Stephen Paulus Emerging Composers Competition

Stephen Paulus

The annual Stephen Paulus Emerging Composers Competition is in honor of our friend, Stephen Paulus (1949-2014), who was committed to fostering the talent of young composers. A prolific American composer of classical music, Paulus wrote over 600 works for chorus, opera, orchestra, chamber ensemble, solo voice, concert band, piano and organ. He received premieres and performances throughout the world as well as a Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Classical Composition in 2015 and 2016, which he won in 2016 for Prayers and Remembrances, commissioned by True Concord for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Details of the fourth competition will be unveiled soon. True Concord will premiere the winner’s work in January 2021.

Congratulations to Tom Peterson, winner of the third Stephen Paulus Emerging Composers Competition!

Peterson’s composition, “Being Many, Seeming One,” was performed by True Concord on October 10-13, 2019. His work was anonymously selected from a national pool of entrants. Currently based in Phoenix, Peterson serves as Music Director at Christ Church of the Ascension in Paradise Valley and his compositions have been performed across the country.

His piece sets the text from William Shakespeare’s Sonnet VIII (“Music to hear”), which is the insipiration for True Concord’s name. The text is reprinted below.

Sonnet 8

Music to hear, why hear’st thou music sadly?
Sweets with sweets war not, joy delights in joy.
Why lov’st thou that which thou receiv’st not gladly,
Or else receiv’st with pleasure thine annoy?
If the true concord of well-tuned sounds,
By unions married, do offend thine ear,
They do but sweetly chide thee, who confounds
In singleness the parts that thou shouldst bear.
Mark how one string, sweet husband to another,
Strikes each in each by mutual ordering,
Resembling sire and child and happy mother
Who all in one, one pleasing note do sing:
Whose speechless song, being many, seeming one,
Sings this to thee: ‘Thou single wilt prove none.’

The other four finalists were:

  • Cooper Baldwin
  • John Madden
  • Nicholas Sanders
  • Matthew Swartz
Tom Peterson

Congratulations to Martin Sedek, winner of the second Stephen Paulus Emerging Composers Competition!

Sedek’s winning work, “The Beauty of Cosmic Things,” was performed by True Concord in November, 2018, in three concerts of American music that honored veterans and commemorated the centenary of Armistice Day.

Congratulations to Matthew Lyon Hazzard, winner of the inaugural Stephen Paulus Emerging Composers Competition!

Hazzard’s winning work, “Look Back on Time,” was performed by True Concord in March, 2018, in four concerts of American music based on the poetry of Emily Dickinson.