New Music Prize Jury Commended


Emma Hennessy (NY)
– Category 1 (SATB, u18) – Chair’s Commendation
Benjamin Seonho Lee (IL) – Category 1 (SATB, u18)
Carol Barnett (MN) – Category 2 (SATB, 18+)
Saunder Choi (CA) – Category 2 (SATB, 18+)
Rob Dietz (CA) – Category 2 (SATB, 18+)
Sam C Henderson (CO) – Category 2 (SATB, 18+)
Andrew Jonathan Maxfield (UT) – Category 2 (SATB, 18+)
Jeffrey Newberry (Ontario) – Category 3 (Children’s Choir)
Emily Mason (VA) – Category 4 (The King’s Singers)
Till Meyn (TX) – Category 4 (The King’s Singers)
Chun Ting (Marco) Chan (MO) – Category 4 (The King’s Singers) – The King’s Singers Commendation




Jury Commended, Chair’s Commendation, Category 1


When All Falls Silent

Jury comment: Emma Hennessy is to be commended for a strong and distinctive point of view, and a good sense of fun. 

I’m sixteen and a junior in high school. I live in Queens, New York, with my mom and my cat, but I grew up in Switzerland, and moved to the United States in 2013. When I was about twelve I became interested in learning to play piano, so I used a website to learn and after I’d begun to improve my mom signed me up for in-person lessons. I really loved it, and by the time high school started I was playing in the orchestra. Earlier this year, after buying an acoustic piano, I started composing. I started out writing just for the piano, but have tried my hand at other instruments as well as choral pieces. I’ve been a Soprano I in my school’s chamber choir for years, so I was excited to compose something for a choir. My favorite works have dark tones, a lot of dissonance, and a dramatic climax, and I wanted to write something like that- When All Falls Silent felt like the kind of grand poem that would go with it perfectly. I love music, and am amazed every day at how beautiful it can be. I’m sure it’s going to be a part of my life for years to come.



Jury Commended, Category 1


When All Falls Silent

Jury comment: Benjamin Seonho Lee receives a well-deserved commendation for a work of balanced harmonies and intriguing counterpoint that shows off the individual qualities of each voice. 

Benjamin Lee started playing music in 2nd grade. Like most people, his first instrument was the piano. He then began playing the viola in his school orchestra in 4th grade. His musical journey took an unexpected turn in 8th grade, when he tried his hand at arranging a piece for his unusual string quartet (1 violin, 2 violas, 1 cello) for a school ensemble competition, though he had no prior experience with music arrangement. Arranging the piece made him appreciative of the music-writing process and sparked a desire to write his own music. In 9th grade he succeeded in composing his first piece and he hasn’t looked back since. He feels there is something amazing about creating music that others enjoy, especially when it’s personal and you put a lot of time into it, because it means that people resonate with his own creative vision and decisions. Besides composing, he plays soccer, basketball, and video games. He also likes spending time with a pet rabbit who has been with the family for over 11 years.




Jury Commended, Category 2


When All Falls Silent

Jury comment: It is a privilege to commend Carol E Barnett on this poignantly lovely work filled with surprising lilts and contrapuntal movement between the voices. 

Carol Barnett’s music has been called audacious and engaging. Her varied catalog includes works for solo voice, piano, chorus, diverse chamber ensembles, orchestra, and wind ensemble.

She was awarded the 2003 Nancy Van de Vate International Prize for Opera for her chamber opera, Snow, and her music theater work Meeting at Seneca Falls was featured at the 2006 Diversity Festival in Red Wing, MN. The World Beloved: A Bluegrass Mass, commissioned in 2006 by VocalEssence and written with Marisha Chamberlain, had its Carnegie Hall debut in February 2013, and has become a favorite across the country. Recent works include My People Are Rising, for Elektra Women’s Choir; Longing for Home, a song cycle for Source Song Festival; and Will’s Ladies, a Shakespeare cycle for mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski and the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.

Barnett is a charter member of the American Composers Forum and a graduate of the University of Minnesota, where she studied composition with Dominick Argento and Paul Fetler. She was composer-in-residence with the Dale Warland Singers from 1992 to 2001, and a member of the adjunct faculty at Augsburg College from 2000 to 2015.

Further information is available at




Jury Commended, Category 2


Invitation to Love

Jury comment: A distinctive melodic style and an adroit use of the full ensemble with soloistic lines are the hallmarks of the entry by Saunder Choi, earning a well-deserved commendation.

Saunder Choi is a Los Angeles-based Filipino composer and choral artist. He has been commissioned and performed by the Philippine Madrigal Singers, Los Angeles Master Chorale Chamber Singers, L.A. Choral Lab, Sacra/Profana, Indianapolis Symphonic Choir, World Youth Choir, Asia Pacific Youth Choir, and many others. As an arranger and orchestrator, Saunder has written for Tony-Award winner Lea Salonga, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Orquestra Filarmónica Portuguesa, ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra, Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra, New York Gay Men’s Chorus, Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, and many others.

