Edwin Fissinger Choral Composition Prizes

2016 Winners Announced!

The NDSU Challey School of Music is pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 Edwin Fissinger Choral Composition Prize: “The New Moon” by Nicholas Ryan Kelly, a composer who resides in Penticton, BC, Canada. Commended by the Vancouver Sun for his 'sophisticated work of such immediate, glittery appeal,' Kelly is an American-Canadian composer who draws inspiration from science, nature, and speculative fiction. His works have been selected for performances and awards by groups such as the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Victoria Symphony, the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, and the West Point Band. His website is www.nicholasryankelly.com.

Second prize in the 2016 competition goes to “Pater Noster” by Steve Murray, a composer, arranger, performer, and teacher from Richmond, Mass. He is an award-winning composer who has created music in many genres from jazz to classical, from choral to chamber music, orchestral, and music theatre scores. His website is www.berkshiremusic.net.

The annual choral composition competition honors the legacy and traditions of noted choral composer and long-time NDSU choral conductor Edwin Fissinger. More than 110 works were submitted for the 2016 competition.

2016 Deadlines

  • Score submission: June 1, 2016
  • Announcement of winners: Due to the record number of entries, the judging period has been extended and the announcement will be made no later than September 1, 2016.
  • Premiere of winning composition: October 2, 2016
  • Application fee: $25 per composition
    • Pay online at NDSU Marketplace
    • Or mail check to Dr. Jo Ann Miller, NDSU Challey School of Music, Dept 2334, PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050
      • Must be postmarked by June 1, 2016


Entries should be:

  • for mixed choir (SATB), divisi is acceptable
  • unaccompanied, or with piano accompaniment
  • three to five minutes in length
  • original, not previously performed publicly, and unpublished. The 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
  • arrangements of pre-existing melodies will not be accepted


  • Open to all composers with the exception of current NDSU faculty, staff, and students.
  • Prior winners may re-enter only after five years.


  • First: $1000
  • Second: $500
  • NDSU reserves the right to not award prizes in a given year.
  • The composer of the first prize work must be present at the premiere performance on October 2, 2016.
    NDSU will reimburse actual travel, lodging and food expenses up to $750.
  • Winners will be announced at www.ndsu.edu/music/fissinger/index on August 1, 2016.
  • The first prize winner may be offered a contract from Pavane Publishing to place their composition in the Jo Ann Miller Choral Series. The second prize piece will be considered for publication.

Judging Panel

  • Jo Ann Miller, Choral Activities, NDSU
  • Michael Weber, Choral Activities, NDSU
  • Charlette Moe, Choral Activities, NDSU
  • Dale Warland, Dale Warland Singers
  • Allan Petker, Pavane Publishing

Submission Guidelines

  • Include name, address, phone number(s), and email address when making payment via NDSU Marketplace.
  • Scores may be submitted by:
    • Sibelius or
    • PDF (mp3 may be included, but is not required)
  • Submissions must be submitted via email by 11:59 PM on June 1, 2016.
  • Email compositions to:

Links of Interest

Previous Recipients

Edwin Fissinger Biography

Dale Warland

Pavane Publishing

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