Thanks to a generous gift from The Honorable P.A. Mack, Jr., IU Cinema and the Jacobs School of Music will annually commission a new orchestral score for a silent film to be premiered with a student orchestra. The Jon Vickers Film Scoring Award will be awarded each April to a JSoM student whose submission is selected in a film scoring competition. The award is designed to provide undergraduate and graduate students in the Composition Department of the Jacob School of Music unprecedented opportunities to compose new orchestral music for silent films and assure that they will be premiered to a live audience. NOTE: Students are not eligible to win this film scoring award more than two consecutive years.

Call for Submissions: 2017/2019 Jon Vickers Film Scoring Award

Submissions open on April 1, 2017 for the 2017/2019 competition. Frank Capra’s sublime comedyThe Strong Man (1926), will be screened with a World Premiere of its new orchestral score in February of 2019. Students in the Jacobs School of Music have until May 1, 2017 to submit their original compositions to the 5-minute clip of the film that is featured below. A jury comprised of faculty from Jacobs School of Music and The Media School at Indiana University will choose the winning composer who will be offered the commission. Details of the submission process are below and an entry form can be found here. There is a complete version of the feature film that can be found here for reference.

Note to composers:
For some additional backstory, our protagonist in the film received letters from Mary Brown while serving in the war. Though he has never met her, he is on a mission to find her upon returning home. Upon meeting, he has no idea that Mary is blind.

The Strong Man (Scoring Clip) from IU Cinema on Vimeo.

Please email Jon Vickers with any questions at


The IU Cinema is commissioning a Jacobs School of Music student to compose a new score for the restored silent film, The Strong Man (1926), directed by Frank Capra. The project is to be recorded during the spring of 2019, with a live World Premiere of the completed work in February of 2019. It is the intent of IU Cinema to contract a studio recording of the score and pursue further dissemination in the form of home-video release and additional performance dates.

Duration: Approximately 75 minutes
Commission Amount: $5,000
Submissions: Send entries to or deliver to IU Cinema, Room B004
Orchestration: Up to 15 players. The instrumentation is to be determined by the composer, and a proposed instrumentation should be indicated in the submission.


  • May 15, 2017
    Submission due of score (in the form of a .pdf file AND .mp3 audio file) for the clip above, along with a completed entry form
  • September 15, 2018
    First draft of entire feature length film score due in PDF format and print
  • November 30, 2018
    Complete and final Film Score due to in PDF format and print
  • December 15, 2018
    Completed parts and Film Score due in PDF format and print
  • February, 2019
    World Premiere of The Strong Man (1926) with orchestral score

For more information, please contact Jon Vickers at or 812-855-7632.

The orchestral performance of the World Premiere will be presented thanks to the generous
support of Old National Bank.


P.A. Mack and Jon Vickers

The Honorable P.A. Mack
The Honorable P.A. Mack, Jr. has been a strong and loyal supporter of Indiana University since his days as Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Birch Bayh. He was appointed by both Presidents Carter and Reagan to serve as a member of the National Credit Union Administration of which he was ultimately elected Vice-Chairman. P.A. has served as Vice-President of the Indiana University Board of Trustees, as a member and the Chairman of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, and is a member of the Indiana University Foundation Board. P.A. and his late wife, Marian have lifted up outstanding teaching within the University with the Marian and P.A. Mack Endowment for Scholarship and Teaching Excellence which will fund the P.A. Mack Award for Distinguished Service to Teaching and the Mack Center for Inquiry on Teaching and Learning.

P.A. believes in the importance of the IU Cinema, and it is his belief that music and film enrich the lives of students and the IU community at large. It is the hard work and high ethical standards of his friend and teacher, Jon Vickers, that inspired P.A.’s support for Jacobs School of Music students majoring in composition through the creation of the Jon Vickers Film Scoring Award.

Jon Vickers
Jon Vickers is the founding director of the Indiana University Cinema, which opened in January of 2011. The IU Cinema is considered one of the best equipped film venues in the U.S., and the program has garnered national attention from scholars, filmmakers and industry leaders. Vickers previously served as managing director of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and director of the Browning Cinema at the University of Notre Dame. Vickers also opened, co-owned and operated the Vickers Theatre, an independent, single-screen art house cinema in Three Oaks, Michigan, with his wife Jennifer. The Theatre was purchased in the early 1990’s and renovated into a boutique art cinema that gained national attention for its success.