Cappella Nova Composers’ Competition for Women
marking 100 Years of Female Suffrage and The Centenary of the Armistice of WW1

In 1990 Cappella Nova gave the first complete professional performances (and recording) of all the extant works of Robert Carver in modern times.

Carver was the only British composer to base a Mass-setting on the medieval European ‘pop’ song L’Homme armé.  Cappella Nova is planning new Carver performances and this Mass-setting surely resonates with the current political and social climate, including Brexit, xenophobia, spiritual searching, and irrational fears of Islam.

Open to unpublished (defined as ‘not having a contract with a music publisher’) female composers over 16 years of age and with no upper age-limit, who are invited to submit a score for an a cappella work setting the text ‘dona nobis pacem’.

Prize & Performances

The outright winner will receive £500.  There is no entrance fee.
The winning work will be performed by Cappella Nova alongside Robert Carver’s Missa L’Homme armé in August 2018 in The Chapel Royal, Stirling Castle, and Greyfriars Kirk, Edinburgh.

The performers have the right to give further performances, broadcasts and recordings of the winning work.

A selection of short-listed works, not including the winner, will be workshopped by Strathclyde University Chamber Choir (SUCC) and one or more will be selected by the Choir to be included in their Armistice concert programme in November 2018.


The score must be submitted in pdf format with the completed application form before Friday 22 June, 2018.   Entrants may submit a sound file of the work also, if they wish.

The duration of the work should be at least 2.5 minutes but no more than 4 minutes.
Scoring – SATB (with divisi, if desired, up to 3, 3, 3, 3, but be aware that while Cappella Nova is a professional ensemble, the SUCC is not).
No text other than the three words ‘dona nobis pacem’ is allowed and scores that trope the text will be eliminated.
The work must not have been published (even self-published) or performed, and must not be part of an existing work.
Only one work may be submitted per entrant.

The judging panel will be:-

  • Sir James MacMillan (Chairman)
  • Tommy Fowler
  • Alan & Rebecca Tavener and selected singers from Cappella Nova

The decision will be announced by the end of July and the shorted-listed composers and winner will be notified by email.
No claims may be made regarding the result.  The panel’s decision will be binding and final.

Enquiries regarding the competition should be sent to:-

Application Form