New Music Prize

In association with Washington National Cathedral and Walton Music
generously supported by The King’s Singers Global Foundation & Ronald C. Gunnell
Entries Closed October 16, 2020


Throughout history, music has provided hope and healing at some of societies’ most challenging times. In 2020, we launched The King’s Singers New Music Prize to recognize, develop, and encourage a spirit of musical creativity in today’s world. Through this Prize, we hope to leave the world a musically richer place than we found it.

Entries opened on Tuesday, July 21, 2020
Entries closed on Friday, October 16, 2020
+  Winners will be announced on Thursday, December 3, 2020
The event at Washington National Cathedral is planned for Sunday, February 28, 2021

With free entry, four categories, a panel of world-renowned judges and a choice of five beautiful texts to set, our primary aim for the New Music Prize is to encourage creativity, both in experienced and in upcoming composers. In order to help composers to develop their craft, we have created a series of free digital masterclasses with leading figures from the world of composition. To recognize the imagination and skill of our four winners, we have partnered with publisher Walton Music to offer the chance to have their works made available for performance, alongside a $1,500 prize, and the goal of premiering their works in Washington National Cathedral on Sunday February 28 2021, as part of a dedicated event (circumstances permitting). The winning composers will also be provided with a recording of their composition, captured on this celebratory occasion.

The New Music Prize is generously supported by Ronald C. Gunnell and The King’s Singers Global Foundation, and forms part of the Foundation’s vision for #FindingHarmony in our divided world.



  Category 1: A composition for 4-part SATB Choir (Composers under 18)
+ Category 2: A composition for 4-part SATB Choir (Composers aged 18 and above)
+ Category 3: A composition for children’s choir
+ Category 4: A composition for The King’s Singers



We worked with historian, poet and leading choral lyricist, Charles Anthony Silvestri, to identify five texts for use in the New Music Prize.  Sincere thanks to Charles Anthony Silvestri for writing When All Falls Silent especially for this Prize, and to Malcolm Guite for allowing this project to use his poem, The Singing Bowl.

  When All Falls Silent  –  Charles Anthony Silvestri
+  The Gift to Sing  –  James Weldon Johnson 
I Had No Time To Hate  –  Emily Dickinson
+  Invitation to love  –  Paul Laurence Dunbar
+  Singing Bowl  –  Malcolm Guite

The Judges

Elise Bradley (Director, Toronto Children’s Chorus)
Stacey V. Gibbs (composer and arranger)
+  Jonathan Howard (The King’s Singers, 2010- )
+  David Hurley (The King’s Singers, 1991 – 2016)
+  Gabriela Lena Frank
 (composer and pianist)
Michael McCarthy (Director of Music, Washington National Cathedral)
+  Francisco J. Núñez (Director, Young Peoples Chorus of New York City)
+  Mack J. Wilberg (Music Director, The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square)


Digital Workshops

A series of digital workshops was streamed live on YouTube throughout the month of August 2020. The workshops are available to watch on the links below.

Charles Anthony Silvestri: Poet, Lyricist, Historian – The Marriage of Words and Music

Eric Whitacre: Composer, Conductor – Writing for Voices
+  Bob Chilcott: Composer, Conductor, Singer – Thoughts on Musical Line, Shape and Structure
+  Valérie Sainte-Agathe: Music Director, Conductor – Writing for Young Voices
Alec Harris and Susan LaBarr: Walton Music, GIA Publications – Demystifying Music Publishing and Copyright: Your questions answered!


Download the Information Pack



The King’s Singers at Washington National Cathedral, 2018



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