Competition: The John Kuzma Young Composers Award for Excellence in Choral Composition

January 9, 2016 in All Opportunities, choral, Composers by mwhiteside

Montview Boulevard Presbyterian Church, Denver, Colorado USA, is pleased to announce a call for scores to the John Kuzma Young Composers Award, for Excellence in Choral Composition.

Named in honor of Montview’s Minister of Music from 1987-2015, the Kuzma Award strives to encourage and support emerging composers of sacred choral music.

The competition is open to any composer aged thirty or younger (born after April 25, 1985).  The winning composer will receive a $1,000 honorarium as well as a $500 travel stipend to attend the premiere of the work at Montview Church in Denver, CO on April 24, 2016.

The winning piece will receive an in-concert performance by the 90-voice Westminster Choir and 20-voice children’s unison treble voice choir of Montview Church.  The winning composer is also encouraged – but not required – to orchestrate an accompaniment for the professional Montview Orchestra.

Application Deadline: March 14, 2016

Submit materials to See guidelines and instructions below.

Guidelines and Rules
• The work must not have been performed publicly in concert in the United States.
• The work must be between 4 and 7 minutes in length.
• Only one score can be submitted for consideration.
• The work must be suitable for SATB Choir with Children’s Unison Treble Voice Choir.
• The work may be a cappella or with piano/organ accompaniment.  The winning composer will be invited – at their discretion – to orchestrate the accompaniment, if so desired.
• A sacred text setting for the work is preferred.

Submission Instructions
There is no application fee. Applicants must submit the below materials via email to
• Score, in PDF format
• A brief biography of the composer
• Any applicable program notes
• Date of birth
• All materials must be received by 11:59 PM Mountain Standard Time on Monday, March 14, 2016.

Four finalists will be chosen, with a winner named by a judging committee, comprised of several Denver-based choral composers and conductors, chaired by Minister of Music Adam Waite.  All applicants will receive notification by April 1, 2016. The winning composer will receive a $1,000 (USD) honorarium, as well as a $500 (USD) travel stipend to attend the concert premiere of their work at Montview Church on Sunday, April 24, 2016.  The winning composer will also receive a professional live concert recording of their piece.

About Montview Church
Through its more than 100 year history, the first church in Denver’s historic Park Hill neighborhood has built a legacy of great music, progressive theology and courageous social witness. A congregation of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Montview’s membership numbers over fifteen hundred, fielding active education, mission and music ministries.

The church’s 90-voice Westminster Choir has long embraced the promotion and performance of new music. This includes works written by Montview Minsters of Music Austin Lovelace, John Kuzma, Wes Selby and Adam Waite. The choir has collaborated on numerous occasions with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra as well as the Denver Brass. Recent major works performed by the Westminster Choir include: Poulenc, Gloria; Hindemith, When Lilacs last in the Dooryard Bloom; Vaughan-Williams, Dona Nobis Pacem; Thompson, Frostiana.

About John Kuzma
John Kuzma began playing and writing music in sixth grade, at first self taught and later studying organ privately and piano at the Cincinnati Conservatory. He attended the Eastman School of Music as an organ performance major and graduated with distinction in 1968. As a Fulbright scholar he studied Baroque music in Copenhagen, Denmark, returning to the US for graduate studies at the University of Illinois. Mr. Kuzma led the Boychoir program at California’s Crystal Cathedral and was Music Director of the San Diego Chamber Orchestra, and the American Boychoir, Princeton, NJ. His own compositions have been performed by the Colorado Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Many Colorado groups have performed his music including the Denver Brass, the Colorado Children’s Chorale, the Ars Nova Singers, and the Denver Gay Men’s Chorus. In 1993, he composed and arranged music for Pope John Paul II’s Denver visit at World Youth Day. His cantata “A Balm in Gilead” was performed at Carnegie Hall in 2002. Mr. Kuzma’s compositions are published by Yelton Rhodes, Los Angeles. He was a 1999 Colorado Council on the Arts Music Composition Fellow, and was Minister of Music at Denver’s Montview Presbyterian Church from 1987 – 2105.

For more information, please write the committee at