Award for Young Composers

The Delaware ChoralArts 2016-2017
Competition for Young Composers
The winner of the competition will receive a $500 cash award and their composition will be performed by Delaware ChoralArts.

The competition is open to applicants who will be thirty (30) years old or younger as of May 15, 2017 (extended from April 1).

The winning composition will be selected by a jury. Submissions must be original choral compositions of 3-8 minutes duration. This year’s composition may be in any style, but must be accompanied by piano, organ or small instrumental ensemble, and should be primarily for four parts (SATB). Arrangements or harmonizations of existing works will not be considered. CLICK HERE for the 2016-17 competition guidelines

APPLICATIONCLICK HERE for an application form.

Applications must be received by May 15, 2017.

Winner will be notified by e-mail and officially announced at next DCA concert.

CLICK HERE to email the Chair of the Competition Committee, Bridget Kirk or call her at (302) 562-1048.

Please support young musicians with a tax-free donation.

11896109_1621526374753707_4635327171342258135_n2015 Winner – Nicholas Connors

Nick is an award winning composer, lyricist, actor and music director. He studied at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, graduating in 2015. The Festival of New American Musicals recently awarded him first prize in their Show Search for new American musical theatre writers. The award followed a reading of his new musical Here, In The Park.  With Quinn Elmer, Nicholas is the co-book writer and the composer/lyricist of the musical Space Voyage: The Musical Frontier. His string quartet score for the new play All The Best,Jack premiered in October 2014. He has music directed and written songs for Tony Award-Winner Karen Olivo. As an actor, Nicholas recently played the role of Matt in Fugitive Songs. Away from the stage, he was a finalist in the Mullen Competition for sacred music and writes regularly for choirs and orchestras. Nicholas works and resides in New York City where he has served as music assistant to Stephen Schwartz, Alex Lacamoire and Dominick Amendum, while continuing to compose for the stage and concert hall.

Kristen Halstead, composer

Kristen Halstead is the 2014 winner of DCA’s Award for Young Composers

2014 Winner – Kristen Halstead

Kristen Halstead wins DCA’s 2014 Competition for Young Composers. The winning composition is “The Giver of Stars” (poetry by Amy Lowell). The work will be performed during DCA’s 2014-2015 season. Kristen Halstead received her degree in Music Composition from William Jewell College in Liberty, MO, in 2010, where she studied with Dr. Ian Coleman. She has been awarded several choral composition prizes, including the Meistersinger’s First Annual Composition Contest in 2005 for her choral piece “Mirabile Mysterium,” and the prestigious ACDA Raymond W. Brock Student Composition award for her choral piece, “In Monte Oliveti,” performed at the 2008 Southwestern Division Conference by the University of Kansas Concert Choir. Kristen currently resides in Chicago, IL, where she is a member of the Chicago Choral Artists and an active composer.
Joshua Fishbein, composer

Joshua Fishbein is the 2013 winner of DCA’s Award for Young Composers


The 2013 Winner – Joshua Fishbein

Joshua Fishbein was awarded 1st prize and has received a $500 cash award for his choral composition, “Adon Olam”, performed by the DVC on Sunday, November 24, 2013.

Joshua Fishbein began his musical studies at the Peabody Institute in his native Baltimore, Maryland. After studies at Carnegie-Mellon University and the San Francisco Conservatory, he is now a PhD candidate at UCLA. He has won numerous awards for teaching and composition, including awards for Jewish liturgical music.

“Adon Olam” is perhaps the most common Jewish liturgical hymn, used by Jews worldwide since the 15th century. In western practice, it is included at the end of the Sabbath morning service and as part of the individually recited introduction to the daily morning service. The text is attributed to the poet Solomon ibn Gabirol (1021–1058), although there is little evidence for this. The ubiquity of this text, and its regular metric structure, has led to many musical settings for both performance and for congregational singing. Fishbein’s setting is continuous, and reflects the sense of the text as it moves from describing an omnipotent God to one that is more personal.

