2019 Young Composers Competition

The 2019 Young Composers Competition:

The search for power is a timeless one; from the dawn of civilization to #MeToo, everyone in history has been shaped by their own power–or the lack thereof. History is littered with the forgotten stories of the underprivileged and the censored tales of those who lost their battles.

How humanity measures power on the large scale has shifted with the times: the ability to provide has given way to the charisma to inspire, while physical strength has been overtaken by wealth and capital. Whether we put our trust in the mystical or summon our courage from superheroes, some things remain steadfast: the struggle for power–whatever its form–seems as though it may never dissipate.

When you’re at the bottom of the ladder, the top seems unreachable. As soon as you feel empowered, though, it’s as if you’re unstoppable. How has our society’s expression of power most affected you?


This year, our 6th Annual Young Composers Competition is eager to hear your thoughts on how Power Plays out in your world.  If you feel like you have something to say–or find that something you’ve already said 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 related to this theme (voiced for mixed, unaccompanied choir), and we especially welcome submissions from unique or underrepresented perspectives – and in unique or underrepresented styles.  Submissions are due by May 20, 2019, and a prize of $500 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    • Works must not have received a public premiere or publicly available recording, and must be unpublished. Exception – self-published, unsold works that are withdrawn from sale during the competition (see rules).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.
Past Winners
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