As a choral artist, he regularly sings with the L.A. Choral Lab, Pacific Chorale, C3LA, Tonality and HEX Vocal Ensemble. He is a SAG-AFTRSAUA singer and recorded in the soundtrack of Disney’s The Lion King (2019), Mulan (2020) live action remake, The Call of the Wild (2020), etc. He is currently Director of Music at Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Santa Monica and a teaching artist with the Los Angeles Master Chorale Voices Within and Oratorio Project.

Born in Manila, Philippines, Saunder holds degrees from De La Salle University – Manila, Berklee College of Music, and the USC Thornton School of Music. His works are published and distributed by MusicSpoke, Earthsongs, MuzikSea and See-A-Dot Music Publishing.



Jury Commended, Category 2


The Gift to Sing

Jury comment: Rob Dietz is to be commended for a work that is classic and pleasing to the ear, yet with a strong contemporary feel in its ever-rising lines and open harmonies.

Rob Dietz is a multiple CARA winning producer who has been arranging, composing, teaching, and performing contemporary a cappella music for over fifteen years. Based in Los Angeles, Rob is best known for his work as an arranger and group coach for NBC’s The Sing-Off. As a performer he is an award-winning vocal percussionist, and his distinctive sound has been featured on several TV shows, including FOX’s Glee and The Late Late Show with James Corden.

Rob has a deep passion for education, and is a founding co-director of A Cappella Academy. In addition to his work with Academy, Rob is also the director of Legacy – an auditioned, community youth a cappella group based in Los Angeles. Rob led the group to win the International Championship of High School A Cappella in 2018.

Alongside his work in contemporary a cappella, Rob is also an avid choral composer, with work published by Alfred Music Publishing. His compositions have been performed by choirs all over the world, and are recognized for their distinct fusion of traditional choral writing and an exciting, modern pop aesthetic.

Rob’s setting can be seen and heard here:
Twitter and Instagram: @rdietz55



Jury Commended, Category 2


Invitation to Love

Jury comment: A rich and lush tapestry of layered rhythms between the voices and a skilled balance between controlled homophony and strikingly freer sections earns an enthusiastic commendation for Sam C Henderson.

With a Bachelor of Music in both Composition and Vocal Performance from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, Sam C Henderson exhibits a fervent passion for making music in both senses of the phrase. Henderson’s history with choral music – starting in 2005 with the then-named Conspirare Children’s Choir – has introduced him to the worlds of singing, composing, arranging, and even beatboxing!

Inspired by the versatility of vocal production, Henderson’s compositional voice emphasizes timbral interaction and textured sonority within and between individual voices. This is most prevalent in his dense yet intimate choral works Quarantine Bagatelle and Twofold Silence, his playfully ambient two-piano piece Interstices of Moonlit Trees, and his ventures into electro-acoustic music, including his operetta Coming to This. Henderson supplements his work with arranging and transcription services, primarily assisting choirs, chamber ensembles, and vocalists over the years. To contact Sam C Henderson or peruse his scores, recordings, and other projects, visit

Presently, Sam lives in Colorado pursuing a Master of Music in Composition at University of Colorado Boulder. Unable to escape music even in his extramusical ventures, Sam C Henderson also works for the Grammy® award-winning choral ensemble Conspirare as Gift Processing and Database Coordinator.



Jury Commended, Category 2


The Singing Bowl

Jury comment: Andrew Jonathan Maxfield is to be commended for a commanding sense of harmonies and spatial voices particularly beautiful in the SATB medium.

The compositions of ANDREW MAXFIELD—hailed as “rhythmically vital … superbly judged … [and] tender” by Fanfare Magazine—have been performed throughout the U.S. and Europe. Andrew has been a Composer Fellow of the National Collegiate Choral Organization and Composer-in-Residence for Newburyport Choral Society. Recent commissions include choral works for the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, Hillsdale College, and Salem Hills High School; an orchestral adaptation of the Caldecott honor book, They All Saw A Cat, for the Center for Latter-day Saint Arts in New York City; and a concert-length score for SALT Contemporary Dance, showcased at Lincoln Center. His album, Celebrating Wendell Berry in Music, was released by Tantara Records and his “well-crafted, approachable” works (Dr. George Case, The Boston Cecilia) are published by Walton, Santa Barbara, and Yalecrest. Ensembles which have performed Andrew’s music recently include USC Thornton Chamber Singers, Emporia Symphony Orchestra, Carroll University Symphonic Band and Choir, Wingate University Singers, Utah Philharmonic, The Piedmont Singers, University of Pennsylvania Chamber Choir, and Choral Arts Initiative. For more info, visit



Jury Commended, Category 3


The Singing Bowl

Jury comment: Jeffrey Newberry has written a piece that would be a joy for children to learn and perform, embracing percussion and playing with rhythms in a way that was really engaging.

