The 2023-2024 Chronos Composition Competition has closed.
Congratulations to Gerda Blok-Wilson, this year's winner!

Submission Deadline: Monday, December 18, 2023 at 5 PM MST

Chronos Vocal Ensemble is an ambitious nonprofessional Canadian chamber choir, founded in 2013 and based in Edmonton. 

From its inception, Chronos has championed Canadian music and supported the creation of new works through premieres, recordings, commissions, workshops with composers, and our annual composition competition, held since 2017. Prizes for the competition have been generously provided by an anonymous supporter.

Winning competition entries are represented on several Chronos recordings, and have been performed at Podium and ACDA conferences.

This competition is open to diverse entries, aligned with the Western classical canon or from outside that tradition, including works which explore aleatoric and indeterminate elements, or use graphic notation. Submissions should be suited to the strengths and limitations of our ensemble as evidenced in our recordings and history of performance. 

Prizes for this competition have been provided by an anonymous donor, whose generous support is greatly appreciated.

Entries are evaluated anonymously by a jury of Canadian choral professionals, assisted by Chronos Vocal Ensemble’s Artistic Director.

Prizes

  • The winning composition will be premiered by Chronos Vocal Ensemble. 
  • The composer will receive a recording of the performance.
  • A prize of $1500 will be awarded.

Eligibility

  • Composer must be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or landed immigrant.
  • The work submitted must be original, rather than an arrangement of a pre-existing work or melody.
  • The composition must not have been commissioned, published, performed or recorded at the time of entry. It is not required that the composition be newly-written.

See complete Competition Guidelines for all the details.

Composition Competition FAQs

Chronos Vocal Ensemble supports the creation and performance of new Canadian choral music. We want to see and hear more new music from a diversity of Canadian composers from many regions, backgrounds and stages of career. We offer this competition as one way of contributing to the creation and dissemination of new Canadian works to the public, for those composers seeking such an opportunity. This initiative works in tandem with our other efforts to commission, premiere and promote new music; some of those efforts are reflected on our New Music Projects page. 

 

In addition to the prize which is generously funded by an anonymous donor, the annual competition incurs significant additional costs including honoraria for our jury, and the staff time to direct and administer the process. As with compensating all artists, compensating our jury is important to us. Entry fees have helped to offset about 30% of non-prize costs.

Composers may submit already-written works, and a small entry fee may provide an incentive to submit entries that are a good fit for the competition, in consideration of the jury’s time. 

All composers may request a summary of jury feedback, which will be made available within 6 weeks of announcing the results. We expect that this feedback from leading choral professionals on a composer’s submission will create value for many composers. Composers’ names can be revealed to the jury members upon their request following the completion of the competition, which may create opportunities for composers of non-winning entries.

Finally, the jury may offer honourable mention to certain entries; if a composer’s work is identified as such, we can publicize that information according to the composer’s preference.

We have not restricted the competition based on factors such as age, training, or career experience. Since works are not required to be newly-written for eligibility, composers are not required to do unpaid creative work to enter the competition. We have set our entry fee low, aiming to limit this as a barrier while achieving the aims of the competition.

While we expect submissions that are well-suited to our ensemble, we welcome works that will challenge the ensemble in various ways; this may include unique scoring techniques, less-familiar (to us) languages or musical idioms, and other aspects that may widen the circle of compositional voices that may produce a winning entry. To assist the jury in understanding elements that may be unfamiliar in the music, we have included the option to submit a technical note (see details in guidelines).

A competition that separates identity from musical craft can provide value to a wide variety of artists, removing barriers around self-promotion, identity, career status and more. We recognize that not all compositions may have equal chances of success in an anonymous competition. Indeed, not all artworks are well-served by anonymous assessment. We also trust that a variety of initiatives (including our own) are increasing the wealth and diversity of new music over time, and that this will be increasingly reflected in the range of competition entries and winners.

Fall 2023 Chronos Composition Competition Guidelines Cover
Fall 2023 Guidelines and Requirements

Past Winners

2023 Gerda Blok-Wilson – I Am Not Yours

2022 Carmine Lappano – Arise, Arise!

2021 Edward Enman – All the love that lies beneath 

2020 Leonard Enns – A Little More Time

2019 Stuart Beatch – Your Stars to Hold 

2018 Paul Aitken – Au Clair de la Lune

2017 Nicholas Ryan Kelly – Little Bells

Past Jurors

Shireen Abu-Khader
Stuart Beatch
Julia Davids
Jamie Hillman
Paula Kremer
Graeme Langager
Melissa Morgan
Leonard Ratzlaff
Rachel Rensink-Hoff
Timothy Shantz
Jean-Sebastien Vallée
Trent Worthington