Bishop's Prize for Music 2018

01 February 2018
The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Revd Graham James, announces the fourth annual Bishop’s Prize for Music - a companion prize to complement the Bishop's Prize for Art. The competition is open to students under the age of 18 in the Diocese of Norwich. The deadline for submissions is Monday 4 June.
Bishop's prize for music news
The purpose of the Bishop’s Prize for Music is to help young composers find an engagement with the relationship between the Christian Gospel and music in worship.

The competition is open to students under the age of 18, in any school or college in the geographical area covered by the Diocese of Norwich.

Competitors are asked to compose a short anthem, not lasting more than 5 minutes, setting a short text from a choice chosen by Graham.

By way of explanation of his choices, Bishop Graham writes:

“There is an expectation in both the Old Testament passages of a new Teacher emerging to guide the people of God. In Proverbs we are warned not to trust in our own wisdom, something picked up by Paul in his letter to the Corinthians where he speaks about God’s wisdom “secret and hidden” that is revealed in Christ. Finally, part of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s gospel illustrates the radical nature of Christ’s teaching, reversing the wisdom of the world and telling us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.

The texts possess both drama and surprise and I hope they will be fertile ground for musical composition.”

Below are the texts from the New Revised Standard Version. Only this translation may be used.

Isaiah 30.19-21

Truly, O people in Zion, inhabitants of Jerusalem, you shall weep no more. God will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you. Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’ Then you will defile your silver-covered idols and your gold-plated images. You will scatter them like filthy rags; you will say to them, ‘Away with you!’

Proverbs 3.1-2; 5-8

My child, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments; 
for length of days and years of life
and abundant welfare they will give you. 
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight. 
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths. 
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. 
It will be a healing for your flesh
and a refreshment for your body.


1 Corinthians 2.7-10

We speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. 8None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,
‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him’— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.


Matthew 5.43-48

Jesus taught them, saying: ‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 4 June and the results will be announced by the end of August.

The judges are eminent musicians in the field of composition and choral conducting. They are Sarah MacDonald, Alan Bullard and Ashley Grote.

Bishop Graham will present the awards at a service of choral evensong in Norwich Cathedral on Wednesday 3 October and the prize-winning composition may be performed at this service.

Download the full prospectus here.

For further information, email Stephen Miles, the Bishop's Prize for Music Co-ordinator or call 01328 878364 or 07767688514.