Alvin Trotman

Alvin Trotman is the 2012 winner of DCA’s Award for Young Composers

The 2012 Winner – Alvin Trotman

Alvin Trotman was awarded 1st prize and has received a $500 cash award for his choral composition, “Autumn”, performed by the DVC on Sunday, November 24, 2013.

In 2013, Alvin Trotman was a composition student at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. His catalog of compositions includes a number of published works, mostly for chorus. “Autumn” is part of a set of four pieces depicting the seasons, and uses the poem of the same name by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The composer provides the following information on the piece:
“Autumn is my favorite season. I love the colors, the weather, the atmosphere. It is the time of year when trees begin shedding their leaves and the outward manifestations of life and fruitfulness are stripped away. As I began this work, I wanted to create the perfect mood to depict autumn. I took the text from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Autumn Within.” [The piece] begins very calmly with an almost uncertainty in its mood. The piece rises as hope for spring is intensifying; truly there is life… ‘save within [his] lonely breast.’ Yet autumn must finish its course and, in doing so, brings with it a sense of chilling mystery aided by the autumn wind.”

Joshua Groffman

Joshua Groffman is the 2010 winner of DCA’s Award for Young Composers

The 2010 Winner – Joshua Groffman

Groffman was awarded 1st prize and received a $500 cash award for his composition “And Jacob Dreamed…”, which was performed at the DVC Fall concerts on November 14 and 21, 2011.

“And Jacob Dreamed…” is the first movement of the three-part choral work “For you have struggled with God and with men.” The composer provides the following note about this dramatic music:
“And Jacob Dreamed… presents a scene from the life of the Biblical patriarch Jacob, drawing its text from the book of Genesis. The narrative of Jacob’s life shows a high degree of subtlety and nuance in presenting his psychology and actions, and this piece aims to reflect this, showing Jacob at a particular moment in his journey towards wisdom. We see him as a young man, talented, destined for greatness, and a little cocky; waking from his dream, he is awed at the promise God has made him, a promise that will in time require enormous responsibility and effort on his part.”

At the time of the award, Joshua Groffman was a doctoral student in composition at Indiana University. He also attended Cornell University, where he studied composition with Pulitzer-Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky. In addition to piano study beginning at age nine, he has performed in community and school choirs for many years. He describes his music as forward thinking, tonally-based, with a strong rhythmic drive and an emphasis on communicating the essence of the text.


Steve Danyew

Steve Danyew is the 2009 winner of DCA’s Award for Young Composers

The 2009 Winner – Steve Danyew

Steve Danyew of Rochester, NY, was the winner of the Delaware Valley Chorale’s 2009 Choral Composition Competition for Young Composers.
Danyew was awarded 1st prize and has received a $500 cash award for his choral composition,On Green Mountains. This composition was performed by DVC during our Fall concert in 2010. The committee remarked that Danyew’s composition, On Green Mountains, was “well crafted and immediately appealing for the choir to perform and an audience to hear.” Other reviewers have hailed Danyew’s music as “startlingly beautiful,” and rich with feeling.”
Steve Danyew received his B.M. in Music Theory and Composition with honors from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami in May 2006, where he served as President of the University of Miami Society of Composers for two years. He was named the 2006 Outstanding Graduate for both the Department of Music Theory and Composition and the Beta Beta chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honors Society at the Frost School of Music. In the summer of 2008, Danyew attended the Yale Summer Music Festival as one of five composer fellows chosen nationally. Danyew has been named as a finalist in the ASCAP Morton Gould Awards three times (2006, 2007, 2008). His choral work Goodnight, Goodnight was awarded 1st prize in the prestigious 2008 Ithaca Choral Composition Competition.

An accomplished saxophonist, Danyew has garnered numerous national awards, honors and prizes spanning several genres. He currently serves in a teaching/mentorship program for underprivileged youth through the Eastman Community Music School in Rochester, NY and is studying towards a M.M. in composition at the Eastman School of Music.

Visit Steve Danyew’s website. Listen.