Thirteenth Biennial Young Composers Competition

Cantate Chamber Singers



As part of its commitment to innovative programming and creative educational outreach that promotes young artists, Cantate Chamber Singers announces its thirteenth biennial Young Composers Competition.


  • The competition is limited to residents of the United States and Canada not older than 35 years on June 30, 2021 (born after June 30, 1985).
  • All submissions must include an CCS YCC application form and a sample composition. Only one submission will be accepted per composer. Entries must be clearly identified as to title and source of text. The composer’s name must not appear on the score. A pseudonym shall be clearly printed on the manuscript and on the application form. Compositions are to remain anonymous to the judges.
  • The sample composition shall be scored for SATB chorus, 4 to 8 part, a cappella or with keyboard accompaniment. Newly composed works or works composed within the past five years are welcome.
  • Additional sample compositions may be requested by the judges.
  • Please do not send recordings or MIDI realizations.
  • The winner of the competition will receive a $1,000 commission to compose an original 8-10 minute SATB piece, with or without keyboard accompaniment, to text selected by the Music Director. Cantate Chamber Singers claims the right of the premiere of this piece.
  • Performance of the commissioned piece is anticipated during the 2021-2022 season. However, Cantate reserves the right to award the prize without performance. It also reserves the right to make no award if, in the opinion of the judges, the compositions submitted do not meet standards of excellence.


  • Scores of sample compositions should be uploaded to the application form in PDF format and received no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT, June 30, 2021.
  • A winner will be announced no later than August 15, 2021.
  • The final score of the winner’s commissioned composition will be due by December 31, 2021. The $1,000 commission will be paid upon receipt of the final score.

For more information, contact

CANTATE CHAMBER SINGERS attracts many of the Washington, D.C., area’s finest choral musicians, selected annually by audition. The group performs a broad range of great Western choral literature spanning the past five centuries and is recognized for championing neglected masterpieces and premiering newly commissioned works. Its virtuoso performances, often featuring acclaimed guest artists, are offered in smaller venues to create the greatest possible intimacy between performers and audience.

It is always a joy to attend the premiere of a new piece of music, and on March 31, 2012, Gisèle Becker led the Cantate Chamber Singers in a stunning performance of my piece, “Later,” winner of Cantate’s 8th Young Composers Competition. Becker extracted depth, subtle shapes, richness and lovely lines from the ensemble. Good performances with adequate interpretation and dramatic integrity happen often enough, but to have a director and ensemble take care to find and deliver a piece’s nuances is a rare treat.

Bravo Gisèle and bravo Cantate!

— Joshua Hummel, Young Composers’ Competition winner, 2012

Cantate Chamber Singers, a nonprofit corporation under §501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is supported in part by funding from the Montgomery County government and the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, the Maryland State Arts Council, The Dallas Morse Coors Foundation for the Performing Arts, and the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation.
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