The Ruth Watson Henderson Choral Composition Competition is a biennial contest for new choral works with categories alternating between pieces for treble voice choirs and pieces for mixed voice adult choirs. The competition exists to provide Canadian composers with an opportunity of contributing to Canada’s rich choral tradition through the writing of original choral works. The winning entry receives a premiere performance with one of the Ontario choirs and a cash award of $2,000.00.
1. The composition must be an original SATB work, 4-6 minutes, a cappella or piano accompaniment
2. A cappella submissions MUST include piano reduction.
3. Texts may be sacred or secular and can be in languages other than English/French. The text must be either original, known to be in public domain or be accompanied by a letter of permission from copyright owner.
4. All submissions must not have been previously commissioned, published or performed and
must have been composed within the last two years. Arrangements of previously composed works are not acceptable. The composer shall retain the copyright of the work.
5. Previous competition finalists reapplying must submit a different piece.
Please submit a PDF copy of your composition without you name anywhere on the body of composition. The PDF copy must be clear, clean and legible. No handwritten scores will be considered. Graphic scores may be a PDF scan of a written score if applicable.
• $40 Application Fee applies and should be sent via e-Transfer to email@example.com
You will also need a cover letter that includes the following information:
1. Composer’s name
2. Physical Address
3. Phone Number
4. Email Address
5. Composition Title
6. Text Source
Judging criteria includes, but is not limited to:
1. Compositional structure
2. Voice Leading
3. Harmonic language
4. Adherence to concert theme
5. Text selection and setting
6. Piano accompaniment (if applicable)
7. General understanding of choral idiom
All entries must be submitted by November 1, 2019 to be considered. The winner will be notified no later than February 15, 2020. Please send submissions to Choirs Ontario Managing Director at firstname.lastname@example.org
History of the Composition
The competition was born out of a concert held in November 1992 to honour Ruth’s 60th birthday including Toronto Children’s Chorus, Elmer Iseler Singers, Amadeus Choir, Bach Children’s Chorus, Elora Festival Singers, Oriana Women’s Choir, and TMC Youth Chorus. The proceeds of this joint concert were used to establish the RWH competition. The administration of the competition was handed over to Choirs Ontario with Ruth Watson Henderson involved in judging the competition up until 2017.
One of Canada’s foremost musicians, Ruth Watson Henderson is renowned internationally both as a composer and pianist. Her works are acclaimed, performed, and recorded worldwide. The Ruth Watson Henderson Choral Competition was established in 1996 to recognize Ms. Watson Henderson’s invaluable contribution to the art of choral music. Ms. Henderson is very pleased to encourage the contribution to Canadian choral music that the competition provides, and appreciates the work of Choirs Ontario who administers this program.