Ruth Watson Henderson Choral Composition Competition


About Ruth Watson Henderson and the Competition
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.

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 the 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.

Composition Guidelines for the 2017 Competition (SSA Composition)

• The composition must be an original work for SSA choir 4 – 6 minutes in length. It may be a cappella or accompanied by piano.
• Texts may be sacred or secular and can be in languages other than just English and French (languages that would be familiar to most singers are preferred, especially for SSA compositions). The text must be either original or known to be in public domain, or not currently under copyright but with written permission of the copyright holder. In this case, a copy of the written permission must be submitted with the entry.
• 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.
• Previous award winners are not eligible.

Submission Guidelines:

• Entries should be sent to info@choirsontario.org (electronic submissions are preferred, but if you wish to submit your application by mail, please send it to Choirs Ontario office - 626 Bathurst Street, Toronto, ON M5S 2R1)
• Scores must be postmarked no later than November 1, 2017.
• More than one entry may be submitted, but each entry must be accompanied by a separate entry form and a fee of $25.00 (CDN).
• Four clearly legible copies of the score must be submitted, preferably in pdf format. Scores will not be returned.
• The composer's name must not appear on any score.
• The Award winner will be announced in December, 2017. The Toronto Children’s Chorus, conducted by Elise Bradley, has been selected to perform the winning composition at the spring of 2018.


Composers must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents currently residing in Canada. There is no age limit.