The following summarises the rules and other information relevant to the 2020 Walter Hussey Composition Competition. If you have any questions that are not answered below then please also read the FAQs blog post. If your questions are still not answered then please contact us and we will get back to you asap.

The Competition

The competition is open to anyone aged between 16 and 24 (with a birth date on or after 1st July 1995), from anywhere in the world. There is no fee to enter.

 A maximum of two entries can be made per composer or collaboration of multiple composers.

 The composer of the winning piece will be awarded £500 in prize money and the runner-up £200 (to be shared if necessary).

The Composition

The piece submitted should be inspired by the theme of ‘New Horizons’ to reflect the aspirations of young musicians and of Reading Phoenix Choir looking forward after its 50th anniversary.

The format of the piece should be for a 50-strong mixed voice choir, and should therefore be somewhere from SATB to SSAATTBB. Composers may include solo lines if desired.

The piece should be able to be performed a cappella and from memory and should therefore be approximately 3 minutes long.

The piece can be in any language, but if not English then a translation should be provided along with a pronunciation guide if necessary.

The piece must be original and must not have been previously performed or published, and not be part of an existing work. 

If the text used in the composition is not in the public domain, and the composer is not the author and copyright holder of the text, it is the responsibility of the composer to obtain permission from the copyright holder to use the text before they submit their application.

The piece should be submitted as an electronic score along with a digital music file that can be played as part of the judging process e.g. a pdf and associated mp3 file.


Entries should be received by no later than 30th June 2020.

The adjudication panel will choose a long list of entries by mid September 2020 and a shortlist by November 2020. The winner is expected to be chosen by early December 2020.

Prize Giving and Performances

The competition 1st and 2nd prize winners will be announced to the general public at Reading Phoenix Choir’s Annual Concert at Reading Concert Hall in March 2021.

At this point, the winning composers will be presented with their cheque by Owain Park and the world premiere of the 1st prize winning piece will be performed. The winners will be informed well in advance to give them the chance to make arrangements to be there.

Additional Rules

Reading Phoenix Choir reserve the right to perform and record any of the pieces submitted at any time, including giving the world premiere of the winning piece.

 Reading Phoenix Choir reserve the right to use the entries in any way they see fit in order to promote both the choir and the competition.

 No claims can be made regarding the result. The judges’ decision will be final and binding.


To find out how to submit your entry, please sign up to our mailing list below and you will be sent details.

Entry to the competition implies acceptance of these rules.

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