“Monomyth: The Hero’s Journey”

Score Submission Due Date
April 2 at 11:59pm


Saturday, May 30th – Doors open at 8pm for Cocktails and Wine. At 9 the Journey begins.
The Space Upstairs
214 N. Lexington Street. Pgh, PA 15208​


Tuesday, May 26th and Thursday May 28th, 7:30pm – The Space Upstairs
214 N. Lexington Street. Pgh, PA 15208​

What is the theme of this concert?

Joseph Campbell‘s monomyth, or the hero’s journey, is a basic pattern that its proponents argue is found in many narratives from around the world. This widely distributed pattern was described by Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949).[1] Campbell, an enthusiast of novelist James Joyce, borrowed the term monomyth from Joyce’s Finnegans Wake.[2] Campbell held that numerous myths from disparate times and regions share fundamental structures and stages, which he summarized in The Hero with a Thousand Faces:

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.[3]

Campbell and other scholars, such as Erich Neumann, describe narratives of Gautama BuddhaMoses, and Christ among countless others in terms of the monomyth and Campbell argues that classic myths from many cultures follow this basic pattern.  Campbell goes further, arguing that we each live out our own versions of the monomyth. 


Submission Requirements:

Submissions must be inspired by and/or programmatically composed for any single element of “The Hero’s Journey.”  For example, I might be inspired to compose for a part of the “Hero’s Journey” called “Crossing the Return Threshold.  Campbell explans that experience thusly:  “Retaining the wisdom gained on the quest, integrating that wisdom into a human life, and possibly sharing the wisdom with the rest of the world.”  It is preceded by an experience called “Master of Two Worlds” and followed by an experience called “Rescue from Without”. Alternately, you might see a parallel between some element in the Monomyth and your personal life, a historical story, an imagined story, another piece of art, etc.  The best way to get a solid understanding of the Monomyth elements is to view the images at the bottom of this page and peruse the following summarizing links:

  1.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monomyth
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kJwPIiUPfK4
  •  Submissions must be original compositions
  • Submission can be for any combination of the following instruments including SATB choir as described:
    • Flute
    • Oboe
    • Clarinet
    •  Horn in F
    •  Trumpet
    •  Bassoon
    • Violin
    •  Cello
    • Percussion (Individually: Djembe, marimba, toms, tambourine, congas, snare drum, for other instruments, contact projectmanager@ovrearts.org)
    • Any combination of SATB singers up to 2 each (i.e. maximum choral ensemble would be S, S, A, A, T, T, B, B)
  • Any compositions written for other instruments will not be considered.
  • All submissions must include program notes (notes submitted at a later date cannot be included in the program)
  • Compositions must be submitted in “portrait” view (not landscape) and must be transposed.
  • Any works that include texts that are currently under copyright will not be considered unless permission is obtained prior to your submission (proof of permission required).
  • All submissions should be emailed to Chris Massa, Project Manager (info@chrismassa.com), and Ryan Keeling, music director (musicdirector@ovrearts.org) by April 2 at 11:59pm, ET. Each submission must include the complete score and all parts in PDF format (and if possible, a MIDI realization of the score in mp3 format.) as well as program notes for our program.
  • All submissions remain the property of the composer, and no ownership on the part of OvreArts will be inferred minus our retained right to publish a recording of the concert on our website.Please be aware that submission does not guarantee performance.
Please send this information to any and all interested parties. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Chris Massa, project manager (info@chrismassa.com).We’re looking forward to a very exciting concert!


A brief summary of the stages of the Monomyth is below.  There are multiple other ‘events’ that occur between all of these larger categories. To view those, visit this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monomyth#The_17_Stages_of_the_Monomyth

  1. The Call to Adventure – The hero begins in a mundane situation of normality from which some information is received that acts as a call to head off into the unknown.
  2. The Road of Trials – The road of trials is a series of tests, tasks, or ordeals that the person must undergo to begin the transformation. Often the person fails one or more of these tests, which often occur in threes.
  3. Supernatural Aid – Once the hero has committed to the quest, consciously or unconsciously, his guide and magical helper appears or becomes known. More often than not, this supernatural mentor will present the hero with one or more talismans or artifacts that will aid him later in his quest.
  4. The Meeting with the Goddess – This is the point when the person experiences a love that has the power and significance of the all-powerful, all encompassing, unconditional love that a fortunate infant may experience with his or her mother. This is a very important step in the process and is often represented by the person finding the other person that he or she loves most completely.
  5. The Boon – The ultimate boon is the achievement of the goal of the quest. It is what the person went on the journey to get. All the previous steps serve to prepare and purify the person for this step, since in many myths the boon is something transcendent like the elixir of life itself, or a plant that supplies immortality, or the holy grail.
  6. The Magic Flight – Sometimes the hero must escape with the boon, if it is something that the gods have been jealously guarding. It can be just as adventurous and dangerous returning from the journey as it was to go on it.
  7. The Return Threshold – The trick in returning is to retain the wisdom gained on the quest, to integrate that wisdom into a human life, and then maybe figure out how to share the wisdom with the rest of the world.
  8. The Master of Two Worlds – This step is usually represented by a transcendental hero like Jesus or Gautama Buddha. For a human hero, it may mean achieving a balance between the material and spiritual. The person has become comfortable and competent in both the inner and outer worlds.


Questions and Answers:

  • “Concerning the Hero’s Journey. If, for example, one would choose “the Atonement”, how specific would I have to be? Not Specific at all unless you want to be.  
  • Do I have to have a particular “hero” in mind? No – infact, the nature of “The Hero’s Journey” is that all details are in many ways irrelevant as all “heros” go through the same stages.  The Hero’s Journey is the story of all heros. 
  •  If I do choose a specific person, and want to employ a choir, would the text have to be about that individual specifically, or could it be a general text about atonement? Entirely up to you – either way would be suitable.  
  • How much do we have to explain in our program notes about the Monomyth?  Will the audience have all the information needed to make sense of the project? Just say’in.You don’t have to explain at all – we are working on how we will explain the monomyth in an interesting, timely and tied in manner.  The audience will have all of the information necessary, though you are welcome to include supplemental notes as to your specific experience, why you choose atonement, etc.  

65805 monomyth