Announcing the winners of the 2024 Competition for Choral Writing

Announcing the winners of the 2024 Competition for Choral Writing

(left) Katharine Petkovski, (right) François Lukawecki


Choral Canada encourages and supports the creation of choral music for choirs and singing groups by emerging/early-career Canadian composers/music creators through our biennial Competition for Choral Writing. The 2024 edition has come to a close, and after meticulous deliberation by our Selection Committee, comprised of esteemed choral artists from across the country, we are thrilled to announce the winners of this year's competition:


Katharine Petkovski
"When Music Sounds"
Recipient of the 2024 Diane Loomer Award

François Lukawecki
"En plein air"
Recipient of the 2024 Stephen Chatman Student Award


We extend our heartfelt congratulations to the deserving winners, whose compositions will undoubtedly enrich the repertoire of Canadian choral music for years to come. The Selection Committee would also like to give honourable mentions to Xingzimin Pan ("PATH") and Bradley Barnham ("At That Hour") for their submissions to the Diane Loomer Award.

"When Music Sounds" will be published by Cypress Choral Music and performed by the 2024 National Youth Choir of Canada on Thursday, May 16 at Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul in Montreal, as part of the 2024 PODIUM Choral Conference and Festival.

Katharine Petkovksi

Katharine Petkovski is a Canadian composer based in Toronto, Ontario. Featured on CBC’s list of “30 hot Canadian classical musicians under 30", her music has been performed by celebrated ensembles such as the Bedford Trio, Odin Quartet, Exultate Chamber Singers, and musica intima. 

Awarded the NDSU Edwin Fissinger Choral Composition Prize in 2023 and selected as winner of the Bedford Trio Composition Competition, Katharine’s music spans multiple disciplines and genres. She holds a BMus in Composition from the University of Toronto ('19), and a MMus in Composition from the University of Toronto ('21), where she received the prestigious Tecumseh Sherman Rogers Graduating Award upon completion. 

Katharine has been mentored by esteemed composers and music leaders such as James Rolfe, Norbert Palej, and Elizabeth Raum. She is an active member of the Screen Composer’s Guild of Canada, the Association of Canadian Women Composers, and the Canadian League of Composers.

About "When Music Sounds": When Music Sounds was composed during the pandemic, as a response to a time of isolation, uncertainty, and despair. With the world put on an indefinite hold, there was a collective doubt about our future. When I decided to set the poem "Music" by Walter de La Mare, I wanted the piece to serve as a reminder that where there is music, there is hope. With hints of nostalgia injected in its folk-like tune, When Music Sounds is an appreciation and celebration of the beauty and wonder of music, which has the powerful ability to move and connect us all. It reminds us that music is a powerful mode of connection, forming social closeness and familiar bonds, and is a tool that can bring individuals together to promote trust, empathy, and a sense of belonging. When we pass on this message, we feel our spirits lighter and the lives of those around us transformed, and this connection spans generations, traveling across space and time.

François Lukawecki

François Lukawecki is a promising choral composer from Montreal, known for his innovative approach to music that seamlessly blends unconventional vocal techniques with impressionism and intricate word painting. His compositions evoke powerful imagery through meticulously crafted harmonies, prosody-generated rhythms, and unexpected uses of techniques such glissandi, repetition, and onomatopoeia.

Currently pursuing a Master’s in Choral Conducting at Université de Sherbrooke under the guidance of Robert Ingari, François’ composition Ma pensée won the 2023 Composition Competition at Sherbrooke University and was featured in Canticum Novum by the Choeur de Chambre du Québec.

In addition to his academic pursuits, François is a dedicated music teacher and serves as the artistic director of the Monday Night Choir, which specializes in Canadian contemporary music. He sings with the Choeur de Chambre du Québec and has previously performed with many choirs, including the Choeur St-Laurent and the Choeur de l'Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal.

About "En plein air": I wanted to capture the minimalism and transparency of these delicate poems by Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau. I did this through minimal harmonic movement, the use of open and quintal harmonies, and as much word painting as I could. In L’aquarelle (the watercolour), the lower voices represent the paper base upon which delicate and airy shapes are drawn, with just a few focal moments of light and emotion. In Saules (willow trees), there is a perpetual downward movement representing the long branches of the willow dancing in the breeze and caressing the water. This is accompanied by singing on voiced consonants (z, j, v), causing the voices to buzz, like the wind through the dense foliage. An abundance of glissandi continues this suggestion of swaying and indistinct movement.


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Banner: Ullugiagâtsuk Choir at ...float... 2018. Photo: Ritche Perez