Choral and Organ Composition Competition

September 11, 2015 in All Opportunities, choral, Composers by mwhiteside

Spark, Greyfriars Festival of Worship and the Arts has launched a composition competition in two categories for a choral work and an organ work as part of its aim to encourage the creation of new music for worship in the church and to mark the 25th birthday of the installation of the Peter Collins pipe organ in Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh.

Composers of all ages are invited to submit an entry in either or both categories.

The judging process will include a public performance finals day in which shortlisted works will be rehearsed and performed by the Quodlibet Chorale,  directed by Iain McLarty, and organists Peter Backhouse (St Giles’ Cathedral Edinburgh) and Henry Wallace (Greyfriars Kirk). The winning entry in each category will receive a cash prize of £800.

The competition judges will be the composer James MacMillan, Hugh MacDonald, co-artistic director of the Lammermuir Festival, and Richard Frazer, Minister of Greyfriars Kirk.

The finals day will also include a plenary interview with James MacMillan and give a chance to learn more from him about his approach to writing choral music, and in particular sacred music.






A prelude of around 5 minutes in length, based upon any one of the following tunes from Church Hymnary Fourth Edition (this book is also published outside Scotland under the title Hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise):

5. Tramps and Hawkers

6. Stroudwater

19. St George’s Edinburgh

21. Garelochside

27. Taladh Chriosta

31. I waited patiently for God

32. Martyrdom

34. Martyrs

43. Resignation

50. Caithness

55. Creator God

59. Irish

69. Dunfermline

70. Kilmarnock

81. French

84. Old 124th

141. Life of the World

158. London New

165. Bonnie George Campbell

237. Cardross

272. St Paul (Aberdeen)

386. Pulling Bracken

425. St Andrew (Tans’ur)

533. Kelvingrove

548. Stracathro

676. Lansdowne

715. Glasgow

716. Lewis Folk Melody

722. Leaving Lismore

724. Dream Angus



An organ-accompanied anthem of around 5 minutes in length, based upon part or all of one of the following Psalms of David:

8, 16, 29, 40, 61, 66, 67, 91, 103.

Composers are free to choose any translation of the psalms and there is no prejudice towards older or more recent translations. The judges may take into account the way that the text and music complement each other.

Compositions should have organ accompaniment and be for maximum forces of SATB choir (no divisi). Other voice combinations such as SABar, two voices or unison are also acceptable. Compositions should be capable of being performed by a competent rather than virtuosic parish choir and organist.

Shortlisted composers’ entries will be rehearsed prior to performance in a public competition final, between 11am-5pm on Saturday 31st October, 2015, at Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh.


The winning works will be included in the Greyfriars Worship Book, which is a new worship resource that will be made available to the wider church by Greyfriars Kirk.

The composers of the winning work agree that the works may be made available free of charge on the Greyfriars Kirk and Church of Scotland Different Voices website.

The copyright of the winning works will remain with Greyfriars Kirk.

The closing date for submitting scores is 30th September 2015, and this will be strictly adhered to. Scores should be sent to the Artistic Associate of Greyfriars Kirk, Martin Ritchie, by email (PDF) to or by mail to Greyfriars Kirk, Greyfriars Place, Edinburgh, EH1 2QQ

Please contact Martin by email if you have any queries.