Student composers invited to submit new works for Richard Hillert award

Sheet music sits on a music stand during the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation festival worship service on Oct. 29, 2017, in the Gangelhoff Center at Concordia University, St. Paul, Minn. The Richard Hillert Student Composition competition will award $500 for a new piece of church music written by a current Lutheran university or seminary student. (LCMS/Erik M. Lunsford)

The Center for Church Music, in partnership with the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians (ALCM), has announced the 2018 Richard Hillert Award in Student Composition. The award is given every other year to a current student at a Lutheran university or seminary.


Nominations may come from either the composer or someone else. Compositions are invited from all geographic areas and genres.

A cash prize of $500 will be awarded at the ALCM biennial conference in Portland, Ore., in the summer of 2019. The conference may include a performance of the work as part of its program. The Center will also donate $500 toward the winning composer’s travel to the conference.

Guidelines for submission are:

  • The submitted piece must be a church music composition (3-5 minutes in length) suitable for a liturgical service.
  • Two electronic copies of the submitted work — one unattributed (without the composer’s name) and one with the composer’s name — are required.
  • In addition to the required musical scores, composers may submit a recording of the work. (This is not required.)
  • Only one composition will be considered per composer.
  • Submissions must be received by June 1, 2018, and may be sent to

Richard Hillert (1923-2010), for whom the composition award is named, was a professor of music at Concordia University Chicago (CUC), River Forest, Ill., for over 30 years. He was also an accomplished composer of sacred, choral and symphonic music and author of numerous scholarly works on church music.

Dr. Barry Bobb, director of the Center for Church Music at CUC, says that the competition honors “the legacy of CUC distinguished professor of music Dr. Richard Hillert. His legacy includes not only his many liturgical pieces and musical works, but also his many gifts for teaching music composition.”

The jury for the competition is made up of established Lutheran composers who are also practicing church musicians. More information about the award is available on

Posted Feb. 15, 2018


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