and I hope the judges are as well.
I have also learned that winning or not winning a competition is no reflection upon the quality of my work. Having judged competitions many times, it is often more about what suits the organization's needs rather than the fact that one composition is clearly better than another. Judges often narrow the field down to a few entries. This narrow field reflects both quality and suitability. So I encourage composers to read the guidelines carefully to determine if what they have written is right for the competition and then be pleased if you win, but not too disappointed if you don't. Remember, you can't win if you don't enter!