Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition

The Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition (including its previous names) has been awarded since 1960. The award is presented to the composer of an original piece of music (not an adaptation), first released during the eligibility year. In theory, any style of music is eligible for this category, but winning compositions are usually in the jazz or film score genres.

Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition
Awarded forquality instrumental compositions
CountryUnited States
Presented byNational Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences
First awarded1960
Last awarded2019

The Grammy is awarded to the composer(s) of the music, not to the performing artist, except if the artist is also the composer. There have been several minor changes to the name of the award:

  • In 1958 it was awarded as Best Musical Composition First Recorded and Released in 1958 (over 5 minutes duration)
  • In 1960 it was awarded as Best Musical Composition First Recorded and Released in 1959 (more than 5 minutes duration)
  • In 1962 it was awarded as Best Instrumental Theme or Instrumental Version of Song
  • From 1963 to 1964 and from 1967 to 1970 it was awarded as Best Instrumental Theme
  • In 1965 it was awarded as Best Instrumental Composition (other than jazz)
  • From 1971 to the present it has been awarded as Best Instrumental Composition

Years reflect the year in which the Grammy Awards were presented, for works released in the previous year.


  • 2020
  • Winner TBA on 26 January 2020


  • Fred Hersch for Begin Again,performed by Fred Hersch & the WDR Big Band conducted by Vince Mendoza
  • Brian Lynch for Crucible for Crisis, performed by the Brian Lynch Big Band
  • Vince Mendoza for Love, A Beautiful Force, performed by Vince Mendoza, Terell Stafford, Dick Oatts & the Temple University Studio Orchestra
  • John Williams for Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Symphonic Suite, performed by John Williams
  • Christian McBride for Walkin' Funny, performed by Christian McBride




  • Arturo O'Farrill for Three Revolutions, performed by Arturo O'Farrill & Chucho Valdés
  • Nominees
    • Pascal Le Boeuf for Alkaline, performed by the Le Boeuf Brothers & the JACK Quartet
    • Vince Mendoza for Chorus #3, performed by Vince Mendoza & the WDR Big Band Cologne
    • Nate Smith for Home Free (For Peter Joe), performed by Nate Smith
    • Chuck Owen for Warped Cowboy, performed by Chuck Owen & the Jazz Surge

59th Annual Grammy Awards (2017)

  • Ted Nash for Spoken at Midnight, performed by the Ted Nash Big Band


  • Thomas Newman for Bridge of Spies (End Title), composed by Thomas Newman
  • Tim Davies for The Expensive Train Set (An Epic Sarahnade for Double Big Band), performed by the Tim Davies Big Band
  • Alan Ferber for Flow, performed by the Alan Ferber Nonet
  • Ennio Morricone for L'Ultima Diligenza di Red Rock - Versione Integrale, composed by Ennio Morricone

58th Annual Grammy Awards (2016)


57th Annual Grammy Awards (2015)


56th Annual Grammy Awards (2014)

  • Clare Fischer for Pensamientos for Solo Alto Saxophone and Chamber Orchestra, performed by the Clare Fischer Orchestra


55th Annual Grammy Awards (2013)

Nominees (performing artists, followed by the title of the composition, with performer(s) and album title in parentheses)

54th Annual Grammy Awards (2012)

Nominees (artists names, followed by album title, in parentheses)

  • John Hollenbeck for Falling Men (John Hollenbeck, Daniel Yvinec & l'Orchestre National de Jazz – Shut Up and Dance)
  • Gordon Goodwin for Hunting Wabbits 3 (Get Off My Lawn) (Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band – That's How We Roll)
  • Randy Brecker for I Talk To The Trees (Randy Brecker & the DR Big Band – The Jazz Ballad Song Book)
  • Russell Ferrante for Timeline (Yellowjackets – Timeline)

53rd Annual Grammy Awards (2011)

  • Billy Childs for The Path Among The Trees, from Autumn: In Moving Pictures Jazz – Chamber Music Vol. 2, performed by the Billy Childs Ensemble

52nd Annual Grammy Awards (2010)








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