Calling DFW Composers: Verdigris Ensemble Announces Third Annual ION Composer Competition

Submissions will be accepted through March 22

Verdigris Ensemble composer competition
Richard Hill

Verdigris Ensemble is looking for homegrown inspiration. The Dallas choral ensemble announced its third annual ION Composer Competition. Due to the February winter storm, submissions are now being accepted through March 22.

Established in 2018, the competition’s goal is to foster and promote North Texas compositional talent. The competition consists of three categories: Middle and High School, College and Adult.

Verdigris Ensemble is looking for pieces suitable for a 16-part choir. The pieces may be acapella or accompanied by a range of instrumentation. Prizes include a $500 cash prize, a professional headshot and consideration for an upcoming Verdigris Ensemble performance.

Verdigris Ensemble Composer competition 2
Richard Hill
Verdigris commissioned composer, David Ross Lawn, waits for the world premiere Faces of Dallas concert to start at Arts Mission Oak Cliff.

Verdigris Ensemble has made key changes to the competition. Composers are asked to submit already written scores rather than have composers create something according to specific guidelines. Verdigris Ensemble intends to commission ION winners for specific works, as appropriate. The choral ensemble hopes to develop relationships through these commissions.

The competition will offer a free webinar in January to explain the process of the competition and answer any questions. The webinar will feature Sam Brukhman, Verdigris Ensemble’s artistic director, and Michelle Tompkins, Verdigris Ensemble singer and composer.

A panel of three judges will consider the submissions. Quinn Mason is a composer and conductor based in Dallas. Quinn has been described as “a brilliant composer just barely in his 20s who seems to make waves wherever he goes.” (Theater Jones) and "one of the most sought-after young composers in the country" (Texas Monthly). His orchestral music has been performed in concert by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, South Bend Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Seattle, New Texas Symphony Orchestra, and the Mission Chamber Orchestra.

Sungji Hong is from South Korea and is a professor at UNT. Over the last decade, Sungji's music has been performed by leading players and ensembles in over 44 countries and 205 cities. Her music has been widely broadcast in more than 17 countries (37 channels) and has been recorded and released on the Soundbrush, Elektramusic, Atoll, Dutton label and by ECM Records. Her music is published by Da Vinci Edition, SEEMSA and Tetractys Publishing.

Verdigris Ensemble Erinn Sensenig
Dickie Hill
Soprano Erinn Sensenig sings a solo during Verdigris Ensemble's world premiere of Anthony J. Maglione's Dust Bowl in February.

Anthony J. Maglione’s choral works are growing in popularity and are published on GIA’s “Evoking Sound” choral series. In the last several years his music has appeared at state and national-level conventions, on TV, in video games, and has been recorded on Gothic Records, Albany Records, and Centaur Records. Maglione was commissioned by Verdigris Ensemble in 2020 to create Dust Bowl.

Previous winners of the ION Composer Competition have had their music published by publishing companies such as The Chorister’s Guild and called “Editor’s Choice” by J.W. Pepper Online Music Distribution. The 2019-2020 winners were Noah Salem for the Middle and High School Division, Graham Day for the College Division, and Hee Yun Kim for the Adult Division.

Salem’s winning piece was You Are Not Alone. Salem is a young composer who began studying Music Composition at the University of North Texas this fall. He graduated as Valedictorian from the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts (FWAFA), where he was a member of the Texas Boys Choir (TBC). He took composition classes with and has recently published his first piece under the direction of, Mr. Victor C. Johnson. His piece was named an Editor’s Choice by JW Pepper after its publication. Noah hopes to build a career in film scoring, while continuing to write for choral ensembles

Verdigris Ensemble Composer 3
Richard Hill
Composer Victor Johnson embraces student and ION honorable mention, Noah Salem, after his work was world premiered at Faces of Dallas.

Day’s winning piece was The Wise Pale King (Windows). Day is a composer and countertenor from Flower Mound. He sang with the TPSMEA All-State Choir in 2015, and now sings with the University of North Texas’s A Cappella Choir. Having served in worship ministries for over 10 years, he is currently a section leader for St. Monica Catholic Church in Dallas, and has done work as a songwriter, session musician, and producer throughout the DFW area. He will graduate from UNT next May with a BA in Music and a BM in Voice Performance.

Kim’s winning piece was Quantum Musics. This Dallas-based composer is the recipient of the ArtsActivate 2020, a grant by the city of Dallas, Office of Arts and Culture. Her music has been performed in Europe, Asia, and North America, including New York, Boston, Ottawa, Paris, Amsterdam, Krakow and Seoul. La Lettre du Musicien has reviewed her music as “fully convincing” and “masterfully orchestrated.”

Composers can submit up to three works. There is a fee of $10 for first submission and reduced fee of $5 for each additional submission. While composers are encouraged to submit works around 5 minutes in length, submissions both longer and shorter will be considered.

Learn more: ION Composer Competition — Verdigris Ensemble (verdigrismusic.org)

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