2023 Composition Competition

Contest Theme for 2022-23: The Turning of the Hours: This season, we explore how music can add structure to our daily routines, mark the passage of time, delineate seasons, and bring meaning to life’s milestones.

High School/College/University Division:

  • 14 - 22 years old

Professional Composer Division:

  • 23 years and older

Composition Guidelines

  • Level of difficulty: suitable for a capable community choir. Please be very mindful of difficulty, submissions that will require extensive rehearsal time will not be considered.

  • Mixed choir (SATB, moderate divisi is possible, please limit tenor divisi).

  • Moderate tessitura and voice leading for each vocal part.

  • Unaccompanied or with keyboard accompaniment (piano or organ).

  • One (1) or two (2) obbligato instruments are acceptable.

  • Two (2) to six (6) minutes duration.

  • Original and unpublished (by an established commercial firm) works which have not received a premiere performance only.

  • The text may be sacred or secular, either in the public domain, copyrighted, or of the composer's own creation.

  • The text may be in any language; however, if the chosen language is one that is unfamiliar to American Choral Groups, a pronunciation guide is required.

  • Copyrighted text should be accompanied by documentation clearly confirming the composer has secured permission to set it to music and to present it in public performances. (Any costs related to securing said permission are solely the responsibility of the composer.)

  • The text should be chosen based on the theme of The Turning of the Hours

Submission Guidelines

  • Compositions need not be newly created for this competition; however, all submissions must not have been previously adjudicated or performed in public. Madrigal Chorale will perform the world premiere of the winning entry(s).

  • Works should be original, no arrangements or transcriptions.

  • Electronic submissions (PDF) are required.

  • All compositions must have a title and the composer's name must be omitted from the score so submitted materials can be judged anonymously.

  • An audio file (digital playback from Finale, etc.) is strongly recommended.

  • Scores must be clear and ready for duplication and performance, using one of the standard music printing programs (Finale, Sibelius, etc.).

  • Please include a brief bio outlining prior musical experience, education, etc.

  • Feel free to include pertinent program notes or information about the composition.

  • There is a $25 submission fee for each work submitted.

  • No more than two compositions will be accepted from a single composer.

  • The names of all participants will be held in confidence.

  • Submissions will be accepted December 1, 2022-January 6, 2023.

  • Further details for submission instructions will be posted in November to the Madrigal Chorale website, https://www.madrigalchorale.org/


A panel of three (3) nationally recognized judges plus Madrigal Chorale’s Artistic Staff will review all submissions and select the winning composition(s).

Compositions will be evaluated based upon the following criteria:

  • originality/creative potential

  • compositional technique

  • accessibility for amateur vocalists who rehearse only once a week

  • compositional maturity

  • overall musical effect

The winning submissions and composer will be announced by email and social media platforms on Feb 1, 2023. If no entry is found to be suitable by the judging panel, Madrigal Chorale reserves the right to withhold awards in either division.


Madrigal Chorale shall retain unlimited performance and mechanical rights to performances and recordings made by Madrigal Chorale. The composer shall retain all other copy, performance, and mechanical rights to their works.


  • High School/College/University Division: $500

  • Professional Composer Division: $1000

By accepting the cash award, the winner grants performance and recording rights to Madrigal Chorale.

The winning compositions will be premiered and recorded by Madrigal Chorale at their May 2023 concert. Composers will be recognized at the premiere (if their attendance is possible) and provided with a copy of the recording.