Jeffrey Newberry is a musician and educator with a reputation for his engaging and energetic style. As a composer and arranger, Jeff’s work draws from his diverse background in classical, pop, and theatre resulting in music that is dynamic and layered.

At the Toronto District School Board, Jeff is the Music Curriculum Leader for the Virtual Secondary School, home to some 18,000 students from across the city. He teaches vocal music and drama, and his choirs have won top honours at local and national competitions. In 2018, Jeff and his students launched an in-house record label to showcase student song-writing.

As music director, Jeff has worked on dozens of productions at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Stratford Springworks Festival, Summerworks Performance Festival, Toronto Fringe Festival, and Next Stage Theatre Festival. Jeff has led workshops and professional development sessions for the teacher education programs at OISE, Queen’s, and York University, and at provincial conferences for music and drama educators.

Jeff holds a Bachelor of Music (University of Toronto), a Bachelor of Education (Queen’s University, Artist In Community Education), an Honours Specialist in Vocal Music (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education) and is currently pursuing a Master’s degree (York University).


King’s Singers Commended, Category 4


When All Falls Silent

King’s Singers comment: This piece caught the attention of The King’s Singers particularly because of the way it explores what’s possible with the human voice in the course of a performance. There seem to be no limitations on tone or colour, and there was a strong sense of the meaning of the poem coming through in the composition. We would be very keen to observe this composer’s trajectory, and to see how else he could write for voices in such a captivating way.

Born in 1999, Chun Ting (Marco) Chan’s music can be heard in Hong Kong and the United States. His music is demanded by performers, with recent commissions from CANTUS12 (Hong Kong) and the University of Missouri-Kansas City (USA). His work Soar for Chinese orchestra was recently selected into the Net Festival call for scores organized by the Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra. A passionate advocate for choral music, he has performed, conducted, or assisted several choruses in Hong Kong and United States. As a Hong Kong native, he promotes Cantonese, his mother tongue, by writing Cantonese texts for his compositions and setting them to his choral works. His upcoming projects include commissions from Eric Brennan and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, as well as an evening-long recital of his music. He is currently pursuing his B.M. in Composition at the University of Missouri-Kansas City under the tutelage of Chen Yi, Zhou Long, and Yotam Haber.



Jury Commended, Category 4


Invitation to Love

Jury comment: Emily Mason deserves this commendation for, quite simply, writing something truly beautiful, that the jury would love to hear The King’s Singers sing. The harmonies are predominantly simple yet effective, and the setting of the text was both sympathetic and evocation. A job very well done.

Emily C. Mason is a multi-instrumentalist and composer residing in Northern Virginia. Her compositions have enchanted audiences in the DC area and across the United States. In December 2019, her setting of Robert Frost’s famous poem, “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening” for string orchestra and tenor was premiered by Marco Panuccio and the Cincinnati Conservatory Strings in Panuccio’s Emmy® Nominated O Holy Night national concert tour. Several of Emily’s art songs have been premiered at concerts in the DC area in the last two years.

Emily started out as an instrumentalist, performing on harp, piano, and organ for twelve years before discovering a love for composing in 2017. Since then, she has been tirelessly writing for individual artists and concerts, as well as for two choirs and two youth orchestras which she directed until July 2020. Among her proudest and most challenging accomplishments was The Bach Project, a personal study modelled after J.S. Bach’s practice of composing new music weekly for an entire liturgical year. She hopes to have the opportunity to formally study composition and further hone her skills.



Jury Commended, Category 4


Invitation to Love

Jury comment: Till Meyn has written a piece that would be a joy both to programme and to hear. The textural variations in the piece provide strong senses of journey and intrigue, and the part-writing is exemplary, taking full advantage of what each singer can do best.

Till MacIvor Meyn is Professor of Theory and Composition at Texas Christian University. He earned degrees from U.C. San Diego, Indiana University, and USC’s Thornton School of Music. Till’s music has had international performances in Switzerland, France, Italy, Cuba, China, Spain, Ukraine, and Slovenia. Performances of his music in the United States include those at Carnegie Hall, Bass Performance Hall, Clarinet Fest, the Biennial Saxophone Congress, The Florida State University Festival of New Music, the Society for Composers, Inc. National and Regional Conventions, National Flute Association Conventions, the College Music Society National Convention, at the Manhattan School of Music, and at the Intercollegiate Men’s Choruses National Seminar at Harvard, among others. Till is often commissioned to compose new works, most recently to open the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra’s 2019 – 2020 season.

He was a featured composer at the Cliburn at the Modern series, a finalist in the NFA Newly Published Music Competition for ‘Urban Ragas,’ and earned first prize in the NACUSA Texas Composition Contest for ‘Celestial Mechanics.’ Till’s music is published by Muse Worthy Music, Alliance Music Publications, GIA Publications, ECS Publishing, C. Alan Publications, and ALRY Publications.

For further information about Till’s music, please visit

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