As part of our ongoing commitment to investing in local musicians and contributing to the development of Aotearoa jazz sounds, the Wellington Jazz Festival is pleased to once again open submissions for new work from jazz composers.


There is one commission available:

  • 1 x commission for compositions between 1-5 instruments or 6-9 instruments (maximum).
  • The commission fee is $10,000 or $12,500 dependent on the size of the ensemble.
  • Each commission should be between 15 - 20 minutes (we note that lengths may vary in performance due to improvisation).
  • Instruments may include voice.
  • The compositions should feature improvisation. Hybrid genres and experimentation are encouraged.

Subject to funding an additional proposal may be selected for performance. This will be offered under the same conditions, fee and otherwise, as above. Please note that should we be successful in our application for funding at least one of the commissions will be awarded to a Māori composer.

It is intended that the premiere of the commission will take place at St Peter's on Willis during the Wellington Jazz Festival, 9 - 13 June 2021. The Festival will cover presentation costs.


  • Composers must be NZ citizens or permanent residents who are NZ-based and currently living in NZ.
  • Compositions must be new original material and can be one full work or multiple shorter works.
  • Composers may write for specific NZ-based musicians.
  • Composers may compose for themselves or ensembles they perform in.
  • Compositions may be collaborative. The lead composer must be currently living in NZ. All composition collaborators must be paid from the commission fee.
  • The composer must be present in Wellington at the premiere of the work.
  • The composer must cover reasonable costs of musical scores (copying and printing etc.).
  • Successful composers will submit the final score for their composition to the Wellington Jazz Festival by Tuesday 27 May (you are not required to submit the composition when applying).

If you would like to submit a commission proposal, please do so here.

In recognition of the high standard of applications last year and the hard work that went into them, we would like to give applicants for the 2020 Festival the opportunity to have their commission proposal reassessed for the 2021 Festival. If you would like your 2020 proposal to be reconsidered for 2021, please fill out this form.

We will only accept one submission per composer, so if you would like your 2020 proposal reassessed, you will not be able to submit a new proposal.

Applications close 5pm, Monday 8 March.

We aim to notify successful applicants no later than Friday 19 March.