Stephen Paulus Emerging Composers Competition


American composers age 18-40 (age as of February 1, 2021)


February 1, 2021


$1,500, performance by True Concord in three Spring 2021 concerts in Tucson (unless further rescheduling necessary due to pandemic), $500 travel stipend to attend the concerts.

Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton


A part of True Concord’s 2020-21 season, HER: Celebrating the Impact of Women on the World, “The Trailblazers” concert commemorates the centenary of women’s suffrage in the U.S. The winning piece will be given its world premiere in this three-performance project, scheduled for late spring 2021.

Submit a pdf and midi realization of a 5-6 minute setting of one of four selected poems by prominent women whose writings are consequential to the Suffrage Movement, printed below. Please send all materials to

The setting should be for choir (SATB, up to double divisi), with piano and/or a single obbligato orchestral instrument.
Women composers are especially encouraged to apply.

Entrants may set one of the following four poems, selected in partnership with the University of Arizona Poetry Center.
All texts are in the public domain.

To Susan B. Anthony on her eightieth birthday

Elizabeth Cady Stanton – 1815-1902

February 15, 1900


My honored friend, I’ll ne’er forget,
That day in June, when first we met:
Oh! would I had the skill to paint
My vision of that “Quaker Saint”:
Robed in pale blue and silver gray,
No silly fashions did she essay:
Her brow so smooth and fair,
‘Neath coils of soft brown hair:
Her voice was like the lark, so clear,
So rich, and pleasant to the ear:
The “‘Prentice hand,” on man oft tried,
Now made in her the Nation’s pride!

When I Rise Up

Georgia Douglas Johnson – 1880-1966

When I rise up above the earth,
And look down on the things that fetter me,
I beat my wings upon the air,
Or tranquil lie,

Surge after surge of potent strength
Like incense comes to me
When I rise up above the earth
And look down upon the things that fetter me.

Song for Equal Suffrage

Charlotte Perkins Gilman 1860-1935

Day of hope and day of glory! After slavery and woe,
Comes the dawn of woman’s freedom, and the light shall grow and grow
Until every man and woman equal liberty shall know,
In Freedom marching on!

Woman’s right is woman’s duty! For our share in life we call!
Our will it is not weakened and our power it is not small.
We are half of every nation! We are mothers of them all!
In Wisdom marching on!


Emma Lazarus – 1849-1887

Yet life is not a vision nor a prayer,
    But stubborn work; she may not shun her task.
After the first compassion, none will spare
    Her portion and her work achieved, to ask.
She pleads for respite,—she will come ere long
When, resting by the roadside, she is strong.

Nay, for the hurrying throng of passers-by
    Will crush her with their onward-rolling stream.
Much must be done before the brief light die;
    She may not loiter, rapt in the vain dream.
With unused trembling hands, and faltering feet,
She staggers forth, her lot assigned to meet.

But when she fills her days with duties done,
    Strange vigor comes, she is restored to health.
New aims, new interests rise with each new sun,
    And life still holds for her unbounded wealth.
All that seemed hard and toilsome now proves small,
And naught may daunt her,—she hath strength for all.

Congratulations to the winners of past competitions!

2019-20: Tom Peterson

Peterson’s composition, “Being Many, Seeming One,” was performed by True Concord on October 2019 in four concerts of music based on Shakespearean texts. His piece sets the text from Sonnet VIII (“Music to hear”), which is the insipiration for True Concord’s name.

2018-19: Martin Sedek

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.

2017-18: Matthew Lyon Hazzard

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.