Composition Competition

Cambridge Chamber Singers Composition Competition

Check back soon for details of the 2022-2023 competition!

Submission Criteria

  1. Original composition for a cappella, 4-6 part mixed choir, occasional divisi is acceptable;
  2. Approximately three to six minutes long;
  3. Not previously performed in Massachusetts;
  4. Anonymous submission:
    • Remove all names and identifying marks from scores and recordings
    • The judging panel will only see scores and recordings, all other information will remain hidden.
  5. Submit a legible score. In addition, recordings or synthesized versions are strongly encouraged but are not required;
  6. A maximum of two different scores may be submitted by each composer;
  7. If the text is not public domain, submit written permission to use it
  8. You must submit electronically. Attachments larger than 10MB are blocked, so use a file transfer helper such as Dropbox, Google Drive, SendStuffNow or WeTransfer, for larger audio files.

The prize for the winning composition is $700. The piece will also be performed by the Cambridge Chamber Singers at their two concerts in the Boston area. CCS encourages the composer’s attendance.

The Cambridge Chamber Singers reserves the right to not award a prize.

There are no restrictions according to age or residency. The text may be in any language. A composer may submit no more than two pieces, but composers are welcome to resubmit non-winning works again.

Composers will receive an e-mail confirming their completed application at the close of the competition. Before that time, composers will only be contacted if their submission is incomplete.

Please direct any questions to competition@cambridgemadrigals.org.


2022 winner

June 30, 2022
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USAThe Cambridge Chamber Singers is pleased to announce that the winner of the year’s 2022 CCS International Choral Composition Competition is Ily Matthew Maniano, of the Philippines, for his work Creations Crescendo. The piece is the culminating movement of a set entitled “Songs from the Other Side,” and is a setting of a fragment of the Book of Revelation.  Creations Crescendo distinguished itself for its fresh rhythmic energy, its appropriateness to the choral idiom, and its powerful musical expression of joy! The composer will receive a $700 prize and two performances on our spring 2023 concerts in the Boston area.

This composition competition, one of the preeminent classical a cappella competitions, is now in its 25th year.  This year the Cambridge Chamber Singers received 418 scores from 37 states and 34 countries.  We had entries from all six permanently inhabited continents.

For more information about the composer, see https://www.ilymatthewmaniano.com/about


Past winners:

  • 2020-2021 [Pandemic break]
  • 2019 Andrew Davis, Wellesley, MA, USA – On the Nature of Things
  • 2018 Gilad Hochman, Israel – Beyond Nine Lakes
  • 2017 David von Kampen, Lincoln, NE, USA – Here Among the Flowers
    • 2017 Honorable Mention: Jean Ahn, San Francisco, CA, USA – Folksong Revisited: Gangwondo Arirang
  • 2016 Hamid Mardkhanjari, Tehran, Iran – Konus Kale
  • 2015 Kelly-Marie Murphy, Ottawa, Canada – Miserere
  • 2013-2014 [Administrative break]
  • 2012 Nick Omiccioli, Kansas City, MO – A Song of Joys
  • 2011 Gregory Zavracky, Jamaica Plain, MA – Sighs are my Food
  • 2010 Giselle Wyers, Lake Forest Park, WA- Love and Wine (commission)
  • 2009 Elizabeth Kennedy Bayer, Phoenix, AZ – One Day When It’s Winter
  • 2008 Stephen Feigenbaum, New Haven, CT – Clair de lune
  • 2007 Joshua Shank, Austin, TX – A Grass-Green Pillow
  • 2006 Abbie Betinis, Saint Paul, MN – Carmina Mei Cordis (Songs of My Heart)
  • 2005 David Schneider, Bloomington, IN, USA – O Colonia
  • 2004 Sydney Guillaume, Miami, FL, USA – Kalinda
  • 2003 Paul Carey, Oak Park, IL, USA – Esta Tarde
  • 2002 Giselle Wyers, Boise, ID, USA – Ave Maria
  • 2001 Ulrike Emanuelsson, Lund, Sweden – Rosten ur morkret sjunger
  • 2000 Julian Wachner, Boston, MA, USA – there is a moon sole
  • 1999 Jason Bahr, Urbana, IL, USA – Psaume 1
  • 1998 Forrest Pierce, Urbana, IL, USA – Song of Songs
  • 1997 Tsippi Fleischer, Tel Aviv, Israel – No Hand has Touched You