We’re looking for the next generation of choral composers!

ORA Singers is one of the world leading commissioners of contemporary choral music. With a wealth of experience in identifying the best choral talent of today, this competition has been designed to seek out 10 deserving individuals, whom we will mentor in order to write a new reflective choral work.

No previous experience in choral writing? No problem!

We're looking for individuals we can nurture. If you have the passion for music, some experience in music notation, and want the opportunity to be given leading industry guidance, then this competition is for you.

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Maybe you're a songwriter keen to know more about a cappella choral music? Perhaps you've learned to play an instrument, composed for your school exams, but never thought you could pursue it further? What if you love composing, but you've never had any professional lessons?

ORA Singers wants you to apply!

Your application will be assessed by weighing up your current level of experience, with the possible potential we see in you. We are asking you to provide both a composition and a personal statement for our adjudication, so please make sure that you take the time to tell us about yourself in the personal statement. 


1.  Applicants must be born on or after 1st September 2000.

2.  Applicants must be resident in the United Kingdom.

3.  Applicants must be a pupil at a UK non fee-paying school (e.g. state, grammar, or comprehensive school). Applicants from fee-paying or private schools will not be accepted.

4.  Applicants for the ORA Singers Youth Composer Competition may not also enter the ORA Singers Open Composer Competition.

Applicants should:

  • Have a strong interest in composition and/or choral singing

  • Be able to read music to a reasonable level

  • Be in full agreement with the terms of the competition, including availability for agreed mentoring, the competition Workshop Day and the final concert day

  • Have full consent from a parent/guardian for participation in the Competition


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How to apply

Applicants must submit to ORA Singers:

  1. An Entry Composition, or part of a composition, no longer than 10 minutes (pdf score and mp3 sound file). The composition must be an original work and can be for any instrumentation/voices. The composition must be provided as a score (pdf) and sound file (mp3).

  2. Application Form. All questions must be answered and applicants will be required to confirm acceptance of the Terms and Conditions outlined in this document. Applicants under the age of 18 will need consent from a Parent/Guardian to participate in the ORA Singers Youth Composer Competition. Details and confirmation of consent must be provided on the Application Form.

  3. Personal Statement. Applicants must download and complete the Personal Statement. Personal statements must be completed by the Applicant themselves, not a Parent/Guardian.


The Entry Composition, Application Form and Personal Statement should be sent via email by noon, Friday, 14th December, 2018, to composer@orasingers.com with '[Applicant Name] - Youth Competition' as the subject title.

Please ensure that you read the full Terms and Conditions before applying to the ORA Singers Composer Competition, which you can download below.

Stuck on what to write?

We’d love to assess your work by hearing something you have already written- whether that be a piece for a band, an African drumming piece or an orchestral score! Rather than taking the time to write a new work for us, please submit something you have already completed- and if necessary, please explain in your personal statement how you have since learned from this composition or how you might improve on it in the future. If you have never written a composition and want to give it a go- please do! We welcome first-time composers. We only ask that you do not spend too much time on your composition as only 10 finalists will be selected and we will not be able to offer feedback on first-stage applications.

All email correspondence to the Composer Competition should be sent to: composer@orasingers.com  

For the latest updates on the Composer Competition, please subscribe to our competition mailing list below.

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As part of the competition 10 finalists will be asked to write a new reflection on a specific choral work. They will each receive individual mentoring to help them in doing this, and they will have the opportunity to workshop their pieces with a quartet of singers. These piece will be performed in the Competition Final Concert. Both the competition workshop day and Competition Final will be held in London. 

Each of the 10 finalists will receive the equivalent of 10 hours of mentoring from an ORA Singers composer. This mentoring will involve face-to-face meetings, as well as assistance by email and skype. We are delighted to have partnered with our friends at Signatur (Signatur is the umbrella name for The Karlsson Játiva Charitable Foundation’s work for the advancement of the art of music), who are generously supporting out mentoring programme.

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Finalists will be asked to write a reflection on one of three Renaissance choral works, and their mentor will guide them in writing this work. 

  • The composition should be scored for a cappella choir (8 singers: 2 sopranos, 2 altos, 2 tenors, 2 basses).

  • The composition should be a reflection on one of the three proposed Renaissance works.

  • The composer should be able to reference what it was about the original Renaissance piece that inspired their composition, when describing their work.

  • The reflective work must be approx 3-4 minutes in length.


Finalists will also attend a workshop day in London where they will meet the other finalists and get a chance to test some of their compositional ideas on a quartet of professional singers!


Each finalist will have their work performed in the Competition Final Concert, where it will be judged by our panel of professionals, including ORA Singers President, Stephen Fry! The concert will take place in July 2019 (final date tbc) and finalists must be available to attend the competition final. 

Finalists' works will be recorded live, each finalist will receive a copy, and a winner will be announced. Finalists' works may be included in future ORA Singers' performances and/or recordings, and travel expenses will be provided for both the finalist and their guardian.

ORA Singers' Soprano  Julie Cooper , Artistic Director  Suzi Digby  and ORA President  Stephen Fry

ORA Singers' Soprano Julie Cooper, Artistic Director Suzi Digby and ORA President Stephen Fry