Organ Commission Competition

Sponsored by Hendricks Chapel at Syracuse University

Hendricks Chapel at Syracuse University hosted a first-ever commission competition for a new work for solo organ in March 2021. This competition was an outgrowth of the Composing for the Organ project created by Anne Laver and Natalie Draper, faculty members in the Setnor School of Music.

Applicants were asked to submit an unpublished, completed work for solo organ. Parameters were that the work be between five and ten minutes in duration, that would be playable on the chapel’s 1952 Holtkamp organ, and that it be appropriate for a premiere on the chapel’s Music and Message series. In addition to their piece, composers were asked to submit a brief statement describing how their piece might connect with Music and Message series programming.

Composers of all ages and nationalities were encouraged to enter.

We received over 100 submissions for this competition! In addition to many submissions from the United States, we received submissions from composers working in Eastern and Western Europe, South and Central America, and Africa. The overwhelming response and the high quality of submissions are compelling reasons to offer this competition again in the near future.

The first prize recipient for this award is Ian Shaw for his work Solomon and the Gnat. Given the large number of excellent submissions, we decided to award a second prize to Ivan Božičević for his work Rivers of Eden. Ian Shaw will receive a prize of $1500 and Ivan Božičević will receive a prize of $500. Both have been invited to attend the premiere of their works on a Music & Message series program during the 2021-2022 academic year. Details will be available in early fall on the Music and Message webpage.

The Syracuse University faculty who adjudicated this competition included composers Natalie Draper and Nicolas Scherzinger and organists Anne Laver and Alex Meszler.