Young Composers Competition

2023 Young Composers Competition


Humans have a unique relationship with time; as the only species who measures and records our history, keeping track of what’s past has always served to help us plan our future. We are also one of few species apparently aware of our own temporary nature – of the need to prepare future generations for a day without us. Since the beginning, our species has been focused on teaching from our memories, and predicting what lies ahead.

Music, one of the few arts that can express and elicit internal emotions, has been key to such storytelling since the beginning. How else could we express the drama and grandeur of our epic histories, the vulnerability of our innermost fears, or the sweeping beauty of the eternal love stories? How does music itself inform our relationship with our memory, and how can it help us to imagine the future?

This year, our 9th Annual Young Composers Competition asks for your thoughts on time, memory, the future, or perspectives on these concepts. If you feel like you have something to say–or find that something you’ve already written might speak to us–we’d love to hear it!

All U.S. & Canadian residents age 18-40 are welcome to submit a 2-5 minute original composition (arranged for mixed, unaccompanied choir) related to this theme, and we especially welcome submissions from unique or underrepresented perspectives – and in unique or underrepresented styles. Submissions are due by June 9, 2023, and a prize of $1,000 will be awarded to the winner.


Submission Guidelines

  • Entries must be scored for unaccompanied mixed choir, suitable for performance by 12-14 voices, either with or without divisi. Entries must be 2-5 minutes in length.
  • Any style or genre of music is permitted (i.e., works need not be “classical”). Jazz, pop, rock, world, crossover works, etc., are all welcome.
  • Works must be entirely original compositions (not arrangements of existing works), except that limited excerpting for artistic reasons is allowed.
  • Works must not have received a public premiere or publicly available recording, and must be unpublished. Exception – self-published, unsold works that are withdrawn from sale during the competition (see rules).
  • All texts must be cleared for performance and commercial recording, and evidence of copyright holder’s permission must be shown. For further guidance, see here.
  • Open to U.S. and Canadian composers aged 18-40. Previous winners, members of The Capital Hearings, and their families, close friends and colleagues are not eligible.
  • The Capital Hearings retain a two-year “right of first recording” for the winning composition (see Rules for details).
  • Only one composition per submission will be accepted, but multiple submissions are welcome.
  • The competition will be judged anonymously. Finalists will be selected by the music director with input from a committee. The full ensemble will select the winner.
  • Entrants must submit a complete online submission form, including a full score pdf, audio realization (MIDI, MP3, etc.), standalone version of the underlying text (if not included in the score), a translation (if not in English), and any documents needed to prove copyright permission.
  • Questions? Contact [email protected] for more information.
Ericsson Hatfield
Mining the Sunshine
Premiered Oct. 8, 2022
Theme: Light, Refractions and Reflections

Nicholas Ryan Kelly
Infinite Horizon
Premiered Oct. 23, 2021
Theme: Rebirth and Renewal

Cooper Baldwin
Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor
Premiered Sept. 28, 2019
Theme: Power Plays

Keane Southard
In this short Life
Premiered Sept. 15, 2018
Theme: Reality and Illusion

Rachel DeVore Fogarty
It Sifts From Leaden Sieves
Premiered Dec. 10, 2017
Theme: Holiday

Charles Perryman
Premiered Sept. 24, 2016
Theme: Politics and Political Capital
Press Release

William Yanesh
The Astronomer
Premiered Oct. 10, 2015
Theme: Technology and Innovation
Press Release

Connor J. Koppin
There Will Come Soft Rains
Premiered Sept. 27, 2014
Theme: Seasons
Press Release