Throughout history, music has provided hope and healing at some of our societies’ most challenging times. Last year, we launched The King’s Singers New Music Prize to recognize, develop, and encourage creativity in today’s world – in the hope of leaving it a musically richer place than we found it. The New Music Prize was open to residents of the U.S.A. and Canada.
Hundreds of submissions across four categories, one series of free digital masterclasses, and a panel of eight world-renowned judges later, we are thrilled finally to reveal the names of all of our winning and commended composers and their compositions.
To honour the imagination and skill of our four winners, we have partnered with publisher Walton Music, to offer them the chance to have their works made available for public performance, as well as awarding them each a $1,500 prize. Their winning compositions will be performed in a celebratory online gala concert, broadcast from both the United Kingdom and the Washington National Cathedral, alongside selections of music from The King’s Singers and Cathedra, one of the capital’s leading choirs, led by the Cathedral’s Director of Music, Michael McCarthy. To commemorate this celebratory occasion, each of the four winning composers will be provided with a recording of their composition.
The New Music Prize has been 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.
Jonathan Howard, bass in The King’s Singers and the group’s representative on the New Music Prize jury, tells us, “In a year full of challenges, setbacks and divisions, we were all profoundly encouraged and inspired by the number of first-rate composers – of all ages and from all walks of life across North America – who felt moved to write a brand new piece of music for this competition. Our primary aim for the New Music Prize was always to promote how valuable both creativity and music can be for revitalising and restoring us. This was evidenced across every category. We are thrilled finally to be able to acknowledge all of our winning and commended entrants, and on behalf of all The King’s Singers, I’d like to thank each of you who took the time to write a piece – it’s truly moved and humbled us all.”
Watch the celebratory Prize event featuring the world premiere performances of the winning pieces alongside music sung by Washington National Cathedral’s choir, Cathedra, and sets from The King’s Singers. This webcast performance is part of Washington National Cathedral’s Sacred Choral Music Online Festival, Sunday Feb 28th at 4pm ET.
Tickets are $10, available through Washington National Cathedral’s website.
Eli Hooker Reese (MN) – When All Falls Silent
Winner, category 1 (SATB, composers under 18)
Parker Kitterman (PA) – The Singing Bowl
Winner, category 2 (SATB, composers 18+)
Jeremy Beck (KY) – Invitation to Love
Winner, category 3 (Children’s Choir)
Geert D’hollander (FL) – When All Falls Silent
Winner, category 4 (The King’s Singers)
Spencer Robert Sanders (UT) – Invitation to Love
category 1 (SATB, composers under 18)
Eric T Knechtges (OH) – The Singing Bowl
category 2 (SATB, composers 18+)
Marianne Forman (CA) – The Gift to Sing
category 3 (Children’s Choir)
Yizhang Liu (MO) – When All Falls Silent
category 4 (The King’s Singers)
Category 1 (SATB, u-18)
Emma Hennessy (NY) – When All Falls Silent (Chair’s Commendation)
Benjamin Seonho Lee (MN) – When All Falls Silent
Category 2 (SATB, 18+)
Carol Barnett (MN) – When All Falls Silent
Saunder Choi (CA) – Invitation to Love
Rob Dietz (CA) – The Gift to Sing
Sam C Henderson (CO) – Invitation to Love
Andrew Jonathan Maxfield (UT) – The Singing Bowl
Category 3 (Children’s Choir)
Jeffrey Newberry (Ontario) – The Singing Bowl
Category 4 (The King’s Singers)
Emily Mason (VA) – Invitation to Love
Till Meyn (TX) – Invitation to Love
Chun Ting (Marco) Chan (MO) – When All Falls Silent (The King’s Singers Commendation)
+ Gabriela Lena Frank (composer and pianist, Chairperson of the Jury)
+ Elise Bradley, MNZM (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)
+ Michael McCarthy (Director of Music, Washington National Cathedral)
+ Francisco J. Núñez (Director, Young People’s Chorus of New York City)
+ Mack J. Wilberg (Music Director, The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square)
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
+ The Singing Bowl – Malcolm Guite
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!
The King’s Singers New Music Prize is presented by Music Productions, Producers and Artist Managers.
The King’s Singers at Washington National Cathedral, 2018
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