Young Composers Competition

Now Accepting Submissions for the 2018 Young Composers Competition

The Capital Hearings’ fifth annual Young Composers Competition invites submissions on the 2018 theme of Reality and Illusion. A cash prize of $500 will be awarded to the winner, and the selection will be premiered at the group’s fall concert on September 15.

Submissions may include references to perception, consciousness, fantasy, deception, bias, seeking “truth” through any number of disciplines (science, religion, philosophy, statistics, etc.), or other interpretations of the theme.

We welcome composers from all backgrounds, and especially encourage entries from composers who identify as belonging to an underrepresented group (though submissions will be judged anonymously). Submissions are due June 10 through the online application form.


  • Open to U.S. and Canadian composers who are not older than 40. The Capital Hearings, family members, those with close professional relationships (e.g., teacher/student), and previous winners are not eligible.
  • Entries must be scored for unaccompanied mixed choir, suitable for performance by 12-14 voices, either with or without divisi. Entries must be between two and five minutes in length.
  • Any style or genre of music is permitted (e.g., works need not be “classical”). Jazz, pop, rock, world, crossover works, etc., are all welcome.
  • Works must be original compositions (not arrangements), except that limited excerpting for artistic reasons is allowed.
  • Works must not have received a premiere, and must be unpublished. Exception – self-published, unsold works that are withdrawn from sale during the competition (see rules).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.


  • $500 cash award. We will also provide the winner with an archival recording of the premiere or an early performance.
  • The winner will be announced in June 2018. All entrants will be notified by email, and the winner will also be announced on our website.
  • The Capital Hearings will have a two-year exclusive right to make the first commercial recording, with standard royalty rates paid to the composer. Any future publication of the score must reference that the work was a prize-winner in this competition.

Submission Guidelines

  • Only one work per composer will be accepted.
  • 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 an online application form, full score, audio realization (MIDI, MP3, etc.), standalone version of the underlying text (if not included in the score), translation (if not in English), and a resume, curriculum vitae, or program biography.
  • See Composer Competition 2018 Rules for complete submission instructions.

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