Gotham Chamber Opera

Where opera gets intimate.

About the Catherine Doctorow Prize for Music

The Catherine Doctorow Prize for Music is a bi-annual award of $15,000 to a composer for the creation of a new work for voice and chamber ensemble of between 3 and 10 acoustic instruments (some guidelines will apply) and between 15 and 30 minutes in length. Given the inherent challenges of writing idiomatically for the human voice, the goal of the competition is to successfully enlarge the repertoire of works for voice and instruments. The prizewinner’s completed work will be premiered under the aegis of Gotham Chamber Opera.

The application is open to composers, emerging and established, over 21 years of age and residing in the United States. The deadline for submissions is April 1, 2014. During the first phase, applications will be evaluated according to their adherence to the guidelines. In the second phase, the review committee will hear all approved submissions and select finalists to present to the jury. During the third phase, the jury will evaluate the finalists’ selections and award a prize to one composer.

After the award winner is announced, on August 1, 2014, the composer will have nine months to complete the new work. The premiere will be presented by a singer and instrumentalists associated with Gotham Chamber Opera within a year of the work’s completion. Gotham Chamber Opera Artistic Director Neal Goren will be available to consult with the composer on questions pertaining to vocal writing during the process of composition. Limited assistance will be available to secure rights for published texts, if needed. A travel allowance will be provided for composers residing outside New York City to help with costs of attending the rehearsals and premiere of the award-winning work.

How to Apply

A link to the online application can be found at the bottom of this page. Applicants should complete the personal information form and submit a biography of no more than 1000 words and a resume or curriculum vitae. Applicants must submit a biography, curriculum vitae, and contrasting selections or excerpts of 3 different works, each excerpt or complete work lasting no more than 3 minutes. There is no application fee.

Work Samples

Applicants must submit three work samples, with at least one sample demonstrating writing for voice, and at least one sample demonstrating writing for chamber ensemble (defined as an instrumental work with only one player per part). Only recordings of performances or readings will be accepted; no midi samples, please. Links to You Tube, Vimeo, Soundcloud, or uploaded MP3 files can be submitted in the application. Work samples can be up to three minutes in length. If the sample submitted is longer than three minutes, then listening cues must be provided. Scores representing the sound selections must be submitted in PDF form with start and end points indicated.

Eligibility Requirements

The composer must be over 21 years of age and must be a citizen or lawful resident of the United States. 

The award is to support the creation of a new work. Awards will not be granted for existing compositions or for the completion of a composition already in progress.  

Current employees or board members of the Jarvis and Constance Doctorow Family Foundation, the Gotham Chamber Opera, or its affiliates, are not eligible.
Composers who are awarded a prize in one year are prohibited from applying again.

Panelists and Evaluators

The review committee will consist of the Artistic Director and Executive Director of Gotham Chamber Opera, and a consultant. The jury will consist of the review committee as well as a singer, a conductor, and another musician.

The competition is now closed. Thanks to all who entered. The winner has been announced. Click here for information.