Edwin Fissinger Choral Composition Prize

NDSU Challey School of Music honors the legacy and traditions of noted choral composer and long-time NDSU choral conductor Edwin Fissinger with its annual choral composition competition.


Professional Composer Division

Clark William Lawlor
The World's Wanderers

Clark William Lawlor (b. 1980) is a software engineer and award-winning choral composer based in the Salt Lake City, Utah area. His recent accolades include First Prize in the 2023 International Contest of Choral Composition University of Alcala (Spain); First Prize in the 2023 Utah ACDA Choral Composing Competition; and finalist in the 2023 Ensemble Altera Composition Competition.

Despite his recent successes, Clark is somewhat of a newcomer to the choral composing scene. Although he studied music at the University of Utah in the early 2000s, Clark dropped out before earning a degree to pursue a more “responsible” career. With the pressures of attending business school, building a career, and supporting a growing family, Clark took a long hiatus from music. He had all but lost his dream of a music career until 2022 when, after over 15 years away, Clark decided to join a local choir, and shortly thereafter began composing choral music again.

His first work, a setting of the Swedish text “I denna ljuva sommartid,” has seen surprising success on YouTube and in sheet music sales. In the past year, Clark has written over a dozen choral compositions, and has been the recipient of multiple awards. He recently signed on with a promising new publisher, Endeavor Music ( and is excited to be a part of their growth.

In addition to writing music, Clark enjoys cycling, pickleball, and spending time with his wife and 5 children.

Emerging Composer Division

Katharine Petkovski
When Music Sounds

Katharine Petkovski (b. 1997) is a composer, pianist, and music producer based in Toronto, Canada. Featured on CBC’s “30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30” list, her music has been performed and premiered by ensembles such as the Odin Quartet, Bedford Trio, and the Exultate Chamber Singers.

Katharine is passionate about scoring music for film and tv, writing for a variety of forms of commercial media. Most recently, her music was featured by the Canadian Olympic Committee leading up to the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games. She has scored films that have premiered and shown at festivals such as BFI Flare Festival, Phoenix Film Festival, Inside Out Film Festival, TIFF Next Wave Film Festival and the Reel Asian Film Festival.

Katharine holds a BMus in Composition from the University of Toronto ('19), and a MMus in Composition from the University of Toronto ('21), where she received the prestigious Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Graduating Award upon completion. Katharine resides in Toronto and is an active member of the Screen Composer’s Guild of Canada, the Association of Canadian Women Composers, and the Canadian League of Composers.


  • Emerging Composers – 30 years of age and under
  • Professional Composers – over 30 years of age


Entries should be:

  • For mixed choir (SATB), divisi is acceptable.
  • Unaccompanied, or with keyboard accompaniment, obbligato instruments ok.
  • Three to eight minutes in duration.
  • Original and unpublished (by an established commercial firm) works only. Arrangements will not be accepted.
  • Text may be sacred or secular, either in the public domain or copyrighted, as long as a letter of permission from the copyright owner is included with the submission.
  • Suitable for an accomplished high school or university choir.
  • Submissions need not be anonymous.

Prizes / Performances for Each Category

  • First: $1,500
  • Second: $1,000
  • NDSU reserves the right to not award prizes in any given year.
  • The first-place composer in each category is invited to be present at the NDSU Concert Choir performance.
  • For the performance, NDSU will reimburse actual travel, lodging and food expenses, up to a maximum of $1,000.
  • Winners will be announced on by November 15, 2023.
  • The first prize winner's piece, with the approval of the composer, will have their composition considered for publication in Pavane Publishing for placement in the Jo Ann Miller Choral Series.

Judging Panel

  • Jo Ann Miller, Director of Choral Activities, NDSU
  • Michael Weber, Associate Director of Choral Activities, NDSU
  • Charlette Moe, Assistant Director of Choral Activities and Music Education, NDSU
  • Jocelyn Hagen, Composer, Graphite Publishing
  • Allan Petker, Pavane Publishing, composer, conductor

Submission Guidelines

  • Please indicate which category you are submitting for in your email
  • Email PDF submissions and audio files to:
  • Please include your name and mobile telephone number
  • There is a $25 submission fee for each work submitted. Please make payment at the following link:
  • Submitted scores must be in Finale or Sibelius.
  • An audio file is strongly recommended.
  • All scores selected for performance will be reproduced by NDSU.
  • Submissions must be submitted via email by 11:59 PM on October 1, 2023.
  • If not submitting a PDF, mail a hard-copy submission to:
  • Dr. Jo Ann Miller, NDSU Challey School of Music, Dept 2334, PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050 with a postmark of October 1, 2023.

Past Fissinger Choral Competition Recipients