Composition Contest

Announcing the 2017

Choral Composition Contest

Win $1000 for your choral composition!!

Illinois composers with a creative voice and clear compositional ability are invited to submit works for SATB voices to Illinois-ACDA’s annual Choral Composition Contest. The winning composition will be premiered at the Illinois-ACDA Summer Re-Treat, Summer 2017. In addition, winning composers are invited to display their works at our annual Summer ReTreat.

Entries for the 2017 IL-ACDA contest will be accepted from now until April 1st, 2017. Details and forms for submitting your work can found on the following links:

Contest Entry Form 2017

Contest Rules 2017

2016 IL-ACDA Composition Contest Winner

Congratulations to Deanna Witkowski of New York City, winner of the 2016 IL-ACDA Choral Composition Contest for her marvelous piece for SA choir, “Where Shadow Chases Light.”

Video link:

Sheet music link:

Photo link:


Possessing a supple sense of swing, ravishing touch, and vast harmonic resources, New York pianist/composer Deanna Witkowski has created an utterly personal body of music informed by her deep knowledge of jazz, European classical and Brazilian forms. The winner of the 2002 Great American Jazz Piano Competition and a past guest on National Public Radio’sPiano Jazz with Marian McPartland, Witkowski has released five critically hailed albums since 2000. Her latest release, Raindrop: Improvisations with Chopin, seamlessly combines jazz, Chopin, and the music of Brazil in a solo piano session that has been called “breathtaking” (Birmingham Times) and “stunningly beautiful” (
A prolific composer, Witkowski is well known for her work combining jazz and liturgy. Her 2009 release, From This Place, features her liturgical jazz and led to a second appearance on NPR’s Weekend Edition. She is a frequent presenter on jazz and spirituality, and has lectured at the International Thomas Merton Society Meeting, the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and the Hymn Society conference. Witkowski also specializes in the sacred jazz of Mary Lou Williams, and has presented performances and lectures on Williams at the Kennedy Center, Loyola University Chicago, and Duke University. In 2013, she produced Mary Lou Williams: A Celebration, a 90-minute program featuring Williams’ Music for Peace and Witkowski’s Evening Mass, with a 12-voice choir of professional jazz vocalists and instrumental quartet.
Witkowski’s work includes 80 originals/arrangements for use in church worship services, including two jazz Masses, jazz hymn arrangements, psalm settings, new music for 19th century hymn texts, choral works, and congregational songs. Her choral concert music includes settings of text by Denise Levertov and Hildegard of Bingen; the latter 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. Witkowski was also selected for one of five coveted spots in 2015’s Composer-Librettist Studio at New Dramatists, where she worked with five playwrights to compose five music theater pieces in two weeks’ time.
Witkowski also embodies a love of Brazilian culture. Fluent in Portuguese, she has toured three times in Brazil. She has worked extensively with São Paulo-based guitarist/vocalist, Filó Machado, and has performed as a bandleader at the Recife Jazz Festival, the Tel Aviv Opera House, and Snug Harbor in New Orleans. 
Witkowski holds a M.A. in jazz studies from the City College of New York and a B.M. in classical piano performance from Wheaton College (IL).
To learn more, visit

Past Recipients of the IL-ACDA Composition Contest include:


2015 ~ Richard Rossi O Sacrum Convivium (SATB) See and hear the score!
2014 ~ Philip Spencer Tune Thy Music to Thy Heart (SSA)
2013 ~ Tim Blickhan Life Has Loveliness to Sell (SATB)
2012 ~ Edwin Childs On Wings of Prayer (SSAA, piano)
2011 ~ Wayland Rogers When Daisies Pied (SATB)
2010 ~ Donald Frasier In Moonlight (TTB)
2009 ~ Karen Ball A Light Exists In Spring (SATB, piano)
2008 ~ Edwin Childs Peace (SSA, piano)
2007 ~ Paul Carey Thou Art the Sky (SATB, piano) Roger Dean 15/2430R
2006 ~ Christopher Walters Weary with Toil (SATB, unaccompanied) Colla Voce 15-96040
1999 ~ Anne Heider Jesous Ahatonnia: A Huron carol (TTBB, piano)
1998 ~ Paul Steg Vocalise (SATB)
1996 ~ Bart Bradfield To The Thawing Wind (SATB, piano)
1995 ~ Clyde Thompson Three Dickinson Poems (SSA, piano, flute)
1994 ~ Joel Ross Sweet Was the Virgin Song (TTBB, harp)
1993 ~ Mark Ray Hollman Hope is a Thing with Feathers (SAB, piano)
1990 ~ Ellen Keating Ave Maria (SSA) Mark Foster MF922
1985 ~ Lee Kesselman Two Meditations on Yeats (SATB)
1984 ~ Michael Kosch spring! may… (SATB, divisi)