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 in cooperation with the AGO Committee on New Music and the donors as approved by the National Council.

The Committee on New Music has developed new procedures for the 2016 awards. Seeking to draw on particular individual strengths, the committee has developed a procedure wherein composers submit proposals for commission rather than compose for stipulated criteria. 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.

2017 Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee Second Annual Competition

P-Y-Award-1140x500-300x131 The Pogorzelski-Yankee memorial organ (R. J. Brunner & Company), shown in its former music room setting, is now in its new home at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. View the specifications—note that on the Great division, the Gemshorn 8′ has been replaced by the Principal 8′.

The 2017 Competition calls for a proposal for a commission of a piece 10-12 minutes in length playable on this organ; there are no restrictions in regard to compositional style. Each year, the winning composition will be given its world premier performance in a formal recital at the University by an internationally recognized organist. The application for the 2017 award will include a one page résumé, a commission proposal, and two sample scores. The deadline for submission is August 31, 2015. Award: $10,000 cash prize; premiere performance on the recently installed Ronald G. Pogorzelski and Lester D. Yankee Memorial Organ at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, in March 2017. 2017 Pogorzelski- Yankee Guidelines and Online Entry Form

          Claude Baker

Claude Baker

Claude Baker of Indiana University has been awarded the 2016 Annual Prize. Mr. Baker attained his doctoral degree from the Eastman School of Music. He has received numerous honors and awards and now teaches composition at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. His works are published by Lauren Keiser Music and Carl Fischer. For most of his career, Mr. Baker has composed for orchestras where a primary concern has been exploring subtleties of color and  combinations of unique and unexpected sounds, a range of coloristic possibilities akin to that of the organ. Mr. Baker’s commissioned piece will be premiered in March 2016  at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.


AGO Student Commissioning Project

(This competition is in progress and closed to new submissions.)
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. Rules and Entry Form: 2015 AGO Student Commissioning Project

2016 AGO/Marilyn Mason Award in Organ Composition
Ivan Headshot at organ

Ivan Božičević

Ivan Božičević has been awarded the 2016 Marilyn Mason Award in Organ Composition! Last year, more than 50 composers submitted proposals for the commission of a new organ piece as described in the 2016 competition rules. Ivan’s proposal was selected by the judges and his newly composed piece, The Moonpiper, was delivered to AGO Headquarters in April, 2015. The Moonpiper will be premiered in conjunction with the 2016 AGO National Convention in Houston, Texas. This competition is biennial and calls for a work for organ solo; 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 a premiere performance at the AGO National Convention.

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

Listen to the 2014 winning ECS composition, Kyrie eleison, by Ivan Božičević and available from ECS Publishing :


Listen to the winning compositions from past competitions.

Committee on New Music

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