New England Carol Contest


ChoralArt honors the carol tradition with a New England Carol Contest. During the holiday season ChoralArt will premiere, at our Epiphany Concert, a brand new carol written by a composer with a New England connection.

Composers must reside in, have been born in, or currently study in residence at a college, university, or conservatory in one of the six new England states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont). One winner will receive a $750 cash prize, with up to $250 travel expense to attend the premiere performance.


  • Premiere: no prior public performance of submitted composition
  • Voicing: a cappella or keyboard accompaniment, SATB setting with divisi up to SSATB
  • Duration: about 3 minutes
  • Difficulty: like carols represented, for example, in 100 Carols for Choirs (Willcocks, Rutter; eds.)
  • Text: new settings in English
  • Applicant requirement: native-born or current resident of one of the six New England states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont) or composer currently studying in residence at a New England college, university, or conservatory.

2018 Guidelines and Application Form

Deadline August 15, 2018 6 p.m. EDT

Please contact with any questions.


4rd Annual New England Carol Contest Winner: Deanna Witkowski

Her winning piece, A Christmas Carol premiered at our “An Epiphany Celebration” concert on Sunday, January 7, 2018.

Witkowski is an astonishingly versatile bandleader.
–Time Out New York

Winner of the Great American Jazz Piano Competition and a past guest on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz, New York-based pianist/composer/vocalist Deanna Witkowski has been heralded for her “consistently thrilling” playing and her “boundless imagination” (All Music Guide). Her five albums include Raindrop: Improvisations with Chopin, a solo piano session that seamlessly combines jazz, classical, and Brazilian music; three jazz quartet recordings; and the liturgical jazz release, From This Place, with music ranging from threepart women’s a cappella to SATB pieces with instrumental jazz trio. In August 2017, Witkowski will release her sixth recording, Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns, featuring twelve of her congregational jazz hymn arrangements along with a corresponding sheet music songbook.

Witkowski’s body of work includes eighty sacred music originals and arrangements, including two jazz Masses, choral works, and congregational songs. Her new SATB song, “We Walk in Love,” was recently selected for the inaugural Justice Choir songbook, curated by Abbie Betinis and Tesfa Wondemagegnehu. In 2016, she won the Illinois ACDA Choral Composition Contest and the Lutheran Arts-sponsored Martin Luther Hymn Prize. Her setting of Hildegard of Bingen’s “Ave Generosa” was a semifinalist for The American Prize in choral composition in 2014, and was the winner of The Astoria Choir’s Sacred Songs contest in 2015.

Also in 2015, Witkowski was selected for the New Dramatists Composer-Librettist Studio, where she worked with five playwrights to compose five music theater pieces in two weeks’ time. As a 2017 recipient of the Sacatar Institute Fellowship, she will spend two months in 2018 in Bahia, Brazil doing research related to her upcoming album, the Nossa Senhora Suite.

Fluent in Portuguese, Witkowski has toured three times in Brazil, appearing at the Recife Jazz Festival and Modern Sound in Rio de Janeiro. She has led her own groups at the Recife Jazz Festival and the Tel Aviv Opera House. In 2004, she toured internationally as the pianist for vocalist Lizz Wright; from 2006-2016, she was the pianist in the BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra.

Witkowski holds a M.A. in jazz piano performance from the City College of New York and a B.M. in classical piano performance from Wheaton College (IL).


This year’s New England Carol Contest Sponsor

Dana F. Graichen, M.D.
Associated Eyecare
Kennebunk, ME