Congratulations to Marie-Claire Saindon, winner of the 2018 Ruth Watson Henderson Choral Composition Competition!

Light by Montreal composer, Marie-Claire Saindon was unanimously chosen as the winner. Marie-Claire receives a cash prize of $2,000.00 and a premier performance by the Toronto Children's Chorus, conducted by Elise Bradley, at one of their concerts during the 2018-19 Season.

Choirs Ontario received 30 submissions from composers across the country. The compositions were reviewed by a jury panel including Elise Bradley, conductor of the Toronto Children's Chorus; Hilary Apfelstadt, conductor of the MacMillan Singers, Exultate Chamber Singers, and Director of Choral Activities at the University of Toronto and Kelly-Marie Murphy, composer and Composition Professor at the University of Ottawa. 

Light by Montreal composer, Marie-Claire Saindon was unanimously chosen as the winner.  Marie-Claire receives a cash prize of $2,000.00 and a premier performance by the Toronto Children’s Chorus, conducted by Elise Bradley, at one of their concerts during the 2018-19 Season.

"The jury felt that the beautiful text of this work was set in a wonderful way that is singable and joyful.  The excellent rhythmic writing and word painting reflect the standard of composition and creativity, which Ruth Watson-Henderson embodied in her life’s work."

Lux Aeterna by Toronto composer, Benjamin Gabbay was given an honourable mention.  

"The jury felt this composition was very dramatic and well planned, a challenging piece that deserves being heard.  The choral writing and the chord structure were well crafted."

An Ottawa classical violin student, Marie-Claire Saindon first showed an interest in composition while in high school, where she wrote and produced her first musical, Jeanne (Joan of Arc). Bitten by the creative bug, she began to participate in many collaborative projects, from choral pieces to scoring short films and full documentaries to accompanying modern dancers to fiddling in a team of folk musicians on a historical steam train. Winner of the SOCAN Young Composers' National Awards in the vocal category (2013) and the Gregg Smith National Choral Composition Contest (2015), her choral works are also published with Boosey & Hawkes and Cypress Choral Music. Now based in Montréal, she continues to score films, such as Carricks (2017), and to be commissioned by choirs and more! Ms. Saindon holds a BMus: Composition from the Schulich School of Music (McGill, 2007) and a MMus: Composition - Film and Multimedia music from Université de Montréal (2010).

The Ruth Watson Henderson Choral Competition was established in 1992 to honour Ruth Watson Henderson’s 60th Birthday by seven Toronto choirs. The administration of the competition was later handed over to Choirs Ontario and continues to recognize Ruth Watson Henderson’s invaluable contribution to the art of choral music.  The competition is held every other year and alternates between works for children’s choir and adult mixed-voice choir. This year’s competition called for an unpublished work four-six minutes in length, for SSA choir, either a cappella or accompanied by piano.

Choirs Ontario is grateful to our jury members, Hilary Apfelstadt, Elise Bradley and Kelly-Marie Murphy, Competition and Awards Chair, Robert Filion, for their time and dedication and Linda Locke and Ruth Watson Henderson for their guidance and comments.

Choirs Ontario is proud to support Canadian composers and add to the rich legacy of Canadian choral music through the Ruth Watson Henderson Choral Composition Competition. Past winners of the competition include: Jason Jestadt, Mark Sirett, Leonard Enns, Allan Bevan, and Elise Letourneau. For a complete list of winners, please visit www.choirsontario.org/ruthwatsonhenderson.html