The 2023 winner is Jeffrey Derus
The 2023 winner is Jeffrey Derus. Mr. Derus’ piece “I Will Go” will be premiered by the Jason Max Ferdinand Singers at the ACDA National Conference in Cincinnati, Ohio in February 2023. The piece is for SATB chorus and violin. The text is derived from Ruth 1:16-17, Proverbs 30:18-19, and Psalm 139:6.
“I am truly honored by this recognition. “I Will Go” came from a special collaboration with a dear friend who wanted to use a selection of sacred texts that illuminate the love and wonders we experience in this world. The piece is a call to all the wonderful things we experience but may never understand…such as love, nature, and faith. I am so excited for its performance at the ACDA National Convention,” said Jeffrey Derus.
The selection committee described this piece as “…absolutely gorgeous, well-constructed, and approachable at the same time. We love including the solo violin (other instruments also permitted) with the otherwise a cappella setting. The middle of the piece is especially striking for the listener. Some really unexpected moments are not gimmicky, and the text is well-considered and beautifully set. Setting Ruth and Proverbs makes this piece relevant to multiple expressions of faith or secular settings.”
“We thank all the composers who submitted their works in this selection cycle. Your passion to create is awe-inspiring. Additionally, we thank the adjudication committee who spent countless hours reviewing more than 100 submissions. We could not have done this work without your volunteerism,” said Brandon Boyd, member of the Composition Initiatives National Standing Committee and the Chair of the Brock Prize for Professional Composers.
ACDA will launch a new Focus Prize composition initiative in October. More information will be able to be found on the ACDA website.
2023 Brock Prize for Professional Composers Winner
Jeffrey Derus is an American composer, producer, educator, and musician. His music has gained a worldwide presence with commissions and performances from ensembles such as Choral Arts Initiative, INSPIRARE, Constellation Men’s Ensemble, Inversion Ensemble, KC VITAS, the Nova Scotia Choral Federation, Temple University, and Vanguard University. Hailed as “powerful, dramatic, lucid” (Sonograma Magazine) and “elegant” (Voice of OC), his music is “akin to that of Holy Minimalism.” (AllMusic)
Derus’ premiere concert work, From Wilderness: A Meditation on the Pacific Crest Trail, captures the transformative experience of traveling the Pacific Crest Trail. From Wilderness made its commercial debut in April 2022 with Director Brandon Elliott and Choral Arts Initiative along with cellist Kevin Mills. It ranked #3 on the Billboard Charts (Traditional Classical Albums), #2 Best Seller on iTunes Classical Charts, and #1 New Release Opera/Vocal Albums on Amazon. From Wilderness has been praised for its “fascinating and multifaceted sound world.” (CD Hotlist) “It just doesn’t get much better than this.” (Take Effect Reviews)
He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education and a teaching credential from California State University, Fullerton and a Master of Arts degree in Education and Curriculum Design from Brandman University. He is also a recipient of the Britten-Pears and Holst Foundation residency in Aldeburgh, UK.
As a founding board member and choral artist of Choral Arts Initiative; he is called to perform emerging choral works and compose “music with pros he can proudly rub elbows with.” (Midwest Records)
His music is available at MusicSpoke and J.W. Pepper marketplace.
From landscapes to soundscapes, learn more at www.jeffreyderus.com
About the Competition
The ACDA Brock Prize for Professional Composers is an outgrowth of the American Choral Directors Association’s Raymond Brock Commission, which honors the work of Raymond W. Brock, who served as ACDA’s administrative assistant from 1987 to his death in 1991. The objectives of the competition for professional composers are three-fold:
- To acknowledge and reward outstanding composers in early, mid, or late career
- To encourage choral composition of the highest caliber
- To further promote composer activity at ACDA conferences
The winner of the composition will be awarded a $5,000 cash prize, a complimentary conference registration, a complimentary table at the conference composers’ fair, and a performance of the winning work on the main stage by a choral ensemble selected by the conference committee.
- Composers must be members of ACDA. To learn more about ACDA membership categories and join, click here.
- There is no age limit for applicants, however, composers must not be current students (undergraduate or graduate) at the time of the conference performance, which will be in February 2023.
- Submitted works must not be published, self-published, or publicly marketed but may have been previously performed or premiered.
- Composers may submit one work per competition year.
- All voicings and difficulty levels will be considered.
- Works may be unaccompanied or accompanied, and may include additional instrumentation. Due to performance constraints, works with full orchestra or similar forces will likely not be viable.
- Due to performance time constraints, works between three and seven minutes in length will receive priority consideration.
- Composers who have received the Brock commission or a prior Brock Prize are not eligible to apply.
- Provide a score in PDF form that has the composer’s name removed from the document. You will need to upload this file in your application.
- Label the file [Title of Work].pdf
- Composers name must not be present on any part of the file submission
- Provide an MP3 performance recording or a MP3 MIDI file of the piece. You will need to upload this file with your application.
- Label the MP3 [Title of Work].mp3
- Composers name must NOT be present on any part of the file submission
- Submit a completed application. Click here to begin your application.
- All submissions must be received by 11:59 p.m. CDT on Aug. 15, 2022. Late submissions will not be considered for any reason. Please consider the deadline when preparing your submission to ensure you have time to address any technical support questions or issues that may arise.
For questions or technical support, please email Brandon A. Boyd at .
2020 – I Am the Wind by Elaine Hagenberg
Premiered at the 2021 ACDA National Conference.
Announcement of 2020 Award Winner
2018 – In the Middle by Dale Trumbore
Performed by the Aeolians of Oakwood University at the 2019 ACDA National Conference.
Announcement of 2018 Award Winner