2023 Composition Competition Winners

Our winner “Sonnet XIX” is written by Claudio Ferrara, an Italian Composer.   




Claudio Ferrara is an Italian composer born in Santiago, Chile, on the 6th of April 1990. His musical education started in Maryland, where he began taking piano lessons and attended the three-year “Music Theory and Composition” course at Pyle Middle School. Upon returning to Italy, he obtained his IB Diploma, completing the curricular course Advanced IB Music at St. George's Int. School of Rome. He then attended the Roman Conservatory of Music S. Cecilia, obtaining his 10-year diploma in Composition as well as a Bachelor's Degree as Korrepetitior and a Master's in Conducting of the Vocal and Sacred Repertoire. His strong practical and compositional affinity with choral music started at the age of 16 with his membership in the high school’s Choir, Madrigal Group, Orchestra, and Barbershop Ensemble.  Since then, he has been constantly active as a choir member in numerous choirs and vocal ensembles. As chorister, he has participated in a number of commercial recordings, including: a Brilliant Classics recording of Rossini’s “Petite Messe Solennelle” with the New Chamber Singers Roman choir and two Edizioni Paoline recordings of “Classici Mariani”, vol. I & II with Prima Prattica Ensemble, a vocal a cappella early music ensemble of which he is founder and first tenor and with which he has vast and constant live concert performance experience. 

As a composer, he has written several works for solo piano, instrumental chamber ensembles and works for solo voice and instruments which have received performance. However, the main focus of his compositional experience has been a vast number of choral works, a cappella as well as accompanied. His works are widely performed in Italy and abroad, have been set pieces for choral competitions (for instance Arezzo 2022 “Occhi miei lassi”) and have been often commissioned by choral groups, among which one of Italy’s most notorious choral ensembles, the Coro Giovanile Italiano. He has also received many prizes in national and international composition competitions, and he is rapidly emerging as one of the most prized and frequently performed young Italian choral composers. His works have been published by Feniarco Edizioni, Arcopu Edizioni, Aldebaran Editions, Tactus Records, and Diaphonia Edizioni.  


Since 2014, he also has operated as a piano teacher and musical educator in various schools in Rome, Italy. As a son of an Italian diplomat, and having spent his childhood abroad, he is perfectly bilingual (Italian and English) and is well-versed in French. As conductor, he has led the Youth String Orchestra of Rome’s Conservatory Santa Cecilia in various occasions, including the 2020 Christmas Concert in the Italian Parliament, broadcasted on national Italian TV “Rai3”. 

Our second-place winner is “Time Is” composed by Mark Burrows.   



Mark Burrows is a composer, conductor, and educator whose music is published by many major houses. His works are featured on numerous state and festival lists, and he receives multiple commissions each year for groups ranging from children’s choirs to adult ensembles to intergenerational festival choirs. Most recently, Mark was the recipient of the Dr. Jeff Byers Fellowship for Musicians. Mark loves travelling the country reminding people how amazing they are and how, together, they can do amazing things! Mark received his undergraduate degree in music education from Southern Methodist University and his graduate degree in conducting from Texas Christian University. Mark is currently Director of Children’s Ministries at FUMC, Fort Worth. He lives in Fort Worth with his wife Nina. And he occasionally feels sorry for himself that their daughters, Emma and Grace, have moved away to college so they can become a nurse and music therapist respectively, and save the world. 

Honorable mentions:   

“All Flesh is Grass” by Jordan Andrew Davis  https://jordanandrewdavis.com/home  

Jordan Andrew Davis is an award-winning composer who lives and works in San Diego, California. His choral music has been performed throughout the United States and Europe, including Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. He is a graduate of the European American Musical Alliance in Paris, France, and has studied composition with Philip Lasser and arranging with Vince Mendoza. Jordan is also an experienced conductor and an accomplished guitarist and bassist who has toured and performed across the country with many different artists. He has acted as a musical director in a variety of settings, as well as a producer and arranger in the recording studio.  

“Gold and Blue” by Lydia Jane Pugh  https://www.lydiajanepugh.com/

Hailing from the island of Guernsey, Lydia Jane Pugh (b. 1986) is an award-winning composer specializing in choral and chamber music, with much of her work inspired by the island’s history, culture, and beautiful landscapes. She has received performances from professional groups such as “The BBC Singers” (UK) and the “Empire City Men’s Chorus” (USA).  Her work has made the finals of several awards, including the NCEM Young Composer Award (UK), the Australian Boys Choir Choral Composition Competition, and in 2018 she was awarded the Nathan Davis Prize in Composition at the Young New Yorker’s Chorus Young Composer Competition for her piece “Adiraï (Misplaced).” She has also had the great joy of being selected to participate in several Composer Institutes, including the Common Tone Music Festival, the Choral Chameleon Summer Institute, and the Charlotte New Music Festival. Her chamber piece “Voul-ous enne p’tite goute?”, written for and recorded at the Charlotte New Music Festival, was released by Ablaze Records on their compilation album, “Millennial Masters; Volume 9” in 2019. From the same festival, “Carolina’s Jig” was recorded by Thomas Mesa with PARMA Recordings for the compilation album “Divisions of Memory”, released through Navona Records in 2021. Most recently her choral works “My Hiding Place” and “Adirai” have also been recorded and released through PARMA Recordings, featuring on “Voices of Earth and Air; Volume 4” (Navona Records, 2022). 


Lydia studied for her BA (Hons) in Music at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and subsequently completed her Masters Degree in Composition at Leeds College of Music. Alongside her career as a composer, Lydia is a professional singer, vocal coach and musical director. In 2016, she was appointed the conductor of the Guernsey Glee Singers, Guernsey’s longest standing community choir, and in the same year she was awarded the John Owen-Jones Award, a scholarship from The Voice College enabling study for the Advanced Professional Diploma in Teaching Contemporary Singing, from which she graduated in 2017 with Distinction. She was later awarded their prestigious award for excellence: The P. J. Proby Award in 2017 for the high standards of her work.