New Music Competitions & Commissions

Competitions for new music are an important part of the Guild’s commitment to the future of organ and choral music. The  competitions below are conducted biennially in cooperation with the AGO New Music Committee and the donors as approved by the National Council.

The New Music Committee has developed new procedures for the two 2016 awards. Seeking to draw on particular individual strengths, the committee invites composers to propose a commission for either of the awards. Details may be found in the instructions below. If you have questions or need further information contact AGO National Headquarters by email or phone: or 212-870-2311, ext. 4318.

2016 Pogorzelski-Yankee Composition Competition

P-Y-Award-1140x500-300x131New! The Pogorzelski-Yankee tracker organ, shown in its former music room setting, is now in its new home at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The organ builder is R. J. Brunner & Company, and the competition fosters the creation of new music for this instrument and organs of this size. The 2016 Competition calls for an organ composition of 10-12 minutes in length; there are no restrictions in regard to compositional style. The competition is open to proposals from composers of all ages and nationalities.   Each year, the winning composition will be given its world premier performance in a formal recital at the University by an internationally recognized organist. Download the specifications.

Award: $10,000 cash prize; premiere performance on the recently installed Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee Organ at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, in March 2016.

2016 Pogorzelski-Yankee Composition Competition Instructions and Entry Form.

AGO Student Commissioning Project

New! Grants of $1000 will be  awarded to collaborative composer-and-organist pairs for the composition and performance of new works for the organ.  All applicants, composers, and organists, must be enrolled as full- or part-time students at an accredited U.S.  college, university, or conservatory. There are no restrictions in regard to compositional style.

Award: Two grants of $1000 will be awarded each year to two composer and organist pairs.

2015 AGO Student Commissioning Project Rules and entry form

2016 AGO/Marilyn Mason Award in Organ Composition

(This competition is in progress and closed to new submissions.)
The competition is biennial and calls for a work for organ solo. The competition is open to composers of any age; the specific requirements vary each year the competition is held.

Award: $2,000 cash prize provided by Marilyn Mason, publication by Hinshaw Music Inc., and performance at the AGO National Convention.

2016 AGO/Marilyn Mason Award Instructions and Entry Form

2016 AGO/ECS Publishing Award in Choral Composition

(This competition is in progress and closed to new submissions.)
Held in alternate years, the competition seeks outstanding compositions for SATB chorus and organ in which the organ plays a distinctive and significant role. Other requirements vary for each competition.

Award: $2,000 cash prize provided by ECS Publishing, publication by ECS Publishing, and premier performance at the AGO National Convention.

2016 AGO/ECS Award in Choral Composition Instructions and Entry Form

2014 AGO/ECS Award Winner

05b-Ivan-Bozicevic Ivan Božičević has been named the winner of the 2014 AGO/ECS Publishing Award in Choral Composition for his piece, Kyrie eleison. Thirty-five composers submitted pieces to the fourteenth biennial competition. The competition was judged by Carol Barnett, David Carrier, and Steven Sametz. The 2014 competition called for an original setting of the Kyrie (in Greek or English), no longer than 8 minutes in duration. Kyrie eleison will be premiered on June 27, 2014 at the AGO National Convention in Boston, Mass. Ivan Božičević lives in Croatia and is a composer, organist, pianist, arranger, and jazz musician. He studied composition at the Belgrade Faculty of Music and organ at the Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts. He has worked at the Belgrade Faculty of Music and the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad as a professor of counterpoint, analysis and harmony. Since 2002, Mr. Božičević has worked in Split, Croatia, as a free-lance artist. He is one of the founding members of the Splithesis ensemble for new music in Split, Croatia. As organ recitalist, he has performed in Germany, Spain, Switzerland, USA, Serbia and Croatia.

Listen to the winning compositions from past competitions.

Listen to the 2014 winning ECS composition:

You can request information from National Headquarters by email or phone: or 212-870-2311, ext. 4318.

The Councillor for Competitions & New Music coordinates the work of the Guild in the areas of competitions. Committees under this Councillor’s aegis include New Music, National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance (NYACOP), Regional Competition for Young Organists (RCYO), and National Competition in Organ Improvisation (NCOI).

New Music Committee

Eileen Hunt, DMA, AAGO, Director
195 Taunton Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
H: 203-256-1749
W: 203-227-2728, ext. 103

Randall Harlow, DMA
University of Northern Iowa
School of Music
115 Russell Hall
Cedar Falls, IA 50614
W: 319-273-6326

John Nuechterlein
President and CEO
American Composers Forum
332 Minnesota Street, Suite E145
Saint Paul, MN 55101
W: 651-251-2811
H: 952-591-0308