I composed my first full length orchestral piece this past July (2013). I was informed by one of my work colleagues of a composition contest strangely suited to my abilities/knowledge. It's the Doc Severinsen International Composition Contest, housed by the College Music Society and it's regional conference at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
The composition was announced late 2012, but I had no knowledge of it until the end of June 2013. The due date for submissions? - August 1st! After some deliberating and traveling I was left with little more than 3 weeks to compose an 8-12 minute piece for orchestra and trumpet soloist. The only other requirement was that the piece should contain elements of jazz and classical music.
After a few weeks of marathon composition sessions (and one all-nighter on July 31) I was able to get a submission in by the due date. The 1st also happened to be my daughters 1st birthday, so I was NOT allowed to be tired the rest of the day :)
A few months later I was notified that my composition was selected as the honorable mention in the competition. I was simultaneously very excited about being recognized and somewhat bummed about getting so close to having my piece performed by world renown trumpeters (Vinnie DiMartino, Gabriel DiMartino or Allen Vizzutti).
I later found out that there were nearly 100 submissions, and the three winners are all composition chairs at major institutions. Overall it was a very affirming experience. Hopefully I can convince an orchestra to perform the piece at some point.
The piece is called "Apparatus", it consists of 3 continuous movements each derived from a 5-note motif. The score can be viewed below.