The John Sanders Memorial Competition for Young Composers

Competition downloads

Full rules and entry form for the 2019 composition competition may be downloaded below:

  • Competition Rules
  • Entry Form
  • In order to encourage the composition of music suitable for the liturgy, The Sanders Society is developing a 3-yearly competition for young composers under the age of 30 years. The winning composition, an Introit of up to 5 minutes in length for SATB choir with optional organ accompaniment suitable for performance within a cathedral setting, will receive its first public performance in the glorious settings of Gloucester Cathedral during Choral Evensong at the prestigious Three Choirs Festival in the summer of 2019.

    In addition the winning composer will receive an award of £1000, and the possiblity of a publishing contract with Encore Publications.

    The next composition competition for young composers will be judged in April 2019:

    • Closing date: 12 noon Friday 22nd March 2019
    • Judging: April 2019
    • The winning composer will be notified by email, (confirmed by letter) and details of the winning composition will be announced on 15th June 2019 on this website
    • Judges:
      • Dr. Christopher Robinson
      • Bob Chilcott
      • Adrian Partington
      • Tim Rogers (Encore Publications)

    Full rules of the composition competition for young composers and an entry form may be downloaded below:

    Entry forms for UK entries can be obtained by post, enclosing a stamped (93p) C5 envelope, from:

    The Sanders Society,
    144 Tuffley Avenue,
    Gloucester
    GL1 5NS

    Overseas applicants please contact info@sanderssociety.org.uk.


    2018 Result

    Although the Adjudicators of the 2018 John Sanders Memorial Competition for Young Composers enjoyed looking in detail at the submitted compositions, they were unfortunately unable to select a suitable 2018 Competition Winner. The Adjudicators have provided a full written explanation of their decision including some extensive guidance for entrants in composing choral music.

    Judges: Dr Christopher Robinson, Bob Chilcott, Adrian Partington, Timothy Rogers.


    2016 Result

    We are delighted to announce that Joshua Pacey of Clare College, Cambridge is the winner of the John Sanders Memorial Competition for Young Composers 2016, with a setting of a 13th Century text Mary's Lullaby.

    Judges: Dr Christopher Robinson, Bob Chilcott, Adrian Partington, Timothy Rogers.


    2015 Result

    It is with great regret that the judging panel have decided that the entries were not of sufficiently high quality to merit an award this year.


    2013 Result

    We are delighted to announce that from a very wide international field, William Cole of Clare College Cambridge is the winner of the John Sanders Memorial Competition for Young Composers 2013, with an unaccompanied setting of Let all mortal flesh keep silence.

    Judges: Bob Chilcott, Adrian Partington, Dr Christopher Robinson, Timothy Rogers.


    2011 Result

    The 2011 John Sanders Memorial Prize for Composition was not awarded after the judges decided that there was not a single composition which merited this valuable award.


    2009 Result

    The 2009 John Sanders Memorial Prize for Composition was awarded to Graham Ross for his a capella setting of "I sing of a Maiden". This work has subsequently received many performances, and we are excited to hear that Graham has received a number of new commissions since the award. Graham has also been appointed Director of Music at Clare College, Cambridge from September 2010.

    The Sanders Society