Chanticleer, the internationally acclaimed, 12-man vocal ensemble, announces the winners of the fifth Student Composer Competition.  The competition is designed to encourage current composition students to write quality works for high school level choirs.  

The winners of Chanticleer’s fifth Student Composer Competition are San Francisco School of the Arts high schooler Elio Bucky for “Shalom!” and Estonian Academy of Music and Theater student Karin Kuulpak for “Journey.” The competition is designed to encourage current composition students to write quality works for high school-level choirs.   The winning compositions were premiered at Chanticleer’s second National Youth Choral Festival on March 30, 2015 at Davies Symphony Hall by more than 300 high schoolers from across the United States.   

Winner Elio Bucky is a senior at the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts.  He was introduced to choral music as a member of the San Francisco Boys Chorus and continues to sing as a member of the Asawa SOTA Vocal Department.  He is currently the Vocal Department’s Student Conductor.  “Shalom!” is a setting of two Jewish folksongs, quoting both “Shalom Chaverim” and “Hevenu Shalom Aleichem.”

Winner Karin Kuulpak is majoring in choral conducting at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theater in Tallinn.  Among other groups, she sings with the Estonian TV Girls’ Choir and is president of their singers’ board.  About her winning composition, “Journey,” she says, “It’s a song about making your own decisions and following your dreams.  In today’s busy world full of confusion and violence, it’s important to stay on your path and not let anyone take you down.”

The competition drew 70 submissions from international and domestic students, representing 12 countries and 19 states.  Due to the quantity and quality of submissions, the following 8 competitors are named as finalists:

  • Kari Betton, from Columbia College Chicago for “Morning Psalm”
  • Yie-Eun Chun from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music for “Misty Sunrise”
  • Ed Frazier Davis from Chicago College of Performing Arts for “My Beloved Spoke”
  • Ronald Harris from University of North Texas at Denton for “O, My Soul”
  • Jihyun Kim from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music for “Lullaby for Sleepless Nights”
  • Julie LeDuc from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music for “Kyrie”
  • Spencer Robelen from University of Miami’s Frost School of Music for “Like an Eagle”
  • Daniel Sabzghabaeil from University of North Texas at Denton for “Delbaré”

The last competition winner, “Chou Nu Er” by Yi-Wen Chang, won a featured spot on our National Youth Choral Festival in 2010 where it was sung by 416 high school students and Chanticleer. Eric Barnum’s 2004 entry “She Walks in Beauty” was so successful that Chanticleer incorporated it into its touring program in the following year.

The quality of entries for 2006 was so high that seven winners were announced: Vicente Chavarria, Miami, FL; Erica Glenn, Tempe, AZ; Blake R. Henson, Princeton, NJ; Matthew Peterson, Northfield, MN; Philip Rice,Coldwater, MI; Jorge Sosa, New York, NY; and Dale Trumbore, Chatham, NJ. Honorable mentions went to Mark Fromm, Pittsburgh, PA and Samuel Hunter, Fairview, NC. 

Kieun Steve Kim’s 2008 winning composition, “Sanctus, fuses older music forms and texts with a contemporary voice. The native Korean composer is a two-time Grand Prize recipient of the Christian Times’ Gospel Music Competition.  He was the finalist in the 17th Christian Broadcasting Station’s New Gospel Songs Competition and has since produced his debut CD, My God, sponsored by Joon Records.  

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CHANTICLEER, the internationally acclaimed 12-man vocal ensemble, is calling for entries for its sixth Student Composer Competition.  


  1. The length of the work must be between three and five minutes.
  2. Compositions must be for a cappella, SATB High School level choir. (Level of difficulty between 3 and 4)
  3. Limit of one work per composer may be submitted.
  4. Composer must be enrolled as a student at time of submission.
  5.  There are no age restrictions for the composer.
  6. The submitted work must have not had prior public performances or recordings.
  7. Texts must either be original or in the public domain. If texts are copyrighted, proof of permission of use must be provided.
  8. Submissions representing cultural heritage are encouraged.


Contest opens January 1, 2016.  
Deadline for entries June 1, 2017.
Winners announced July 1, 2017.