AGO/ECS Publishing Award in Choral Composition

The AGO’s choral competition can be traced back to Walter Clemson, a Guild founder. Mr. Clemson sponsored a prize for choral composition in 1896 where the first prize was a gold medal worth $50. An AGO competition in choral composition continued in several different formats for much of the past century. In 1985, building on that history and experience, the AGO Committee on New Music created a new choral competition first with M. P. Möller and then ECS Publishing as the award sponsor. The AGO/ECS Publishing Award is now held in alternate years and attracts a wide variety of submissions. The competition seeks outstanding compositions for SATB chorus and organ in which the organ plays a distinctive and significant role; requirements vary for each competition. The winner of this competition receives a $2,000 prize, publication of the piece by ECS Publishing, and a world premiere performance at the AGO National Convention.

The 2020 competition guidelines called for a new work for organ and chorus utilizing the text of either of two poems. Shawn Crouch of Miami, Florida was awarded the 2020 award, and his piece, Where In God’s Truth, will be premiered July 9, 2020 at the AGO National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia.

2018 AGO/ECS Publishing Award winner Mary Beth Bennett

Mary Beth Bennett was awarded the Sixteenth AGO/ECS Publishing Award in Choral Composition for her commissioned piece, Deep River – listen to Deep River!  The 2018 award called for a work for SATB choir and organ with congregational participation, utilizing the text of the American spiritual “Deep River.” Deep River was premiered at the 2018 AGO National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri.

Dr. Mary Beth Bennett is a nationally recognized performer, composer, and improviser living in historic Richmond, Virginia where she serves on the adjunct music faculty of the University of Richmond. She is  also the organist at Second Baptist Church in Richmond, VA. Her organ teachers have included David Craighead, Paul Jenkins, Paul Manz, Michael Schneider, Ladd Thomas, and Cherry Rhodes. She currently maintains a studio of organ and improvisation students and has served as a judge for the AGO National Competition in Organ Improvisation. She has recorded three compact discs which have garnered critical acclaim, including a “Golden Ear Award” for best organ CD of the year from Absolute Sound Magazine. Her most recent CD, Bennett plays Bennett, was recorded in 2015. Her compositions are published by Augsburg-Fortress, Concordia, G.I.A., Broadman, World Library, National, Hope, Oxford University Press, and soon to be ECS Publishing.

AGO/ECS awarded compositions. Listen to past awarded compositions.

2018 AGO/ECS – Deep River, ECS #8561 (SATB & organ), by Mary Beth Bennett
2016 AGO/ECS – The Voice of the Lord, ECS#8384, (SATB, trumpet & organ), by Michael Gilbertson
2014 AGO/ECS – Kyrie eleison, ECS #8034, (SATB & organ), by Ivan Božičević
2012 AGO/ECS—There is a Flow’r, ECS #7780, (SATB & organ, for Advent), by Alan Smith
2010 AGO/ECS—May Your Life Be Filled With Gladness, ECS #7424, (SATB, organ, optional oboe) by Neil Stipp
2008 AGO/ECS—Rejoice the Lord is King, ECS #6992, (SATB, organ) by Stephen Fraser
2006 AGO/ECS—The Day of Pentecost, ECS #6547, (SATB, organ) by Barrie Cabena
2004 AGO/ECS—Psalm 96, ECS #6207, (SATB, organ, trumpet in C) by Michael Bedford
2002 AGO/ECS—Laudate Nomen, ECS #5783, (SATB, organ) by Carlyle Sharpe
2000 AGO/ECS—Gloria, ECS #5420, (SATB, harp, organ) by Aaron Travers
1998 AGO/ECS—Psalm 122, ECS #5143, (tenor solo, SATB & organ) by Carlyle Sharpe
1996 AGO/ECS—God’s Grandeur, ECS #5037, (SATB & organ) by Don Freund
1994 AGO/ECS—Welcome All Wonders, ECS #4813, (SATB, organ) by James Hopkins
1991 AGO/Möller Award—The Peace Which Passeth Understanding, ECS #4672,
(SATB, organ) by James Hopkins
1989 AGO/Möller Award—Love Divine, All Loves Excelling, ECS #4382, (SATB, organ) by James Gardner
1987 AGO/Möller Award—Psalm VIII, ECS #4143, (soprano solo, SATB, organ) by David Evan Thomas
1984-85 (not associated with Möller or ECS) —Let There Be Light, ECS #3169, (SATB, organ) by Gilbert Martin

Committee on New Music
Louise Mundinger, MM, Director  Email
David J. Hurd, Jr., MusD  Email
Carol Feather Martin, MM Email
Alexander Meszler, MM  Email

Eileen Hunt, AAGO, DMA, Vice President/Councillor for Competitions and New Music  Email

AGO Headquarters Email